I Tried To Stop My Son From Being Gay. I Wish I Hadn’t

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Linda Robertson originally wrote this essay in 2012, three years after her son’s death, and published it on her blog in 2013.

Since then, her family’s story has spread — it was featured in the documentary, “For They Know Not What They Do” — and Robertson has become an advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in faith-based spaces. She hopes to unite parents on both sides of the issue, knowing that all parents just want what is best for their children.

Robertson is sharing her story again with TODAY given the current issues LGBTQ youth are facing, and in the hopes that her story will reach other parents who may find themselves in a similar situation. 

On the night of Nov. 20, 2001, a conversation held over AOL Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our 12-year-old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan: can i tell u something

Mom: Yes I am listening

Ryan: well i don’t know how to say this really but, well……, i can’t keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.

Ryan: I am gay

Ryan: i can’t believe i just told you

Mom: Are you joking?

Ryan: no

Ryan: i thought you would understand because of uncle don

Mom: of course I would

Mom: but what makes you think you are?

Ryan: i know i am

Ryan: i don’t like hannah

Ryan: it’s just a cover-up

Mom: but that doesn’t make you gay…

Ryan: i know

Ryan: but u don’t understand

Ryan: i am gay

Mom: tell me more

Ryan: it’s just the way i am and it’s something i know

Ryan: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing

Mom: what do you mean?

Ryan: i am just gay

Ryan: i am that

Mom: I love you no matter what

Ryan: i am white not black

Ryan: i know

Ryan: i am a boy not a girl

Ryan: i am attracted to boys not girls

Ryan: u know that about yourself and i know this

Mom: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?

Ryan: i know

Mom: thank you for telling me

Ryan: and i am very confused about that right now

Mom: I love you more for being honest

Ryan: i know

Ryan: thanx


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