How Would You React if one of you Children Came out to You?

By: Mormon Heretic
March 10, 2014

Now that Seasons 3 and 4 are on Netflix, I’m catching up on Sister Wives again.  Season 4 Episode 4 was a Q&A titled You Asked, They Answered, in which viewers ask all sorts of questions of the Browns.  One question in particular gave me much pause, and I thought it might be a nice discussion.

JanelleJanelle, “Ok, Sarah’s asking ‘how would you react if one of your children came out to you?’ and I’m assuming this means came out as a homosexual. And, you know, I’ve thought about this because the odds are, with as many children as we have – the odds are that we could have one or two.  And I’ve really thought about this, and I don’t think it would disrupt my world any.”

Christine, “You know I talked to one of my kids, and she goes, ‘what if I chose to being home a girlfriend, how you’d feel?’  She was just throwing it out there because she loves to be spontaneous.”

Kody, “And they like to challenge.  And they like to challenge us.”

ChristineChristine, “Exactly.  And this is what I said.  I said, ‘Well, then you couldn’t have her come play in your room ‘cause right now boys aren’t allowed in your room, and neither could girls be allowed in your room. So, I think it’d be really kind of tough path for you to have a close relationship with somebody.’  I said, “Mind you, if this is a committ4ed relationship, you better bring her over so I can meet her.  If she’s not right for you, then I’m gonna put up a fight, just like I would if you brought home a boy who wasn’t right for you, too.”

Robyn, “To answer this question honestly, I would be said for a child that realized they were a homosexual because that’s a hard life.”

Christine, “Agreed.”

RobynRobyn, “My heart would go out to them.  I’d feel really sad on a level because they would face so many prejudices, as well, and so many challenges.  It’s not an easy life, and I think that’s one of the biggest challenges, is whether or not their family loves them and accepts them.”

Kody, “We have determined that we will accept our children with whatever their relationship or their lifestyle is.”Kody

  • What are your thoughts about the Browns reaction to this question?
  • Have you thought about this question for your family?  Would you react the same or differently?
  • If you have a child that has “come out”, did you handle it well?
  • If you have a child that has “come out”, have your feelings changed regarding civil unions?  If they have stayed the same, are they stronger for/against gay marriage?Meri


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15 Responses to How Would You React if one of you Children Came out to You?

  1. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I love this post, and I’m so glad to hear this much openness from the Brown family. Seems like they’d handle it pretty well. I think being part of an oppressed minority often gives one some insight into the lives of other oppressed minorities. Good for them.

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  2. Andrew S on March 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    I wonder if being out and gay is a harder life than being out in a polygamous relationship.

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  3. David Redden on March 10, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    When my oldest daughter came out, I reacted with joy and relief. My wife and I knew something was making our daughter angry and causing her to act out, but we weren’t sure what. When she came out, everything made sense. She was attending the LDS church, where she was repeatedly told that her that her feelings were wrong, wicked, evil, and so forth, she thought my wife and I would reject her. She couldn’t be her authentic self around us. That surprised and hurt me, because I had been pretty open about how disgusted I was about Boyd K. Packer’s “why would God make gays” GC talk a few years back, but I guess it wasn’t an unreasonable suspicion on her part, given the rhetoric she heard at church.

    Anyway, my wife and I embraced it, marched in gay pride parades, told her that she didn’t need to attend church if she didn’t want to, and kept our home a safe place for her and her girlfriend (but the bedroom door stays open). She could be herself around us, and that resolved so many issues. Also, she hasn’t been to church since except on maybe a couple occasions, and I don’t blame her at all.

    I have felt strongly for years that the LDS church is flat wrong on LGBTQ issues. It was a challenge remaining faithful during Prop 8. I also shrugged off Dalin H. Oaks recent GC talk in which he argued essentially that no Mormon who understands the plan of salvation could support gay marriage. Sure he was using a thing of beauty (the plan) in an ugly way (to deny state recognition of a loving relationship between sexual adults based solely on their innate sexual orientation), but he’s only one GA. Then church leadership recently appeared to sign on to his argument in a news release relating to the Utah gay marriage situation. We’re now looking for a new church home.

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  4. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Bless you, David. Thank you for being such a loving, supportive parent to your daughter. I wish every gay kid had parents like you and your wife.

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  5. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    I wonder the same thing, myself. In a way, it kind of has to be, because at least there are some positive examples of polygamy in the Bible which pretty much all Jews and Christians agree on, though in modern times, Christians tend to use much of the same hateful rhetoric against polygamists that they use against gays. And when people start spouting the “slippery slope” arguments, polygamists are usually the next rung down, right above children, dogs, ducks and toasters. And polygamy is clearly and obviously a “choice,” albeit usually a religiously-based one.

    It’s a good question.

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  6. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Sorry — previous comment was addressed to Andrew (#2).

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  7. Andrew S on March 10, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    re 5/6,


    my comment was definitely darker/more snarky, haha. maybe I misread, but when I hear/read people saying, “x is a hard life,” this has undertones of disapproval. (E.g., when people say, “I’m not against interracial couples, but…it would be so difficult for the kids!”)

    So, if that was the undertone (maybe I’m just too cynical today, though), then I have to wonder — surely being a polygamist in 2014 is not a walk in the park — yet that didn’t stop them. You don’t have to be “sad” for folks who have things less easy.

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  8. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Yeah, I see what you’re saying, Andrew, and I kind of feel the same way when people say “hard life” and “sad.” I kind of like the Browns, though, from what I’ve seen of them in their show, anyway, and the comments outlined in the OP are far better than what I might have expected them to say. I’ve been wondering about one of their sons, if he might be gay, for a while now, and I can’t imagine being him (or the other kids, as far as that goes) and growing up on a TV show with the whole world watching, *plus* having to deal with being gay and coming out to family, friends, and an entire TV audience (including a significant number of LDS). That’s pretty much the *definition* of “hard,” I think! :)

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  9. Jon on March 10, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    I would love him or her but discourage them in every possible way from the gay life

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  10. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

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  11. Jared on March 10, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    My wife and I have observed close up how a faithful large lds family (mom, dad, and adult children) dealt with a son coming out. The entire family is close, including the gay son who has a partner.

    There is a loving bond with mutual respect and boundaries. The gay son knows when he his with family not to be affectionate with his partner. He understands it is repulsive to his family, he loves his family and accepts this part of their nature just as they accept his being gay.

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  12. Brian on March 10, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    My reaction surprised me. I cried for three days. Not because he was gay but because he had gone through his teenage years (we found out when he was 19) having to live a lie. When I thought about how he had to outwardly live a Mormon life and hear all the church prop 8 stuff, it was more than I could handle. Such a good guy, living for his parents, not wanting to disappoint them. I could have died of shame. I was glad I was already supporting gays before he came out but I attended a church that made him feel “less than”. Never again. And he knows that.

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  13. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Brian, you are an awesome dad. So glad your son has you.

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  14. babaroni on March 10, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    Jared #11 – That’s awful. That makes me very sad. I can’t imagine how anyone could think that a close, loving family would treat their son that way. That’s not acceptance. That’s shame. The family is shaming their gay son and asking him to live a lie to the rest of the family for their personal comfort. Can you imagine any loving family asking their son or daughter to deny his or her relationship with a heterosexual spouse? Personally, I would not put up with that kind of expectation if my parents wanted me to be less than honest about my life and my love and my family. I would ask them to be sure to call me when they were ready to have a real, honest relationship with me and my spouse and our family.

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  15. Brian on March 11, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    “Repulsive to his family”–hopefully that’s your adjective and not theirs.

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