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I am tired this morning as I write this. You see, I stayed up way too late talking to my mother-in-law who is visiting from Florida. We talked about all kinds of things: my son, her only grandson; cancer, I’ve had it twice; grief, my wife’s father died over the summer after suffering through ALS; politics, we both worry constantly about the horror show that is Donald Trump; and also chicken, I’m a vegan and my 14-year-old miniature poodle is sick so she cooked him some chicken to spare me from having to.
All in all, it was a good talk, and by the time I went to bed it was midnight.
I haven’t always had a great relationship with my mother-in-law, but when my son was born 9 years ago we bonded over our shared love for him. And when I was going through breast cancer treatment she flew up here to help out.
So I’m glad she didn’t read “How to Set Boundaries With Your Gay Family Members,” an Aug. 31 column by “ex-lesbian” Janet Boynes for Charisma News, because according to Boynes, my mother-in-law shouldn’t have done any of those things. In fact, she never shouldn’t have met me at all, let alone said a single word to me.
“Parents have a tendency to take a course of action out of guilt or to please others,” Boynes said. “This type of compromise will eventually cause more pain than if we would have just refused to meet with the partner.”
For some context: my wife and I just celebrated our 21st anniversary. We’ve been together since I was 19 and she was 22.
So, according to Boynes, my mother-in-law, who adores her grandson — and he adores her — is suffering “more pain” by having a relationship with us than she would have if she’d cut her daughter out of her life and never met her grandson.
“I believe that actions speak louder than words,” Boynes said. “If we spend time with our loved one’s lover, we are sending the wrong message. Our mouth says, ‘I don’t support your lifestyle,’ but our actions compromise our beliefs by going to dinner out of guilt. We hear this all the time: ‘My wife and I went, but they know we don’t support their relationship.’ Your action has spoken above any words you spoke.”
First of all, let’s agree to banish the term “loved one’s lover” for all eternity. Secondly, I’m going to have to agree with Boynes here, to a point. If you want to condemn your child for being gay, then you should absolutely cut ties with them and never acknowledge their partners. However, if you want to be a parent, not to mention a decent human being, you don’t do that.
Of course, Boynes has an answer to why someone like my mother-in-law would feel like she loves me and my family.
“Satan has cleverly manipulated you by demonstrating that your belief is not strong enough to go against this hidden agenda,” she said. “Is it better to please your children above God?”
I’m going to go with, “Yeah.” It is better to please your children if by “please” we mean “love and accept without going full-blown you’re-possessed-by-Satan on them.”
Boynes writes, “I believe when you give in to the homosexual person, their sin will cause them to stay out in the world longer than if you made a loving, yet resolute stand.”
In other words, if you don’t acknowledge something, it just goes away. So if you just pretend that your child isn’t gay, then they will sooner rather than later give up on the whole gay thing and live heterosexually ever after.
I should point out that my mother-in-law does not believe that homosexuality is a sin, nor is she a right-wing Christian. But plenty of parents with LGBTQ children do and are. And Boynes’s “advice” to them is sick and dangerous. Condemning your child for who they love isn’t “loving.” It is the exact opposite. I mean, you can make your life on earth into a living hell in the hopes that’ll ensure you some kind of magical afterlife after you die. Or, you could just love your kid and accept them. Then again, that could just be the devil in me talking.