Why I chose my LGBTQ daughter over the Evangelical Church | Susan Cottrell | TEDxMileHigh

Why I chose my LGBTQ daughter over the Evangelical Church | Susan Cottrell | TEDxMileHigh

Translator: Ilze Garda
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva I come from a large, wounded family. By the time I was 24, both of my parents
and three of my brothers had died. And even though I still had two sisters,
I felt abandoned and alone. I remember watching The Sound of Music
with all those kids lined up in a row; it was like the family I never had. I couldn’t wait to be a mother. Life would be perfect, or so I thought. I met Rob when I was 26,
he wrote me a love song, and we were married three months later. (Laughter) It was a really good love song! (Laughter) A year after that, we had our first child and then, four more. When Chris was just two weeks old,
we ventured out to the local market. An older woman there took one look at him, so tiny, bundled up
in his bright blue baby blanket … She said, “God bless him,”
and I burst into tears. One day, you’re a regular,
rational person; the next, you’re a mom. You have this amazing responsibility to protect your children,
to prepare them for the world. You love them more than anything, and all you want to do
is dress them in matching colors. (Laughter) Here we are at a church camp
near Colorado Springs. Our younger son
may be wearing a girl’s shirt. (Laughter) As a mother of five,
you just do the best you can. (Laughter) We figured out pretty quickly that one thing you want
when you’re raising kids is community. For us, that was the church. We were at church a lot. We led Bible studies in small groups, Rob was a worship leader
and I sang on the praise team. And we homeschooled all five kids
who basically had the run of the place. Here’s Annie, leading
a Bible study for her dolls. (Laughter) Life was good! Our amazing children
grew into amazing adults, and we had our trusted community. Then one day, the phone rang,
and everything changed. It was Annie calling
from college, she was 20. I was wiping down the white-tiled
counter in my bathroom when Annie says,
“Mom, I got something to tell you. I’m attracted to girls.
I think I’m bisexual. I prayed about it, mom,
I’ve resisted it, but it won’t go away.” Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re hoping I whipped out
a rainbow flag and said, “Annie, that’s totally fine,
we accept you just the way you are.” But that’s not quite what happened. See, I had nothing against
LGBTQ people, really, but after 20 years
in the Evangelical Church, I believed that being gay
was somehow wrong. (Sigh) I love my daughter,
and I thought I had to protect her. So I said, “Annie, don’t give in,
we’ll support you. How can I help?” (Sigh) As I hung up the phone, my heart sank. I knew we’d never be
the same in the church again. Later, at Bible study, I shared
with some of my closest friends, hoping they’d give me some wisdom. Instead, they just went
straight to the rules. They said, “Being gay is a sin
and you can’t accept it.” Not accept my daughter? What does that even mean? I was devastated. I realized I was being asked to choose between the two
most important parts of my life: my child and my church. I chose my child. (Applause) Thank you. What else was I going to do? I chose Annie. And we left the church,
we lost our community. And eight years later, half of our family
still doesn’t speak to us. My faith was fraying at the edges. I needed to understand this. And what does the Bible
even really say about it anyway? I needed to understand,
and I began to read everything I could. I even went to a seminary. And I learned that most Christians
do accept LGBTQ people. (Applause) Yeah. (Applause) And I also realized that I had become
extremely judgemental. That was a really hard realization. But I began a deep process
of deconstructing that judgement. Meanwhile, Annie called from New York. She said, “Mom, I’m dating women now, and I am more at peace with God
than I’ve ever been.” That was all I needed to know. (Applause) Rob and I came to complete
peace about Annie. Three years passed, things were good,
Annie came home for a visit. We were in the kitchen
making salads for lunch, and she said, “Mom, are you sure you won’t change your mind
and reject me, you and dad?” I was like, “Sweetie, I am sure
we will not reject you. But why are you asking?” Then she told me about her friend Alison. When Alison came out, her mother threw her down the stairs
and threw dishes at her. That was a real wake-up call. It wasn’t just about our little family,
it was about countless other families. Around that same time, I went to a Christian women’s gathering
where the speaker was saying, “You’ve got to do
what God calls you to do, no matter how uncomfortable,
no matter how unexpected. If God calls you, you’ve got to do it.” So I went to her at the break,
and I said, “As you were speaking, God was telling me
to serve the gay community.” (Applause) It’s not what she expected. (Laughter) She said, “You mean
to help them not be gay, right?” (Laughter) So much for hearing
God saying the unexpected. (Laughter) But I knew in her response
that this is a huge problem. LGBTQ people are being bullied,
beaten, shamed, abandoned, and rejected. And parents are being asked to choose between a demanding God
and their own child. And none of this has anything to do
with what we learn from Jesus about the power of love. (Applause) Research shows that 57 percent of transgender youth
without parental support attempt suicide. But with parental support,
that number goes down to 4 percent. 57 percent to 4 percent –
that’s the power of a parents’ love. I knew I had to do something,
I had to reach the parents. So I started a blog. And the more I wrote, the more people
came out of the woodwork … They said things like, “When my son came out,
I wondered where we went wrong,” “My daughter is a lesbian, now I’m afraid
of what people will say about us.” One mom, Caren, was terrified
that her son would go to hell and she would too for supporting him. Her pastor had told her that. I invited her to my home for the weekend, and I said, “Caren,
no one is going to hell here. Your job is to love your son, that’s it.” (Applause) Her family was restored, and her son
has blossomed into his true self: he’s a fabulous dancer! It was so gratifying to help
other Christian parents come to peace, reconcile their faith issues,
and keep their families together. It became out full-time work. We made a lot of progress, and my little blog grew
into an online support community with more than 3,000 moms and dads and more than 50 local regional groups
where parents meet face to face. (Applause) But, for every parent we helped, we heard from just as many
LGBTQ people in crisis. One young man came out to his parents, and they put all his belongings
on the lawn and set them on fire. Another received a delivery
of black roses from his family to say he was dead to them. And one young woman
stepped out of her college library to find her parents on the corner waving Bibles and shouting,
“God hates fags!” Can you imagine? And these parents think this is love,
they call it tough love. They’ve been told
that they’re loving their children by shaming and shunning them,
and seeking to make them straight. But I know what love feels like,
and that is not love. Real love … (Applause) Real love accepts people as they are,
with room for who they may become. I also know what it’s like to be the child
who lost both her parents. Mom died when I was just nine,
and dad when I was 23. And that loss shows up in big ways, like their absence at your graduation, or your wedding. And it shows up in small ways too, like when you just need
some mothering or fathering, after a fight with a friend,
or when your car makes a funny sound. (Laughter) Or when just want to go have coffee
and talk about things. The hard truth is that some LGBTQ children
will never get their parents back. What are they to do? These kids need parents. And that’s why I do this work. I’m a mom and I love these kids, and I encourage other moms
and dads to love them too. Parents in our FreedHearts community step in and support LGBTQ people
whose families have abandoned them. Let me give you an example. Ken and Kathy were married 11 years
when Ken relieved a deep secret. Ken knew that he had been born
into the wrong body. His parents disowned him, but Kathy was supportive
as Ken transitioned to Kendra. Later, they wanted to have
a fairy-tale wedding as two brides, to renew their vows and celebrate
this new chapter in their lives. Their parents didn’t come. And that’s where
Linda and Janet stepped in. Linda and Janet are two moms
in our FreedHearts community. They were there for them
as if they were their own child. They sat on the front row
and cheered them on. And after the wedding,
the brides gave them each a bracelet that said, “Thank you for being the mom
you didn’t have to be.” Rob and I have begun
to officiate LGBTQ weddings too. Here’s Stephany and Cindy. And Erica and Ryan. And we have other weddings
on our calendar. For most of these people’s lives,
the message that they’ve received from those who represented
the voice of God condemned relationships like theirs. As pastors, Rob and I
represent the voice of God, and it’s a voice of love. (Applause) We go to graduations,
we talk on the phone, and we remind people
of how wonderful they are. We go to pride events across the country, with our signs and buttons that say
“free mom hugs” and “free dad hugs.” LGBTQ people come up to us
and melt into our arms. Many have not had
parental encouragement in years. As moms and dads, we tell them,
“You’re worthy, you matter, you belong.” That’s the power of a parent’s love. (Applause) It’s human to be frightened
by things we don’t understand. It’s not just religious fundamentalists who respond in ways
that are damaging and hurtful. We can all behave badly when we are not listening
to our better angels. How we treat people of color, refugees,
people with disabilities, the elderly, people on the other side of the aisle,
or people in our own family, anyone who is not how we think
they should be, who’s not like us. We try to make them like us. When that doesn’t work, we reject them. Yet, every major religion
has some version of the golden rule: to treat others the way
you want to be treated. After my mother died, I remember
sitting in the kitchen at the table. I had drawn the picture of a casket. My sister came through
the kitchen with a friend, and I said, “How do you spell ‘deceased’?” I really needed to talk
to somebody about that. She spelled it, she shrugged
her shoulders at her friend, and they went out the back door. And I looked at my picture, and even though I was only nine,
I understood I would be alone in this. What a gift it would have been if somebody had seen my shuttered heart,
my desperate need, and been there for me. But there was nobody. No child, no person
should ever have to feel like that. (Applause) So here’s my invitation to you. Look around for someone in your life
who’s not been treated well, who’s been treated badly, and treat them the way
you’d want to be treated. It could be your child, a family member,
a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger, someone who could use some encouragement. You can choose to love them. “There is no fear in love,
but real love dispels fear.” And real love – real love –
accepts people as they are with room for who they may become. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Why I chose my LGBTQ daughter over the Evangelical Church | Susan Cottrell | TEDxMileHigh

  1. When I came out as Bi to my parents, they were okay with it. My mom literally just said "okay" and I broke down in tears. It wasnt that big of a moment to them, all they wanted was for me to be happy. But it was a big moments for me. Now I realize that not all LGBTQ people have it as lucky as I do. My parents dont care at all, but some peoples parents care way to much. Thats just heartbreaking to me

  2. Well, she gave up on her daughter. All it would've taken was a few dicks to show her the light and she would've been normal……. 🔥🔥🔥🏳️‍🌈

  3. Nice try lady, you are not christian by definition.
    Luke 14:26
    Good News Translation
    "Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well.

  4. Matthew 10:37-38 King James Version (KJV)

    37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

    King James Version (KJV)

  5. I'm sorry, but a Christian community encouraging you not to support or accept the child you gave birth to is not Christian. That is a community playing at being Christian. And doing it horribly.

  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful speech I never knew I needed, Susan. Tolerance is the best that I can get but I'm not complaining as some had it worse. I hope more people like you will emerge so humanity can progress to a better place rather than going down the hill.

  7. "I chose my child" and you did a pretty good job at that. You had faith in your maternity, in your love for your daughter, and someone here rightly said, when a religion asks you to hate, that's the time to choose a new religion and you did, Motherhood. Lots of love and I'm proud of you. Other Parents should look up to you.

  8. Real love..accepts people for who they are..and makes room for who they may become..😭😭😭😊😊😊🔥🔥🔥🔥

  9. “Real love accepts people for who they are, with room for who they may become”
    That was beautiful, and thank you for the work that you do!

  10. Wow…just wow..
    I am in tears now as I also realised about myself some months back and I don't have any one's support in my life..In fact I am going through a hard phase in my life..
    After hearing this, I am in tears now..
    I wish my maa could be like this mom…but I know it is not possible ever in my life..
    I respect this lady..Thank u for supporting your daughter and many like us..🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
    much love from India..💓💓💓💓💓

  11. I love you. I hope I can one day have you officiate my marriage. Thank god that there are people like you in this world.

  12. Oh those terrible Christians. Meanwhile , society is falling apart because of its permissiveness. You don't have to choose this or that. You can still have both (Christianity and your daughter) in your life, regardless of what one building says. Seek another church or place to worship.

  13. The Old and New Testaments command us to accept those who are different from ourselves. Jesus teaches us that loving each other is far more important than strictly following Jewish laws. He said that the first commandment is to love God and the second commandment is to love others as you love yourself.

  14. She is such a brave, clever woman and a amazing mother. She made the right decision. The only possible choice. I have mad respect!

  15. Honestly, none of this applied to me but this touched my heart in so many ways. It's so good to know that there are still good people in this world.

  16. Wow strong inspirational speech, anyone that didn't tear up once in this video is not human. Susan is amazing <3

  17. What an amazing mother. The difference it makes having your parents or other parental figures accepting you is astronomical. And the difference it makes having somebody to understand you and help you, whatever you're going through, is more than can be put into words. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to support someone and have a whole community turn their backs on you because of that. I wish every person could follow this lady's example

  18. There you go you said it, college. it’s the birth place of bad beginnings they all hate God and anything Christian your poor daughter never had a chance. Sadly our schools are all the same, the kids do not have any spiritual or biblical training.

  19. My 13 yr old just told
    Me he has a boyfriend and that he wanted to know how he could kiss him .. to be honest I was shocked and did not know what to say and all I told him was I love you and I’m
    Here and we will figure this out tomorrow cuz is bed time for kids him… and I started took for info and this video just made me cry when when she said I choose my kid I don’t know what to do but I love him and I want him to know I’m here

  20. The Kendra and Kathy story reminds me of " I can choose my friends, and I can choose my family"
    It is a beautiful thing

  21. Oh my. I'm not even religious or LGBTQ+, but I'm in tears right now, because this is the amount of support I wish I had in my life. Thank you for all the work you are doing!

  22. its fun how people always talking about hate hate hate but all that clapped and got to there feet because they HATE GOD. they clapped because she didnt choose the church. they clapped because they hate God.

  23. If the church rejected the daughter then they weren't a very tolerant church. There is nothing about Christianity that rejects an person, no matter what they think of themselves. We are all sinners and in need of redemption.

    The Christian church does have standards of morality though, and if that person is not willing to live the Christian model then they will not be happy in the church. We hate the sin and love the sinner, but loving the sinner does not mean they have a 'get out of jail free' card. The sinner musty be willing to cast aside their earthly desires and follow Jesus' example.

  24. A real Christian church would never have you turn your back on your child. A real Christian would never turn their back on God. So…you didn't really need to "make a choice" other than finding an actual church.

  25. Whats sad is that she is leading so many away from Christ. I'm so grateful my mother loved me & always pointed me to Jesus thru every bad choice I made. And with that foundation I point my children to Jesus. Thats love.

  26. No one is born homosexuals. Her daughter chose to marry & be with a man. Just like one can choose Gods design. Her mom is still making money deceiving trying to convince ppl that God affirms homosexuality. Shame on her.

  27. There are some with unwanted ss attraction & some that are tormented in their mind & feel they are born in the wrong body. They need help. All that is offered & promoted is "come out" proud & surgical transition. Some want another option.

  28. This is one of those people who is so full of love and passion that everyone loves them but their kids are embarrassed by them.😂 I mean this in the best way possible. I love this woman☺️

  29. I am a born again evangelical Christian and I believe and submit to God and the Bible. She did the best thing, as far as choosing to keep her relation with her daughter. A church that rejects and does not speak to people in circumstances like this, is not a biblical healthy place.

    Not all churches abandon and reject LGBTQ people and not all evangelical churches will make parents choose between God and their Children. We accept and love people as they are, even when we disagree their life style. And we are hoping that others will accept and love us even when they disagree our believes. We will speak the truth of the Word in love and we will accept their personal decisions. We want to keep families together and relations. But above all we want to honor God and His Word.

    By the way, the Bible not only portrays a loving, merciful and faithful God that you can trust. He is also a just God and will be demanding obedience to his Word. Be sure you do not create your own God different from the God of the bible. Marriage is one man and one woman.

  30. Jesus Christ loves all people, and he still told them the truth, because he loved them he told them the truth 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

  31. Its understandable why atheist would get behind this lady & her work. They are in the same camp. Satan would be proud.

  32. I was outed by my cousin when i was 14. My grandma called me in a panic, seeming so distraught by the news that I might be a boy. She talked to my parents and they sat me down to talk. My parents said hurtful things and when I ran upstairs to hide, my dad told me he didn't want to see me in the house in the morning. This woman is who so many people in the community need. Acceptance can be hard but in the end, parental love needs to win.

  33. I watched this and nearly cried!! This lady is so loving and just an amazing mom. I'm literally so scared to come out to my parents out of fear of rejection.
    Also when I went to the pride parade I remember seeing a booth that said free mom and dog hugs and those moms are the sweetest people I have met! They are so loving and compassionate!

  34. Even though she twist God's Word, it does not change bcuz her child "came out". She needs to come to JESUS CHRIST. As a Christian we affirm our identity is in Christ. Its not in the lgbtq+ whatever else "feels" good or the worlds lie of the day. Momma bears cover our children in prayer & we speak the truth of God over them. We put on the whole armour of God & stand against the wiles of satan. We dont serve them over to the enemy of our souls & deceive others to follow a lie. That day will come when one stands before God & gives an account & the Truth will be held against you.

  35. The lgbtq agenda using emotional manipulation & whatever means necessary to force feed society into submission. Time to wake up.

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