Monthly Archives: March 2010

I Love You, It’s OK. I Love You.

It’s been reported by the America Psychological Association that up to 1 in every 10 people identify as being gay? What should a parent do if their child is that one?

This is my experience of discovering my oldest son Tyler’s secret, and how it impacted my life.

10 years ago, for some unusual reason I awoke at 2 am, picked up the phone, and heard two male voices, one of which was my sons, obviously talking to someone he had met online. I was horrified, devastated, and angry!  My ‘knee-jerk’ reaction was to storm down the stairs to scream and shake some sense into him.

Here I was in the midst of a horrific divorce, having recently fled our small town in Idaho, literally taking my children from their beds at 4 am to escape a volatile situation, while at the same time fighting a life threatening brain tumor.  How could Tyler do this to me?

Through my 18-year abusive marriage, Tyler was my right hand, my rock.  He was kind and tender to the younger children, bright, talented, an over achiever who excelled in everything he did.  He had sacrificed so much when we drove away that night, leaving his senior year leadership position, the starring role in the play, the jazz choir and his Latin ballroom partner and coach with whom he held a world ranking.  He was a model child, what every mother would hope for in a son….  I knew he was different.  He had an amazing spirit and I was sure God sent him to me as my angel.  I believed he would someday be the prophet of my church.

What do I do?  As an extremely devout, proud, 5th generation Mormon, I could not recall ever being taught how to deal with this situation. So in my moment of terror, I fell to my knees.  “God, help me find the words.  Please don’t let me screw this up.  Do not let me say the wrong thing…  You had better intervene here because I just want to tear into him!”  I was reeling; my body was shaking as I made my way down the stairs.  The instant I opened the family room door, he turned, his face full of fear as he abruptly hung up the phone.

I motioned for him to come to the couch.  As we sat down a peaceful feeling took over.  I felt loving arms embrace us both and I heard someone else’s words   saying, “I love you. It’s okay.  I love you.”  We sat together, with what every fiber of my being knew was God, enfolded in His arms.  We cried.  Engulfed in the purest love I had ever experienced, that moment lasted for hours… with the only words spoken, “I love you, it’s okay, I love you.”

I wish I had I completely transformed in those moments, with total acceptance of my son’s homosexuality.  No, Tyler endured days, weeks, and months of my probing, bombarding him with,Are you sure it’s not a phase? What about your girlfriend? Is this because of your dad?  Did I rely on you too much?  On and on I tried to make some sense of it… to make it fit, but there was no place in my religious reality for it to go.  Yet I kept remembering Gods words, I love you, it is okay.  He knew my son … all of him… and now, so did I.

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Linda Williams Stay is currently working on a new book, that will share her emotional journey as a former devout Mormon mother of two gay children who becomes an avid accidental activist for their rights.  Her family is featured in the documentary “8: The Mormon Proposition” which has put on the heat to get the book done.  Subscribe to her blog www.MomsForEquality.com, to stay posted on her progress, receive new content and updates about the documentary.  Please share this post in its entirety.

Moms for Equality : Dads for Equality

You may have noticed the new addition “Dads for Equality” to my blogs title, which reflects my dear husband Steve’s acceptance to visually and vocally join me here.  As a point of clarification, I would like to point out the part Steve has played in my journey.  If it were not for him, I would probably not be doing much in the LGBT community.  His support and encouragement in addressing the issues rose by our communities and the Mormon Church, and taking a vocal and visible stand against the inequalities, is what got “me” here; rather is what got “us” here.

Steve has a powerful perspective on the issue in that he was very homophobic in his teens and early adult years.  His journey out of homophobia started with the suicide of a young gay brother-in-law and Steve’s experience in giving the closing prayer at his funeral.  It took him years to fully reconcile his opinions regarding gay issues and arrive where he was when we met ten years ago.  Steve has risked much in choosing to stand up for his gay step-children’s rights at the peril of his relationship with his biological children, parents, business associates and friends. (Primarily over speaking out against the Mormon Church’s position and then resigning his membership.)

Dad’s standing up for their gay children is sadly, very rare.  Most gay men we talk to gave up hoping for that long ago.  In our community, few men seem “man enough” to accept their child’s homosexuality.  As you continue to visit the blog, I know you will grow to love him—as I do.