The Five Stages of Grief for Parents of LGBT Children

January 15, 2014 – Patheos

The following post is by Jason Bilbrey, the Director of Pastoral Care here at The Marin Foundation.  You can read more from Jason at his blog,

“Mom, I’m gay.”

“Dad, I was born the wrong gender.”

Very few parents hear these words without a flood of emotions and reactions.  In my time at The Marin Foundation, I’ve talked to many, many parents about the series of conversations that these words spark, like the pistol shot that signals the beginning of a grueling marathon. And the two phrases that I hear most often are these: “it felt like my world had been flipped upside-down” and “it felt like a death in the family.” I think these statements speak to the fact that it’s a grieving process. Parents often feel a very real sense of pain and loss when their children come out to them.

And that makes sense. As a parent myself, I know firsthand how I’ve had dreams for my daughter since the day I found out Courtney and I were pregnant. Unconsciously, I’ve imagined an entire life for her: who she’ll fall in love with, where they’ll live, all those grandkids.  These are powerful images. So, it makes sense that a child coming out feels like an earth-shattering event.

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