Fear not!

We have always been willing to take a risk even though we are aware of the possible consequences, and we have decided to run this risk even if it feels like we are walking on broken glass.

We refer to the vast LGBTQ+ world, too often the subject of confusion, loneliness, fear and social marginalization, prejudice, or just plain judgment. A world that is vaster than one thinks and that brings bewilderment and pain to the families and protagonists who are too often left alone; where society, politics and even the Church often find themselves caught up in false beliefs.

The sensational and unsettling phrase of Pope Francis: “Who am I to judge someone who is homosexual?” is echoed and counterbalanced by the phrase of a parent of a homosexual child “Who am I to merit opening up my heart to an even greater Love?”

There’s no denying having a certain dismay when the so-called “Coming out” comes into the picture and you find yourself like an unprepared student being interrogated! Very often, and not out of pity or defence, this is said of LGBTQ+ children: they are sensitive and good, very capable in their studies, generous and outgoing; elements very common to many families who live this reality. But this should not be misleading as if the person has had to compensate for a shortcoming, not being straight is scary because it seems like something is missing. Nothing is missing!

We feel we must be prophets in this uncomfortable borderland and to be a prophet, you must feel uncomfortable. It adds another vocation to the existing one of being parents. There are phases in our journey that can necessitate different times from family to family: bewilderment, acceptance, discovery. This child takes us beyond the known horizon, this challenge seems to impose itself, and then we recognize it as being unique and precious.

Consulting the Bible, we might say like Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance, nor at the grandeur of his stature… for I do not look at what man sees. Man looks at appearances, and the Lord looks at his heart” (1 Sam 16:7).

One can only understand something of all this by hearing the stories of the protagonists, of the parents: by listening to their often-dramatic experiences. Dramatic, because it is impossible not to point out that for an adolescent who in his life story has had a strong religious affiliation and who discovers that he is Hom affective, or not at ease in his body, feeling out of God`s grace all adds to the drama because, what until then has been the backbone of his existence, collapses under the weight of “sin”. His path become tortuous; feeling on the margins of that world or of the whole world sometimes leads to desperate choices.

There is an urgent need for a culture of acceptance, a culture that can make people understand the different expressions of sexuality, a characteristic element of the human person, which is sometimes complex. There is an urgent need for a culture that helps to overcome mistrust, merciless moralism, and stereotypes in order to foster full inclusion in society.

Looking back for a moment, we can see how human history is studded with LGBTQ+ people and certainly it is too simplistic to explain it with the spread of a current mentality, because it would mean that the mentality has been current since the dawn of time. There is something more and that cannot be reduced to approximate statements, we need to reflect on this too.

A great little antidote can be to never say: it’s not up to me, others will take care of it. We must be like those who lowered the paralytic from the roof; be ready to reach out to communities who are working on being “totally inclusive”; Moving from listening to the norms to listening to the person. We must and can make our hope available, and always bring parents and children together.

The Pope shows great understanding and mercy by understanding the difficult existence of LGBTQ+ people and does not fail to affirm this.

Acceptance is a transitional term; the dream and the challenge is to be able to live in a world where this word is no longer necessary.

(Source: afnonlus.org – Lina Ciampi e Paolo De Maina)