Tag Archives: LGBT pride

“May their faith in You, renew.”

At the moment, and for the last 30 minutes or so, I’ve been overwhelmed by emotions. I’ve laughed, cried and felt so full with Love and Light, I could burst. It’s been a challenging few days. Work is busy and I stumbled into bed on Friday night painful and exhausted, just sure I’d have to lay low all weekend to regroup. I prayed as the night wound to a close that I was grateful for the energy I do have. Living this new life of positivity is so much better than being cynical and expecting defeat. We’ve had another rash of challenges with our teenager about being dishonest about homework, not completing work, blah blah blah. It’s frustrating for him and us and it’s only 5 days until his next therapy appointment where we can talk as a family and get some ideas. In the meantime, we have dialed back some privileges and I’m supervising the homework. While I’m supervising the homework, I’ve cruised FB to keep myself entertained.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the same event post from my dear friend, Leo, show up on my news feed. Leo is one of the truest, most genuine people I have ever known. We’ve known each other a long time. If I recall correctly, my mom encouraged to get to know Leo. (At that time, Leo was living as a woman, following the gender of his body parts, rather than his own identity.) I remember being 19 and very isolated from many of my friends because I was pregnant with Preston. This did not stop Leo from getting close to me. Leo has ALWAYS championed the cause of the lost, lonely and down-trodden. Before we knew if Preston was a boy or girl, we decided rather than call my unborn baby, it, we called the baby, Peabo. This still cracks me up. Unfortunately, many of the other people in my church community were unable to see past the pregnant teenager and see a lonely young woman who needed support. My family did a great job of rallying around me, and my mom has let me know that every unmarried, pregnant young woman who came after me, has been outwardly loved and supported. I’m sure it was the trail my parents would have chosen for me to blaze, but I was strong enough to do it and it was part of my journey. Leo has remained part of the church I attended as a young person and they have done an amazing job of accepting his transition from female to male. I am SO proud of the whole church. My parents still worship there. These two people that taught me to love anyone, no matter what, walk that walk, literally. When some people reach the age of 70, they begin to slow down. Not my mom and dad. One of the photos of my parents that evoke the most emotion from me, is the one that shows them walking in the Portland Pride Event, with Leo and other church members. To be able to show THAT photo to my bisexual teenage son and remind him that those are HIS grandparents, made me so proud of them. There may be some things growing up that they did that I didn’t like, but their teaching me to love everyone, prepared me for Preston’s coming out. I can’t even put into words how much it meant to me that Leo was still part of Preston’s village after all of these years. I couldn’t ask for a better role model for him. To Love God and share that Love is an incredible thing to be known for. Despite only seeing each other at church when I’ve gone home for major holidays, we’ve not seen each other, except for our connections FB. Today, Leo posted an AMAZING picture of him, radiating joy and love, at the Portland Pride Event. He also shared the Event Invite for a special service at my old church in Beaverton, tomorrow night. It is a service that outwardly acknowledges and welcomes, all members of the LGBT community. I’ve seen the invite before but just couldn’t figure out how I would make it work to drive 400 miles roundtrip and likely not be home before 12:30 am, before needing to work that day. However, this time, when I saw the invite I was struck with the feeling that I couldn’t NOT go. I was overwhelmed with KNOWING we were meant to be there. So, tomorrow, Preston and I will go back to the church where he was baptized, and worship and celebrate with old and new faces.

We even plan to be there early to sing in the pick up choir. I’ve watched the song we are going to sing, “For All The Children,” on a YouTube video, several times today. I’ve cried every single time. My favorite part of this song written by David Lohman are these lyrics; “Oh, we pray for all the young lives cut short by fear and shame, so afraid of who they are and whom they love. May the message now be banished that Your love in for the few, may their faith in You, renew.”

I don’t know how to get through to Preston about homework and lying and all that crap. I do know how to show up for him, and stand beside him and share God’s Love and Light with him. Tomorrow night it will be in one of those familiar pews, in a place from my past, with people who share the joy of the hope with a future together, hand in hand in hand in hand and hand.

My favorite Bible verse in this “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, ” plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

With love and more love, Rebecca

Love your children, no matter who they are.

I try to stay away from commenting on stories that have already gotten lots of attention in the press. It’s my goal to come up with new things to say that are coming from my place of wisdom, from my experiences. Daily, I work to avoid judging others. This post that has been bouncing around in my head for a few days has taken me on an introspective roller coaster ride. Sometimes I imagine that the people around me can tell when I am wrestling with being consumed by the desire to write. To me, it’s obvious in my ability to concentrate, or not. The main thought/opinion that I want to convey in this post is an idea I’ve already posted on Face Book and shared with friends.

When I say my children can be anything they want to be when they grow up, I mean that. For those of you are parents, let’s sit here and think for a minute what that should really mean. It’s an age old wish for parents that their child follow their dreams to the career/vocation of their choice. Those careers have changed over the years. Looking back, for women that meant teaching or nurses. For men, they were encouraged to be everything else, except those things. My parents were great about never telling me there were any limits on what I could become someday. In my formative years, that phrase about being anything we wanted to be, seemed to be strictly about occupation. Well, folks, those days are over.

My older son, for years and years, had talked about wanting to fly planes for the Navy. His path in life seemed pointed in that direction. Early on in his initial hospitalization, we realized that his previous career choice was unlikely. It was disappointing and he may still fly plans commercially. During this time of opening up and sharing himself with us, Preston disclosed that he was bisexual. To be honest, I think I know when and where but I have no idea what he said. It wasn’t a momentous occasion or some fancy speech worth memorizing. Now, over a little year later, I do remember thinking “So what?”. The only reason it had much significance at the time was that I felt it was a factor in his suicidal ideation and self harm. We laughed in the car this morning, when I told him that I wanted to write this post, that it was so not a thing! He hasn’t shared with me what he expected that I might say or if he thought I would reject him. I didn’t and that’s what mattered. It was easy for me to tell him I loved him no matter what, because it is true. I would die before making my children believe that they can’t be anything they want to be. (I’m not saying sexual orientation is a choice.) This is true for sexuality, gender, religious beliefs or practices or political preferences. I believe in God and Jesus and their love. This love, shining through me, means I can love anyone and everyone.

Here is the part where I deviate from my typical format and comment on current events. I do not know Leelah Alcorn’s parents but I have heard that they were unable or unwilling to accept their child who was born male, for who she was. I’ve also heard that they believe in God. I have a very hard time relating to them or understanding why they made their child’s life about them and were so selfish as to deny their child a life lived on her own terms. We are made in His imgaae so I rest assured that God loves and accepts all genders (forget the damn binary), sexual orientations, skin colors, cultures and creeds. It is time that we set tradition and old-school patterns aside. We owe this generation unconditional love.

Despite the fact that I was not upset or disappointed about Preston being bisexual, I didn’t have a guidebook for what to say or do, so I winged it. I made sure that he knew that I loved him, and his people, with no judgement. We joked about guys (Lenny Kravitz) that we both find attractive. I spent time with him. Rather than make him come out to the extended family, I spread the news with the example that “This is not a thing. Don’t make it a thing. We love Preston and we expect you to do the same. Whatever your personal feelings on bisexuality, keep it to yourself or you don’t get access to Preston.” We found the local PFLAG group which just so happens to meet in our church building. 🙂 Since I had no exposure what so ever to the bisexual community, I read online as much as I could. We learned about the myths and the actual statistics that refute them. Our church had a booth at last summer’s Bend Pride Event and Preston and I were there all day to meet and greet people. PEOPLE. Not gays, lesbians, queers, bisexuals but PEOPLE!!! It was a great afternoon and I could tell that Preston was happy to be surrounded by a large number of people that accept him. He proudly purchased an HRC shirt that says “Love Conquers Hate”, a pin with the bisexual flag pin and a few rainbow bracelets. I show up for him and will stand by him anywhere he wants to go. It was very moving to be included and bond that day. As the newness wore off and we settled in to our new, improved, mentally healthier life, Preston began to really be himself and wear his own skin proudly. He went with a group of friends to homecoming but his “date” was a nice young man he goes to school with. (Bless his heart, his parents don’t know he is gay and he has been recently rejected by the only family member that does know.) He has participated in the GSA at his school but his attendance is less consistent now that he hangs out with his girlfriend. I look back on the time we’ve spent together where Preston could be his authentic self and I shudder to think that a close-minded parent could have missed out on all those treasured memories. I don’t know how much of his concern about coming out to us had to do with his suicidal ideation but I know part of it did. How would he have ever improved emotionally if I would have put him down that day or walked away from him while he sat in a hospital room? This happens to children every day. The people they rely on for love and safety, say hateful words that burn a scar onto their child’s soul. The rejection and pain they cause may not be overcome and lead to the tragedy, such as with Leelah Alcorn, that they cannot see continuing to life and end their own life, long before they had the chance to live it.

My plea is that all parents everywhere would love their children unconditionally. Listen with open minds and speak with kind words of acceptance. If you hate homosexuality and think it’s an abomination, tough shit! Suck it up and hide that hatred from your child. We cannot control anyone’s actions in this world but our own. We can choose to show love and acceptance and provide a safe haven in the darkness.

My prayers are for all the families out there who are struggling, be it the children and/or the parents. May God show people what is truly important and unburden hearts.

If you are alone and need someone to love and accept you for who you are, I will. Love and hugs, Rebecca