Journey Story

How I Went From Rejecting My Gay Son To Loving Him Unconditionally

by Liz Dyer

At the beginning of his second year of college, my son Nick told me he was gay, and that he didn‘t believe same-sex relationships were sinful. I am embarrassed and ashamed to say that I reacted horribly. I made him feel ashamed, unloved, and rejected.

I said things a loving mother never should, and I will deeply regret it for the rest of my life.

You will probably be surprised to hear that today Nick and I have a wonderful relationship. How did it happen? Well, it is hard to tell that part of the story because it wasn’t linear. I can’t remember the order of all that happened but I will attempt to tell you some of the things that helped us move in the right direction.

One thing that helped the process along was that Nick continued to fight for the relationship. Even when he was angry and hurt, he always said he wanted a relationship with our family and me. He wasn’t always kind and loving—he made mistakes just like we all did, but he never gave up.

My turning point came to me one day as I was reading a blog comment written by a gay man to someone saying he didn’t want to be friends with people who thought it was sinful for him to have same-sex relationships, because he was tired of being treated like he was “less than other people” and “a second rate citizen”—it struck me then that if I were in his shoes, I would probably feel the same way.

I realized it took a lot of love and grace for Nick to want to keep having a relationship with me, knowing I was judging him.

Within a day or two, I found an opportunity to let Nick know I recognized how much grace and love he was showing me, and how much I appreciated it. I told him I was not only thankful, but I was, as his mom, proud of him.

At least one person has to be trying to maintain a relationship.

Another thing that helped in my journey was hearing the same message over and over again: “Love Nick, and focus on having a good relationship with him.” I recall the feeling of knowing I had been given an opportunity to choose to put the things God had been teaching me about love into practice. The few people my husband and I confided in at the time echoed the same message.

I want to be clear: I don’t believe we were lucky, or even that God was orchestrating everything. I believe we could have as easily found people who would have focused on condemning Nick, yet we were very intentional about seeking counsel and support from people we believed demonstrated Christ-like love in their lives.

And from this, I learned to love unconditionally and to be careful to whom you go for counsel.

Lastly, the last thing that guided my journey was being a part of an open-minded Christian conversation group. Not only did this group give me a place where I could work through my doubts and anger towards God, it also gave me an opportunity to hear other sincere followers of Jesus Christ giving voice to a variety of opinions about same-sex relationships. The conversation was particularly helpful in teaching me to be more humble about what I believed.

This gained humility led me to go to Nick and ask for his forgiveness for acting like I had a monopoly on “the truth”—for being so convicted that I was right and he was wrong. This attitude began to open up a safe space for Nick and me to genuinely connect again, to have real conversations instead of wrestling matches, to share our thought processes and feelings, and to really hear what the other person was saying.

Be humble about your knowledge, listen to all sides with an open mind, and put yourself in the other person’s place.

I share my story for three reasons. I want to address the warning of how my initial reaction could have had a much more devastating result—one that could have caused me to lose my son forever. Many young people have attempted to take their own life when rejected by a parent because of their sexual orientation, and sadly, some have succeeded.

If you are a parent reading this, I urge you to put your relationship with your child and your love for your child above everything else.

Do not risk losing your child forever.

I also share my story to give hope and encouragement to anyone who has been deeply hurt or rejected because of their sexual identity. Please know that there is still hope. If I could change, I believe anyone can. Yet even if that person never changes, I believe with all of my heart that God will provide you with people who will love, accept and support you.

Your life is a gift—treasure it, nurture it, and live it!

Affirming our LGBTQ children is about so much more than who is right and who is wrong.

I believe this issue places all of us at a crossroads—in one direction is a road paved with hate, leading to the destruction of relationships and life; and in the other direction lies a road paved with love, leading to healthy relationships and life.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe, I hope and pray that my story encourages you to CHOOSE LOVE.

Liz recently started a private Facebook support group for moms of LGBTQ children. If you are the mom of an LGBTQ child, and want to join the support group please contact her via email—enter “Mom’s Facebook Group” in the subject line.

Photo via flickr user Jason Hill

Comments (17)

Mark McRoberts

I wish my mom got this in
I wish my mom got this in 1976 when we had our talk. But even though I was never accepted as a beloved gay son I made peace with them and accepted and honored them through my late father’s life and now that I am my mom’s caregiver and she can no longer communicate regularly. It is sad that I still tried over and over to make peace and have my mother accept me but she would not. She refused to come out of her closet as the mother of a gay son. She was embarrassed because she believed the old discredited Freudian ideas of the mother is at fault. I have tried and tried to hold out my hand with “an olive branch” only to be rejected. I have not lost, my dad and I made peace before he passed on. But I don’t think that my Mom is going to ever accept me and it may be too late as her dementia takes a greater part of her communication skills away. I still love her. Plus I raised my neice as my own with unconditional love and I’m so proud of the loving parent who accepts and loves her children unconditionally. God has blessed me abundantly but it sure seems like my Mom has refused to accept things that would have brought her a great deal of joy.


Mark, I’m so sorry for the
Mark, I’m so sorry for the way your Mom has refused to accept and affirm you. I can imagine how difficult that is and how much it hurts. I am glad that you and your dad were able to make peace. I look forward to the day when most people are not bogged down with the idea that same sex relationships are wrong or that LGBT people are broken. We are making progress but there is still a lot of work to be done and that is one reason I tell my story.


Mark, I am so sorry for the
Mark, I am so sorry for the way things have gone with your mom. I can only imagine the pain involved. Your words about loving your mom even though she never accepted you are very precious and reveal that you are an amazing person with a great capacity to love others. Your niece is very blessed to have you for an uncle.




Frank – I’m so sorry. That is
Frank – I’m so sorry. That is a heart breaking situation. I will pray for you.


Frank, I am so sorry to hear
Frank, I am so sorry to hear this. There are no words that will help but I will lift up prayers on your behalf with the hope that things will change. I have some friends that were also rejected by their adult children once they came out and in some of those cases some of the kids are starting to change and reconnect so it is possible that something might change with your sons in the future.

Marian Edmonds Allen

Thank you, Liz, for sharing
Thank you, Liz, for sharing your beautiful story of hope. Far too often parents and children don’t have the hope you did, and it can make all the difference. I work with LGBT youth and their families and know, unfortunately, how rare your perseverance is. A resource I have used for years and recommend highly is the Family Acceptance Project. It allows for any religious perspective and shows parents and children how to move from rejection to hope through scientifically backed behavior and verbal techniques.

Thank you, so much, for sharing. You may never know the lives you have saved. Marian


Thank you for your
Thank you for your encouragement Marian. I know you are right about how many LGBT youth are hurting because their families are misinformed and that is the reason I tell my story. I believe that our stories have a lot of power to change the world.

I’m familiar with the Family Acceptance Project and it is a great organization with excellent resources.

The private Facebook group I have for open minded Christian moms who have lgbtq kids is growing (we have about 145 moms from all over the country) and is a great place for moms to find support and educate themselves. Have anyone who is interested in joining email me at and put “Mom’s Facebook Group” in the subject line.

RJ Abada ofm

what a touching story. thank
what a touching story. thank you so much for sharing it. God bless you!

Saint Bones

God bless you. But please
God bless you. But please deeply consider, if not already, the Catholic faith. Catholicism doesn’t condemn homosexuals. It isn’t a choice. It’s completely natural. But homosexuals should be in immaculate relationships with their partner, and not fall into lust. PURE love will conquer lustful thoughts. And if they fall, they may receive absolution from a valid Catholic priest,as promised through Jesus Christ our lord through apostolic succession.
and authority. Jesus loves all of us unconditionally. But unfortunately there isn’t salvation outside the Catholic church. Please cons

Blake Baines

Unconditional is
Unconditional is Unconditional ~DUH! What parent wouldnt love their child unconditionally anyway?? We are born to love, which means we have to be taught to reject someone we love, especially our own child! This person needs to figure out where they learned to hate their own child and question/reject that influence in their lives! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

Danny Klopovic

While it is good that the
While it is good that the mother came to accept her son, I do not find this story to be lovely or inspiring. It is tiresome to hear of parents who have “seen the light” and I am unsympathetic towards such parents. They do not deserve any credit for it.

What would be much better is to read the stories of those parents who have always loved and accepted their queer children. Those are the parents whose stories are lovely and inspiring.


Danny, I agree. I also don’t
Danny, I agree. I also don’t think my story is lovely or inspiring. In fact, I cringe when I share it because to me it is a horrible story except for the fact that my son continued to love me and pursue a relationship with me even when I was not being a good mother – that part is lovely and inspiring to me. I don’t tell my story because it is lovely – I tell it because it is the only story I have and I believe that our stories have the power to change the world. You will be encouraged to know that there are more and more parents who are loving and accepting their LGBT kids without missing a beat and I look forward to the day when that will not be a surprise.

Anthony Venn-Brown

Great post….sharing
Great post….sharing


Thank you for your story. Our
Thank you for your story. Our stories aren’t good or bad. They are what they are. I accept and love children for who they are, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my faith or have conflicts with how I have felt or even acted toward the LGBTQ community in the past. Nobody is perfect and this life we live is fluid and ever changing. I am on a journey and I’m not at the end yet! And I’m so encouraged to read other people stories of their journeys. Thank you!

Laurin (Out Proud Mom)

Thanks so much for sharing
Thanks so much for sharing this story. It is encouraging for me to know that parents who reject their LGBTQ children can change. I believe that your story will make a huge difference for countless families. Love to you and your family!


I disagree with Danny – this
I disagree with Danny – this story nay not be inspiring for those of us who have already realised its message… But it gives hope for those whose parents are still controlled by the thoughts of other people and their own misconceptions. It also may reach out to those parents, as it shows that even deeply religious people as themselves can change! They will never listen to what they see as people completely.different to themselves but they will listen to people from similar backgrounds and beliefs

Comments are closed.