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Parent Convo Starters

Parent Conversation Starter: Gay Pride & Coming Out

These free Parent Conversation Starters include step-by-step instructions for parents to (1) prepare for conversation and (2) initiate conversation, broken down by age-group.

These starters are just that–starters. These are not meant to be one-and-done conversations, but rather a place to begin ongoing conversation. We know these are difficult conversations, which is why we’ve created a 12-hour Parent Course, designed to give parents all the tools they need to have compassionate and theologically accurate conversations about sexuality with their kids throughout childhood.

 

(1) Prepare for Conversation: get familiar with the topic

Topic Summary: What is Gay Pride? Why do people “come out?” What is a Christlike response?

Many parents don’t know how to respond when their kids come out or when their kids want to connect with gay culture; most fear that any connection to any part of gay culture is inherently evil. But coming out is about being fully known and fully loved; Gay Pride is, in part, about connecting to others who have shared experiences and shared history in a place that is safe and free from condemnation, shame, hiding, or fear.

Pieter’s story is an example of a teen longing to be fully known and fully loved, so much so that he risked coming out to his Christian parents in hopes that they would hear him, know him more deeply, and love him fully. His story also demonstrates that someone can be thankful for LGBT+ rights activists in the past, appreciate the shared experience he shares with other gay people, and still be a Christian who firmly believes and lives out a traditional sexual ethic.

Parents, read Equip’s blog post about coming out. As you read, pause and reflect on the following questions:

  • Pieter says he was ashamed and afraid but that he desperately wanted to be known. When he told other Christians about his attractions, he had both positive and negative reactions. How do you think Christians in your circle would react to a Christian teen in your church coming out?

  • Pieter writes, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Gay kids shouldn’t have to worry whether their friends or family will still love them when they come out. We shouldn’t have to come out to see who will really love us.” How would you react if your child came out to you? How have you communicated to your child that you are (or aren’t) a safe person to come out to?

  • What are your thoughts about coming out? Is it necessary for a Christian to do? Should Christians who experience same-sex attraction be given space in their churches to be known at that depth?

  • What do you think about Gay Pride celebrations? (*Note: Gay Pride is about connecting to others who have shared experiences and shared history in a place that is safe and free from condemnation, shame, hiding, or fear. This is not to be confused with pride, which is the excessive belief in one’s own achievements and the disregard of one’s need for Christ.) What are some of the ways Christians can commend and seek to emulate the safety that a space like a Gay Pride celebration offers?

  • What does it mean for a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction to connect to gay culture? In what ways could this be helpful? In what ways could this be unhelpful?

  • Is it possible for a gay Christian to be thankful for LGBTQ+ rights activists and the things they accomplished on behalf of gay people and also hold tightly to a traditional sexual ethic? Why or why not?

 

(2) Initiate Conversation: ask good questions

With your deepened understanding of the topic, initiate conversation with children and teens with age-specific questions:

Conversation about LGBT+ topics should take place within a broader conversation about the need for everyone to steward their sexualities in God-honoring ways. Here’s a brief summary of what all children need to know about sexual stewardship–please ensure your children have grasped these foundational truths before exploring sexual minority-specific conversations:

  1. God created all of us to enjoy human intimacy in the context of life-long, lived-in family, and we find that family through one of the vocations God created: Christian marriage or vocational singleness. As our kids enter their young adult years, they will begin to discern with (ask) God which vocation He has given to them.

  2. Humanity’s sin has bent and broken the goodness of everything God created. We see the results of this bending and breaking everywhere. We are all broken in the area of sexuality, and none of us can do intimacy or family perfectly. Encourage your child to share with you when they discover where broken sexuality is part of their story.

  3. We are still able to find beauty and goodness and flourish in this broken world because God offers us His wisdom through the Bible and the Church. When we follow God’s wisdom, we’ll find the greatest joy, the deepest meaning, and the richest belonging in this life.

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 2-7

If you have children ages 2-7, use this discussion guide to talk with them about being fully known and fully loved.

Say, “We all want to be known and to be loved for who we are. The Bible says that God knows us fully and loves us completely. Let’s read a few verses about that.”

Read Psalm 139:1-4 and 13, and Jeremiah 1:5 and 12:3a with your child.

Say, “God knows us fully! He even knows what we’re going to say before we say it.  And not only does God know us, He loves us completely. Let’s read a few verses about that.”

Read 1 Chronicles 16:34, Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 36:5, Romans 5:8 and 8:38-39 with your child.

Say, “I’m so grateful God knows us and loves us completely. God also wants us to be fully known and fully loved by others, like our family, our friends, and other Christians. That’s part of the purpose of the Church.”

Read John 13:34-35, Romans 12:9-10, 1 John 4:7-8, 1 Peter 1:22 and 4:8 with your child.

Say, “Sadly, some people in our world don’t feel like they can be loved and known in all spaces. Sometimes, they feel like they have to hide part of themselves so that others will love them. Have you ever felt like hiding something about yourself so that someone would like you better?

“It’s really hard and sad when we feel like we can’t be known and loved. Sometimes we might even feel like we have to hide parts of ourselves from God. But I want you to know that God loves you completely, no matter what. He knows everything about you, and He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

“Let’s pray for the people who think that if anyone really knew them they wouldn’t be loved. And let’s pray that our church would be a place those people would feel comfortable enough to let others know them and let others love them.”

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 8-12

If you have children ages 8-12, use this discussion guide to talk with them about being fully known and fully loved.

Say, “We all want to be known and to be loved for who we are. The Bible says that God knows us fully and loves us completely. Let’s read a few verses about that.”

Read Psalm 139:1-4 and 13, and Jeremiah 1:5 and 12:3a with your child.

Say, “God knows us fully! He even knows what we’re going to say before we say it.  And not only does God know us, He loves us completely. Let’s read a few verses about that.”

Read 1 Chronicles 16:34, Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 36:5, Romans 5:8 and 8:38-39 with your child.

Say, “I’m so grateful God knows us and loves us completely. God also created us to be fully known and fully loved by others, like our family, our friends, and other Christians. That’s part of the purpose of the Church.”

Read John 13:34-35, Romans 12:9-10, 1 John 4:7-8, 1 Peter 1:22 and 4:8 with your child.

Say, “Sadly, some people in our world don’t feel like they can be loved and known in all spaces. Sometimes, they feel like they have to hide part of themselves so that others will love them. Have you ever felt like hiding something about yourself so that someone would like you better?

“It’s really hard and sad when we feel like we can’t be known and loved. Sometimes we might even feel like we have to hide parts of ourselves from God. But I want you to know that God loves you completely, no matter what. He knows everything about you, and He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

“Some people who experience same-sex attraction find it really difficult to let people in and allow themselves to be fully known. Many gay people fear that their attractions somehow make them gross or bad, and rather than risk rejection by telling others, they choose to hide, especially from Christians. It’s not supposed to be that way. Our churches are supposed to be safe places where we can be fully known, and other Christians are supposed to be people who love us completely, no matter what our attractions are. 

“In June, we often see lots of rainbow flags in commercials and around town. June is month many gay people choose to let others know about their attractions and celebrate being fully known. If you ever experience attractions to the same sex, please tell me. You will be fully known and fully loved. There is no need to hide or feel ashamed or fearful. And you don’t have to wait until June, you can talk to me any time.”

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 13+

If you have children ages 13+, read Pieter’s coming out story with your teen. Use some or all of the questions below to foster conversation about coming out, Gay Pride, and gay culture.

  • What stood out to you as we read Pieter’s coming out story?

  • Pieter says he was ashamed and afraid but that he desperately wanted to be known. When he told other Christians about his attractions, he had both positive and negative reactions. How do you think Christians in our circle would react to a Christian teen in our church coming out?

  • What are your thoughts about coming out?

  • What do you think about Gay Pride? (*Note: Gay Pride is about connecting to others who have shared experiences and shared history in a place that is safe and free from condemnation, shame, hiding, or fear. This is not to be confused with pride, which is the excessive belief in one’s own achievements and the disregard of one’s need for Christ.)

  • What does it mean for a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction to connect to gay culture?

  • Can gay Christians be thankful for LGBT+ rights activists and the things they accomplished on behalf of gay people and also hold tightly to a traditional sexual ethic? Why or why not?

 

Equip’s Parent Course includes over 30 example scripts you can use with kids ages 2-12 to talk about marriage and singleness, intimacy and family, sex and sexuality. Check out a free preview and register for an upcoming Course here.

 

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