My Godchild May Be Gay: How Can I Help?

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Reflections and Resources
by Pat Klemme
Children are not as shielded from references to sexuality in today’s culture as in the past.  What they may be shielded from at home will likely be picked up at school or play.  Most grade-school children know rudimentary (and sometimes erroneous) facts about sexuality, and some are shockingly knowledgeable at a young age.  As a result a child may realize at quite a young age that he or she feels attracted to children of the same sex or has a crush on an adult of the same sex.  Such children may or may not talk to their parents or other adults in their lives about this.  Or they may approach the topic obliquely, saying something like “I have a friend….”  Other children may display signs of confusion like dressing up in the opposite gender’s clothing, or behaving more like opposite gender children.

Some children, no matter how cognitively knowledgeable they are about sexuality, may have no conscious feelings of same or different gender attractions, may never talk about gay sexuality (or lesbian or other minority sexuality expression ) or demonstrate any signs of cross-gender behavior.  Such children may not awaken to their sexual identity until their late teens or even later in life.  This is as prevalent, or more so, than children with early conscious awareness of alternative sexuality.  I was a tomboy from the time I could crawl with a swagger.  Yet I had no conscious awareness of alternative sexual expression until my early twenties. 

Sexuality is one facet of our God-created lives.  We are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and sexual beings.  We who may affect the lives of children need to evaluate how we feel about gay (or other) sexuality.  If our feelings are negative or if we feel we don’t know enough about the subject to be able to help our Godchild, one of the best resources is PFLAG--Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. PFLAG’s website,, provides a wealth of information, including ways for you to learn more about supporting anyone in your life who may be gay.  There are local chapters in every state and if one is not far from you, I urge you to meet with members personally.  I will recommend some additional resources later.

Here are some suggestions to help a child who may be gay:

Ø  For all children, know that ‘gay’ behavior is not a predictor of adult sexuality.  Keep an open mind, but realize that a child is trying on different personas as he or she is growing up.

Ø  Let your Godchild know that some people are gay, just as some are of other races.  Point out that God creates diversity in humanity just as in all nature.

Ø  If you have a gay relative or friend that your Godchild knows also, express your appreciation of that person.  It’s not necessary to point out that he or she is gay, just that he or she is a valued person in your life.   (Think you don’t have any gay people in your life?  Look again!)

Ø  Let your Godchild know that there are different forms of family.  Love, respect, and spiritual well-being are characteristics of healthy families, whether large multi-generational families, single parent families, or same-sex families.

Ø  Let your Godchild know that you are always open to questions about confusing subjects or things that come up at school that are not easily understood.  Be open to “I have a friend…,” or other subtle openings to teachable moments.

Ø  If your Godchild shares that he or she may be gay or is gay, ask how that is going.  Open a conversational avenue to get your Godchild’s feelings about this.  He or she may be elated or depressed or even hurt.  Be prepared to provide tangible assistance if your Godchild is having a hard time with this.  Know or find gay-friendly resources in your town such as doctors, counselors, clergy who can help support good mental, emotional, and spiritual health as your Godchild adapts to a new or renewed self-image.

Ø  If a child under the age of 12 says he or she is gay or is going to grow up to be gay, treat it respectfully and check for support needs as above.  Know, however, that it can probably be safely filed with I’m gonna be a fireman when I grow up, I wanna be an astronaut, and the myriad of other trial-and-error imaginations of most young children.  The closer to twelve-years-old, however, the more carefully you need to assess for reality vs. imagination.  

Ø  Remind your Godchild that God created each of us just the way He meant us to be and that “God don’t make no junk!”  God loves us with the sexuality He gave us, but He expects us to use the gift of our sexuality responsibly.  The values we learn in our families, schools, and faith communities apply just as much to gay relationships as to straight ones.

For some people, coming out to a loved one about minority sexuality takes more courage than they will ever have to muster again.  Our culture is not yet wholly supportive of gay sexuality. Children and teens can be especially cruel to a ‘sissy’ classmate, even if that child is not gay.  There is a frighteningly high incidence of suicide among gay or questioning teens and young adults.  Likewise many states still do not have hate-crime legislation to prevent gay-bashing.  Gays awakening to their sexuality are at high risk.

They also fear hurtful responses from their families and loved ones.  A loving Godparent can manifest God’s love for a gay Godchild through acceptance, support, and sound spiritual guidance.   [Editor’s note:  Jesus was quite open to a broad spectrum of people in society since he understood everyone to be a child of God.  Scriptures record that Jesus’ twelve apostles included a tax collector and a terrorist; as well as people both from the working class and upper class.   He also conversed with and visited many of the people that had been rejected by the male-dominated mainstream society.  The people that Jesus talked to and ate with included: tall and short, women, children, foreigners, religious and sinners, people born with deformities or suffering from mental illness, as well as people with contagious diseases, and even a Roman soldier whose favorite slave boy was ill. See Matthew 8 for examples of how Jesus did not exclude those ostracized by society.]

Pat Klemme is a 63-year-old licensed practical nurse in home health care.  She has also worked as a teacher, businesswoman, and in other health care settings.  Pat lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her cat, Joyful.   She was raised in the Episcopal Church, and is pleased to be seeing progress toward better inclusion of GLBT people in more and more churches.   Pat is a lesbian who believes she was created just the way God wanted her to be, and that God does not make mistakes. You may contact Pat at .

Starter resources for Godparents or parents of GLBT children:

PFLAG: Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

By mail:
PFLAG National Office
1726 M Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036

By phone: 
(202) 467-8180

By fax:
(202) 467-8194

General e-mail:

For The Bible Tells Me So
is an eloquent look at how GLBTs and their families reconcile (or not) with their faith communities.

DVD available through First Run Features or on-line book stores such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Soulforce particularly works to overcome religious oppression to GLBTs

Soulforce Vision Statement

"The purpose of Soulforce is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance."

Human Rights Campaign particularly works for political and social justice for GLBTs

The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide.  As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

For more information contact Nancy at  or Pat at