Coming out with the news that we have discovered our true sexuality or gender or religious views is an incredibly delicate situation and requires a great deal of bravery.
In response, we should do our best to accept and support our loved ones once they’ve shared their news.
But how far should we willingly go to express our love?
This question recently came up in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Interesting-Case-102 was at a loss when she did everything she could to support her daughter who came out as a Lesbian and as anti-religious.
But when her daughter wasn’t okay with her continuing to observe her own faith, the Original Poster (OP) didn’t know what more she could do.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for continuing to go to church after my daughter came out as a lesbian?”
The OP was supportive of her daughter’s identity.
“I (49 [female]) have always been deeply religious.”
“Apart from some important events, like my mother’s funeral mass, or the wedding of one of my nieces, I have never forced any of my children to attend church.”
“My daughter S (18 [female]) told her father and me that she was a Lesbian and an atheist (she actually said anti-religion), about half a year ago.”
“We congratulated her and obviously reinforced the fact that we will always love her as our daughter no matter who she loves or what beliefs she has.”
The OP’s daughter wanted more support from inside their home.
“S informed me that she was uncomfortable with the crosses and other religious images around the house.”
“Since I don’t want to be disrespectful, I moved them to my room.”
“S also asked me to stop praying before eating.”
“Since I want to take care of my relationship with her, I stopped saying it out loud and now I just pray silently.”
But the daughter didn’t appreciate what the OP did outside the home, either.
“The problem: I haven’t stopped going to church and S can’t stand that fact.”
“Every time I come back from mass, she gives me a sermon about why going to church is bad and how I am a hypocrite for continuing to go when I say that I support her sexuality. This has been going on for at least 6 months.”
“Today I went to a small meeting with ladies from the church. When I came back from the meeting, S was waiting for me in the living room, and again yelled at me that I am a hypocrite and a sinner, since I said that I love her no matter what, and that includes her sexuality.”
The OP was unsure what else to do.
“Honestly, I’m fed up, and this time I couldn’t keep quiet.”
“I told her that I have tried to meet all of her demands, that I respect and love her, but that I will not continue to let her yell at me every time I mention something about my religion.”
“I told her that if she hates finding out that I’m going to church so much, the door is more than open for her to leave the house.”
The family had mixed feelings about the OP’s reaction.
“My other daughter thinks what I said was okay.”
“But my husband thinks I should act mature since I am the parent. He says it costs me nothing to ‘go secretly’ to mass to prevent S from finding out.”
“I think that is not a way to live, and it is not fair to S or me.”
“My husband also said that I must apologize to S.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said support should be a two-way street.
“I am a Queer and Trans atheist, and I find pushing lack of religion on others just as despicable as pushing religion on others.”
“Your daughter wants you to respect her beliefs but isn’t offering you the same courtesy.”
“There are plenty of believers who are not anti-queer nor anti-trans.”
“My mother is a Catholic who goes to church every week and also is a member of the Catholic Women’s League. If she ever gets too old to go to church on her own, I will take her and sit with her through the whole thing, because I love her and respect her choices and beliefs.”
“I currently live with her where there are crucifixes, little statues, bibles, etc. I have never once asked her to move them.”
“I hope OP manages to work things out. People don’t have to agree with each other in order to respect and support each other.” – ArcticUrsidae
“My first thought was WTF? Someone with her lifestyle and she’s treating her Mother how, stereotypically, the not-so accepting, more extremist side of religious groups would treat her! She has demanded so much from her Mother despite everything being willingly and lovingly given.”
“I think someone needs to have a sit down with the daughter and explain to her that religion doesn’t always mean the hateful, closed-minded groups that often come up against the LGBTQ+.”
“I also don’t agree with the husband in saying she should ‘go secretly’ as it costs nothing. OP shouldn’t have to hide her religion. I’m not into religious things and even I think that’s messed up. And in the end, it is her house and she shouldn’t be made to feel like the bad guy for no reason except a clash in beliefs. I also don’t see how that’s not acting maturely.” – -BananaLollipop-
Others wondered if the daughter somehow wanted her experience to be more difficult.
“The idea is that she is a sinner in her own beliefs by being okay with her daughter being a lesbian.”
“The trouble with religion – and I’ll use Christianity as my example – is that people believe what they want to believe. This is true throughout history.”
“If you read the book Misquoting Jesus, it discusses all the various ways that the bible was changed over time both intentionally and unintentionally. People in power edited the bible to say what they thought it should say.”
“Over many generations, many changes, many translations, it isn’t what it was originally.”
“Throw in the inconsistencies between the Old Testament being very violent and vengeful and the New Testament being about loving each other, then you get some people focusing on the hate and others focusing on the love.”
“It sounds like OP’s daughter is looking at the haters and protecting their beliefs about sin on her mother assuming that she ought to see herself as a sinner for not hating. But what would Jesus do? He would love unconditionally.” – ArcticUrsidae
“This what I gathered too, I just think it’s very odd the daughter is the one saying this when typically it would be another churchgoer or even Op herself saying it to her daughter.”
“It’s hard to describe my thoughts on this. Like, I’m just so shocked at her line of thought that I can’t even put it into words. She wants to hurt her mother and is actively being bigoted and homophobic towards herself because, presumably, she wants to struggle.”
“I know it’s only a very small percent of the LGBT community, but I know some people get upset when they’re not met with outright homophobia when they come out and it seems like that’s what the daughter wanted.”
“She wants her mother to believe she(the mother) is a sinner so that she will turn on her daughter so that she(the daughter) can have the ‘full gay experience’ (for lack of a better term).”
“I don’t think I’m getting my point across clearly and I apologize if what I’m saying isn’t quite right…but this situation is just stunting my thought process (I had to re-read this out loud to myself and I haven’t done that in years because I simply couldn’t process my own thoughts).” – AnimalLover38
“I was thinking about this and maybe it’s easier to look for outright hatred then to consider it could be hidden?”
“Like, it’s easy to write someone off if they’re outwardly a member of the KKK. It’s harder to deal with someone who seems like a nice dude and then starts talking about ‘back in the old days’ and suddenly he agrees with slavery or that people should only marry within their race.”
“If it’s not obvious, there’s that little voice of doubt in your head that their hatred is in there and if you let your guard down you’ll be hurt worse.”
“And then you’re in a constant state of fight or flight and you have to relearn the world isn’t out to get you.” – moongirl12
“I don’t know if it’s that confusing to me? I don’t think she’s necessarily RIGHT or taking the right approach, but I can see the daughter’s train of thought pretty clearly.”
“Like, ‘Mom, what the f are you doing? You’re going to this group, they hate me, they say I’m a sinner, they’d say YOU are a sinner for supporting me- so why are you trying this hard to be part of a club that doesn’t want either of us? In the rules you’ve adopted in your head you’re *going to hell* just for loving me- so what is it? Do you not care that you’re going to hell, or do you not actually love me?'”
“Obviously, it’s very black and white thinking, but it’s pretty human, and pretty understandable from a place of pain.” – stephowl
The subReddit understood where the OP was coming from in her frustration and similarly puzzled over why her daughter was so fixated on changing her. It may have been a defensive measure, as some pointed out, or it may have ironically been her own demonstration of not accepting her mother for who she was.
Whatever the reason for the behavior, the subReddit supported the OP in continuing in her faith, as long as it was in an LGBTQ+ accepting space.