Growing up, A.J. liked to play with dolls and play “sisters” with his friend. His father tried to switch out the dolls for G.I. Joe’s, but his mother would simply replace the dolls that he loved. A.J. started to get bullied at school, and instead of standing by his side, his father blamed him for being bullied. Finally one night, A.J. asked to go the homecoming game and his father believed that he was finally outgrowing a stage. When he called A.J. on the phone, he realized that something was terribly wrong, because A.J. was slurring his words. He found his son hunched over, without shoes. As he was carrying him out of the building, A.J. said, “dad I just want to be normal”. When he woke the next day, he said the same thing to his mother, who told him that he was normal. When his parents looked up the statistics for gay teens, online, they were horrified and determined that they had to do some something to help their son.
When A.J. asked if he was going to hell because of his sexuality, his parents thought that no loving God would punish their child for this, because he is loving and kind. They realized that they were not paying close attention to the message that their church was sending out, but that A.J. had. The went to 15 different churches until they found one that was inclusive.
When their younger child mentioned that he was going to bring his girlfriend over, he asked. A.J. when he was going to bring someone home. A.J. responded, that he would “never do that to his father”. When his father heard what he had to say, he told him, |to bring home the person that he was dating”. He said that, “it would be difficult at first”, but that he would adjust.
They then created a youth group that gets together twice a month, so that A.J. would have a secure peer group, because none existed in their area at the time. The group is open to LGBTQ kids. Q in the group stands for questioning.
It often takes knowing a gay person personally to realize the biases that straight people exist with. I loved this video because it highlights the way that love should really be. His father did a complete 360 to support his son, because he loved him. A safe and loving home makes a huge difference in the life of an LGBT teen. It also points out how assumed heterosexuality can hurt LGBT kids. If their first association with their sexuality is that parents don’t love and support them, it can be extremely painful. I believe it is also important because his father commented about the machismo in his culture that made it difficult for him to accept his son. I think his change goes to show everyone that in every situation there is room to love the LGBT members of our society, if we just let go of our bigotry.
Each time I see one of these videos, it reminds me to be hyper vigilant with my children. As parents, we need to think about the messages we send our children unconsciously. If they believe that there are limitations to our love, it causes immeasurable pain. All children need and deserve to grow in love. It can literally save a life.