Resources for Parents

Has your child come out to you as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or somewhere else on the LGBT+ spectrum? If so, you’re not alone! Here are some resources to help you find your way.

Secular resources

Most of the resources on this page are aimed at Christian parents, since that’s where my ministry focus is. If you’re not a Christian, there are tons of secular resources available as well; one place to start is PFLAG, a secular organization for LGBTQ people and their families, including their downloadable booklet Our Children. If you can’t find what you need there or on this page, feel free to contact me with questions.

Books for Christian parents

There are lots of helpful books out there, but here are a few that parents tell me have been especially helpful to them as they start this journey.

Embracing the Journey by Greg and Lynn McDonald

The newest of these books is written by Christian parents who alternate telling the story of the struggles they faced as they tried to respond lovingly after learning their son was gay. Honest, thought-provoking, and filled with practical insights and Christian wisdom, this book even includes its own study guide.

Here’s a video of the authors of Embracing the Journey, introduced by evangelical megachurch pastor Andy Stanley.

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee

People asked me for years if I had a great book to help Christian parents understand what their gay children were going through. I didn’t have one to recommend, so I wrote one, and it’s been really popular ever since.

Where Embracing the Journey offers a parent’s perspective for other parents to relate to, Torn offers a gay child’s perspective to help parents empathize and know how to respond. It includes lots of personal stories, advice for parents, and answers to many common questions, ranging from why people are gay to what the Bible says.

“Mom, I’m Gay”: Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith by Susan Cottrell

Another book for parents by a parent, this short book by a Christian mom offers specific advice for handling your child’s coming out, showing love, and strengthening your own Christian faith in the process.

Support groups for Christian parents

As I mentioned in the video at the top of the page, having a support group can be incredibly helpful. Right now, there are several online support groups for Christian parents of LGBT+ children, ranging from those targeting more conservative parents for whom this is a shocking and difficult conversation to those for more progressive parents who want to learn how best to advocate for their children.

One set of groups is run by Greg and Lynn McDonald, the authors of Embracing the Journey (mentioned above). You can connect with their groups via the Embracing the Journey website.

Another set of online groups is offered through a Christian parents’ ministry called FreedHearts. Scroll down on the FreedHearts parents page to find the sign-up form to get access to their private groups (look for the Facebook logo). They have different groups for people coming from different perspectives.

In the event these websites change and you have difficulty locating the groups, just send me a message and I’ll do my best to help.

Stories to help you understand

In the video at the top of this page, I also mentioned the importance of hearing the stories of LGBT+ Christians to help you understand what your kids may have been going through. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything; the key is to help you understand.

My book Torn, which I mentioned above, is filled with these kinds of stories, written especially for parents and other Christians who want to understand. Here are some more stories I recommend.

The short documentary film Through My Eyes includes the stories of dozens of young gay Christians. This is a powerful way to learn right from your computer.

Undivided by Vicky Beeching — Vicky was a Christian singer, songwriter, and theologian whose faith was at the core of her life. But as her life became increasingly public, she was struggling with the private knowledge that she was attracted to other women. In this book, she shares her journey and how her faith led her to ultimately tell the truth and offer support to others around the world.

Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians by Austen Hartke — Many of the books on this page include information relevant to parents of transgender children, even though they focus on kids who are gay or bi. But this book focuses exclusively on the transgender experience, making it a valuable read for parents whose kids have come out as trans.

There’s more. I’m continuing to add stories (including videos) to this page, so check back shortly for more stories and resources for parents. You can also sign up for my email list to be notified as I post new resources on this website.

Has something been particularly helpful to you? Tell me about it.