Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Is What Parental Rejection Does to Gay Kids

Posted by on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

My heart breaks for this kid:

He mentions his abusive mother dragging him to a church in a bruised a bloodied state. Did no one act? He's reading the comments thread on his YouTube account. Reach out to him.

Parents who reject their lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) teens may increase the odds that their offspring will experience depression, engage in risky sexual practices and even attempt suicide according to a study published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.... Those who reported that they'd experienced high levels of family rejection as adolescents were 8.4 times more likely to say they'd attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to say they'd suffered depression, 3.4 times more likely to say they'd used illegal drugs and 3.4 times more likely to say they'd engaged in unprotected sex.


Comments (44) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Blar what the fuck is wrong with people? This is sad and infuriating.
Posted by john cocktosin 4 on February 16, 2013 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Can't figure out how to post a comment on his video page. Maybe he has comments disabled? Or I'm just tech-dumb.
Posted by lilnova on February 16, 2013 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Isn't this the same religion that says you *should* beat your children? Sometimes to death?
Posted by gromm on February 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
Never forget this: You have the right to be happy. Nobody can take that away.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 5
we need an underground railroad for gay kids!
Posted by scary tyler moore on February 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 6
Dan- Have you ever contemplated all the implications if tomorrow they discovered a pill that ended any same sex desire? We now know an awful lot of things about being human and human biology and it wouldn't be out of the question that it happens.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
@lilnova, Go directly to the video, not the channel, to make a comment. After listening to "This American Life/Harper High" and watching this video today, my heart is heavy. I'm a high school teacher who tries to show how much I care to every student. When I see this pain, I cannot control my tears. Any teacher who adds to a child's pain needs to consider a career change. Austin, I care for you.
Posted by catherineku on February 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Report this
nocutename 8
@5: Yeah, we do. I'd be happy to be a station. This kid and others like him deserve better than the families they got.
Posted by nocutename on February 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Austin, I know it seems like it won't get better right now, but it will. And sometimes it gets better and then gets worse again. Which is cruel and scary as fuck. But one day it will get better and it will stay better. When you are able to have control of your life it gets better. Please know that that there is much love out here for you so just dig in and hang on. You have courage, we all can see it even if you can't. Just a little while longer my friend. Just a little longer.

Google the Serenity Prayer. It has helped me when things are black and hopeless. Maybe it can help you too. Peace and Love and Happiness are on your horizon.
Posted by kwodell on February 16, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
milemarker 10
@6 You first.
Posted by milemarker on February 16, 2013 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Confluence 11
What do you suppose mom's gonna do when she sees this video? When she's vilified by everyone on the planet for being abusive? It's good the kid got out to help himself, but posting a YouTube video to planet earth about how evil his mother is pretty much guarantees that his family situation isn't going to get better anytime soon.
Posted by Confluence on February 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 12
@11 He's not living with his mom anymore. I don't think this situation is terribly reconcilable. If I were him, I couldn't, even if she wanted to.

The worst that could happen is she'll try to take him back then beat the shit out of him again. Or worse.

But, really, he needs to talk to somebody. Anybody. Who will listen and talk back. A guidance counselor. A therapist. A teacher. Anybody. He's an echo chamber in himself. Hence the video.

It's heartbreaking. Truly.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 16, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
dlauri 13
@11: That kid doesn't need to try to reconcile with his mother. She's crazy and evil and he's better off without her. He shouldn't waste any more time trying to fix her. It's not his responsibility.
Posted by dlauri on February 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Thanks for sending us flying monkeys off in his direction, Dan. He is receiving a shower of supportive comments. He contributed an It Gets Better video last year, so it's nice to be able to give back to him.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM · Report this
Something must be done.
Posted by vennominon on February 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
WHAT!?!?!?! DAN SAVAGE!!!!!
Posted by austingates on February 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Hyzenthlayk9 17
@16 Good you got the link. Most of us have the Slog comments set so that we don't see unregestered users.

Welcome, Austin!

Hey guys, Austin is now reading the comments here too.
Posted by Hyzenthlayk9 on February 16, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Yay! Austin is in the house. You are a brave and strong young man. Yes, your childhood has been stolen, and it is not something you can get back. But you can overcome the loss. We always want the love and acceptance of our parents, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. But you can overcome this. Look forward. She doesn't deserve to be in your life anymore. I hope your dad is more accepting. Even if he isn't, there are adults out here who are. Find them. PFLAG is a great resource. If your school has a GSA (gay-straight alliance) go there. Talk to a trusted teacher or counselor. But above all, know that there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. You are just who you are supposed to be. Stay strong, and it WILL get better.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Welcome Austin. You'll find a lot of support here and some trolls. Ignore the trolls, both here and in life.
Posted by JJinAus on February 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this

I commented on your video & want to reiterate that there are plenty of middle age gay dudes who empathize & can relate to what you've been through & where you are now. Please, do not give in to suicidal thoughts. I know that they are very real & that you often feel alone, we all have a down days. Your life matters. The future is unknowable but if you remove yourself from the world, we will never know what amazing & wonderful experiences you'll have missed. When I was a teen, in a very small town in rural north FL, I felt completely alone & was afraid to disclose my sexual orientation to anyone. This was back before the internet...and the few visible gay people featured in movies & on television were usually the butt of jokes & ridicule. We know now that we are everywhere, represented in all walks of life, athletes, entertainers, authors, educators, physicians, lawyers, waiters, office workers, etc. No one can remove the emotional scars left by your mother's inhumane treatment of her son but I am convinced that you, like so many of us, will learn to live with the scars, eventually becoming emboldened by their existence as a reminder of how strong you/we really are & how much you/we have to offer the world.
Hang tough, you can experience so much more & better times ahead.
Dennis Tampa, FL
Posted by TampaDink on February 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 21
Hey Austin! Your happiness matters. Show her up by being successful and happy and having as much fullness in your life as you can possibly imagine.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on February 16, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
ballard dude 22
Yo Austin welcome to Slog! I've got a feeling you've got a lot to contribute...
Posted by ballard dude on February 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 23
Ignoring and non recognition and ostracizing are some of the most brutal "passive" punishments our society can impose on a person. I always think how it must have been to be say, a black genius in the 1940s, who could have been tracked to the top, if he were acceptable. Does that explain actions? Yes, the term is "displacement behavior"...when someone wants to do something, and has the ability, but an obstacle is in his way..the actions come out warped, criminal.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on February 16, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
@5: my god, why don't we have that?! Dan, can't we do something about that?

Austin, I'm sure we would have been friends in school, but now I'm (probably) old enough to be your mom, and I sorta wish I were. In my house, you'd get hugs and love and support for being the sweet, thoughtful, authentic guy you are. I'm beyond sorry for what your mom did to you. It's inexcusable. She is choosing some crazy ideology over the human in front of her. It is pitiable. But you are not pitiable. Hang in there, Austin. There are so very many fantastic people out there who would count themselves lucky as hell to have you in their lives. Believe it. And stick around so you can meet us. *Love*
Posted by smidgebean on February 16, 2013 at 7:47 PM · Report this
Austin, your mother is wrong. God would never approve of a parent doing that to their kid. You are a child of God and God loves you exactly the way you are. Do NOT let anyone convince you otherwise. Things really suck for you right now and I'm so sorry about that. They will get better, but you have to hang in there until they do. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Know that there are many people who care about you.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on February 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
Austin, you have friends here. Never forget that.
Posted by SolM on February 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 27
Hey, Hyzenthlayk9 @ 17 - good for you, if you got Austin to log on to Slog. Cheers. TO AUSTIN @16, long but plz. read:

"Freedom comes the day we stop wishing for a different past."

My mother & I don't speak. I'm likely not quite 2X your age, but I'm older - technically old enough to be your mother, or an aunt ;) My mother abused me. It's hard for other people to understand; the person who is supposed to love & protect you - more than any other person! - gets angry that you're not what they wanted (I'm bi, IDK how much that played into things) or planned for. So many experiences in common with you. The going through my things, many years of religious schooling, the tug of war between parents: when you say: "she took part of my life away" - I hear you, it's so well said. 2 weeks after the cops intervened at our home, she moved out, but the abuse & mental tug of war didn't stop for many years. & seeing other people with their moms is like a stab in the gut, if you're feeling vulnerable.

I agree with you: "it" doesn't get better. I'm so sad that you went through these struggles, but as you know, because you're off forming your new life - "it gets better" is too simple. Rather, *we* get better; we grow older & better equipped to ask for what we want & need from people. *We* get better at telling the difference between what is okay, & not okay for us; & how to distinguish someone who loves & cares for us, from someone whose abusive pattern merely feels familiar. *We* get better at making healthy choices for ourselves, & understanding that how we are born *is not* some choice we made, or our "fault"; instead, the miracles of cells that join to form each & every one of us are an amazing thing, & every last thing about you, that makes you, you - is amazing.

Continue to educate yourself. Continue to hone your instincts, continue to be brave & ask for help, ask for someone to listen. Because people are. You're so much braver than I was, when I was your age. Get some counseling. Talk to your friends. Continue to connect. By asking for people to listen, you're opening yourself for some people to mock, or make light; but more people will listen, Austin. You wait & see.

You've got a long road to walk, & sometimes that pain will feel like yesterday. But I promise you, that if you hang in there long enough, one day it will hurt less; & some time after that, even less. I've come to love myself despite all the challenges going through that puts in the way. You will too.

I go to Atlanta, 1ce a year, over Labor Day weekend. If you still need someone to talk to, someone who has been through much of what you have, drop me a line anytime - eva_arts AT Come Labor Day, I can give you a real hug in person, if you want one. Until then, I'm sending you thoughts of cookies & tea, & smiles for the good friends you have yet to meet in life.

Hogs & quiches,


PS: I recently started Emailing my mother. We haven't tackled the hard questions, but after many years of no contact at all, I don't get as angry when trying to communicate. That might not be in your future, but wanted to let you know - the future is brighter than the past.

Posted by Eva Hopkins on February 16, 2013 at 11:14 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 28
(Also, Dan: thanks for posting Austin's video. What a good fairy godfather you are! Mwah..!)
Posted by Eva Hopkins on February 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM · Report this
Lissa 29
Oh Austin, I am so glad you've come here. Your Mom......gah. I can't even. Your video made me cry. Your strength and sweetness just shines through. Listen to the Sloggers, so many of them have been where you are, and we all are in your corner.
Posted by Lissa on February 17, 2013 at 1:22 AM · Report this
mr. herriman 30
Austin, let me be another to greet you with open arms. What you've been through is horrific, but you are a brave and strong young man with so much tenderness and kindness to share with the world. It may not feel like it right now, but there is so much joy and love waiting for you. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

I'm another woman just old enough to be your mother, and yeah like smidgebean said @24, i kinda wish i were right now, too :)

hugs to you Austin, you are always welcome here.
Posted by mr. herriman on February 17, 2013 at 1:24 AM · Report this
emma's bee 31
Austin, I know it may be hard to fathom now. But someday very soon you will find - and create - the family who will love and cherish you exactly as you are. Why, I believe you have already begun. Hang strong.
Posted by emma's bee on February 17, 2013 at 5:45 AM · Report this
Mr Gates @16 - Delighted you made it here. I hope all the love and goodwill expressed here can be of some help to you, and that you're able to draw on this little show of your own potential.
Posted by vennominon on February 17, 2013 at 7:15 AM · Report this
sissoucat 33
Hi Austin, I'm a mother of three writing to you from France.

I've also had my childhood stolen, though in a different way. So I deeply understand how you feel. Let me tell you this : you're very brave in getting your story out to the world. You have courage. That's a great quality.

Don't worry about what your mother or people around your family will think about you putting this video online. They are the ones who should be ashamed about their horrible behaviour. They all are guilty of abusing you in an horrible way. They are the ones who should be depressed - but they won't be, because sociopaths don't get depression. Only normal persons do... So see, you're a normal person already !

You did nothing wrong. The abuse was absolutely not your fault. It's not because of who you are, it's because of who SHE is.

Being gay is just the way you are - it's not a shame, it's not a sin, it's just you. Change "being born gay" for "being born left-handed" : would it be grounds not to love you, and to abuse you, and to beat you up ? No, left-handed and right-handed alike will tell you that it's silly to abuse someone because he's left-handed.(*)

Being gay is nothing different from being left-handed. Under duress, a left-handed can write with his/her right hand, just like under duress a gay can pretend to be heterosexual. But the left-handed will still be left-handed and the gay will still be gay, and both will be unhappy. Why exert a duress which achieves nothing ? Because some people are dumber than dumb and others are just plain mean.

Being born as a member of a human minority does not mean being any less human than the members of the majority. Nor any less deserving of motherly love.

You were born to this woman and she never treated you as a beloved child. I know it hurts. Horribly. But know this : you don't have to love her any more. You don't have to think of her as your mother any more.

You did your "job" as a child - you did love her no matter what. You still do, it shows. You're NOT to blame.

She did not do her "job" as a parent. She should have loved you no matter what. She did not. SHE is to blame.

And I'm a parent now, so I can tell you this : no adult has any business having children if they're not damn sure they will love them, be they born with disfiguring disabilities or be they born a sweet lovely baby, like YOU were (just look at you).

Being a parent is all about accepting your child, and loving your child no matter what. From the second they're born, all babies love their parents, unconditionally, and keep on loving them, even when they're ill-treated by them. Parents who can't give that love back, they're not parents.

Children are due parental love. They don't have to earn parental love. Parental love is a parental duty, entirely. When children become adults, they keep on loving their parents, or they don't : that's how parents can know whether they've been good enough parents or no. When parents don't behave as parents, they are NOT due filial love. You owe nothing to your mother, after how she's treated you.

You're not responsible of your mother being a BAD person. She is.

Nobody but you can decide whether she still is your mother or not. You can decide she's not your mother anymore; from my point of view, she never was. She's just that woman who, by giving you life, should have been your mother - but she CHOSE not to. What you've endured is not your choice, not your fault - it's hers, and hers only.

You did no wrong. She did. And instead of feeling guilty, and become a real mother, she heaped HER guilt on you, and she made you feel shame for HER horrible behaviour. Just like all abusers do.

You need a therapist to help you, but let me tell you this : you're not insane, you're reacting in a totally healthy way. Your dreams are here to tell you what your brain knows deep inside : she didn't want you as her child. Most probably, several times she did want to have you *not there*, and a part of your brain picked up the signals - and your brain can remember conciously, now that you are in a safe place, and your brain is showing you all those nightmares to warn you off her, forever.

Your brain is quite right. She's always behaved as a danger to you, and there's no reason she'll ever stop - so obey your brain warnings, stay away from her. Because it's SHE who has an abnormal brain, not you.

And you don't have to do what her abnormal brain dictated, that is, to stop being there, to stop being alive. Ask a trusted adult to find a way to attenuate the suicidal thoughts out of you (maybe medication, maybe something else) - but know that they are normal, considering what you've been through. Know that they will go away somehow. Hang on.

You're out of her reach now, good for you. Stay that way. A good thing would be to decide to accept yourself as you are. Accept your dreams just like you would accept a scar - that fades away but never totally disappears. Your dreams, your flashbacks will still be around in some years but there will be a lot less of them and they won't hurt so much, I promise. You will heal. You will still remember everything - but not everyday, not every hour.

Please do for yourself what she criminaly didn't do for you : learn to love yourself. You are lovable. You'll have a great life. You'll be nothing like her. You'll be all right. Seeing a therapist will make this happen faster, but anyway it will happen. It did for me.

And if you ever need a place to stay in France, near Paris - have your responsible adult reach to me. In my youth I was an exchange student in Austin, Texas. Living with the family there made a very positive change in my life. I'd love to give back, in any way. Think about it.

(*) comparison courtesy of my 9-year-old left-handed daughter. I'm so proud of her.
Posted by sissoucat on February 17, 2013 at 9:39 AM · Report this
Banjax 34
Austin, so glad you found us.
Speaking as the mom of a middle school boy: the problem is not you. I'm sorry your mom is damaged, and has hurt you. You may have to accept that you can never fix her. That's heartbreaking for you. Kids' love and need for their parents is powerful and inborn.
In time, you're going to develop a wisdom and maturity that she'll likely never have. You'll also understand love in a way she's incapable of.
Sometimes kids raise their parents into adulthood. Don't count on it, though :(
FYI, here in Seattle there are many kids in my son's class raised by gay parents. It's not unusual or remarkable. The whole world is NOT like your small town.
Do get help. Your damaged mom hurt you, and it's hard to understand and heal yourself without a therapist who "gets" you. (Therapists are not unusual or remarkable in Seattle either!)
My love goes out to you, kid. I'd be your safe house in a minute. :)
Posted by Banjax on February 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM · Report this

Austin, I am the sister of a person who attempted suicide when she was 15, due in large part to extensive bullying and feeling 'different', but also due to my mother and brother not supporting her during the bullying, and in fact, accusing her of making it up - ie emotional abuse. My brother also physically abused my sister, and my mother did little to stop it. It was an incredibly toxic atmosphere to say the least.

So may I please beg you very sincerely not to do anything to harm yourself or end your life. Because: Aside from doing so being a triumph for shittiness and evil, it's a fucking lousy, miserable WASTE - such a raw deal for YOU, to permanently shut the door before you know what's around the corner. Your mother - who sounds like a horrendous failure as a mother and a human being - didn't give you a chance, or a break, which is why YOU HAVE TO GIVE YOURSELF ONE. Seriously! SO many people who have abusive upbringings are so often the people who end up living amazing, kickass lives (my sister included) that the rest of us are jealous of - total fact.

Just know, there are SO many of us out here, pulling for kids like you. We really, truly are. And maybe a small part of that is selfishness, because one of the things you learn as you grow is that it's the people like you, who have a combination of uncommon and awesome qualities - bright, articulate, interesting, sensitive, ballsy - (all of which is obvious from your video) - that make life on this planet worth living. Seriously. You are exactly the type of person that smart, kickass people - especially when you get out of high school - are going to want to hang out with. All of those qualities are loser-deterrents.

Anyway, I'm not as well spoken as you, or as some people on here, so I'm sorry if any of this comes off sounding like a greeting card or a cliche but ... stay strong. Counseling helped my sister - the right counselor - you sometimes have to shop around to find somebody you click with - deal with the stress and the anger and the low self esteem, so if you have the ability to try it, it might be worth a shot. Just remember, we really, genuinely do care, and we really are all pulling for you. (And if it would help at all to reach out further, here's my personal email:

- Marguerite
Posted by Velvetbabe on February 17, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this

I made a thank you video for all of you!
Posted by austingates on February 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this

HOORAY! What a beautiful video! Austin, you made all of our days!

Posted by Velvetbabe on February 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
Come to Seattle, sweetheart, we've got plenty of space for you. Hugs from yet ANOTHER middle aged mom. And don't worry about "exploiting", you deserve every good thing coming your way.
Posted by jt on February 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 39
Oh, Austin! The difference between your previous video and the "thank you" one is amazing. I'm so glad that all these wonderful strangers (or, on this site ... "Strangers") made you feel welcome. And how delightful to see your eyes not hidden by sadness and shadows.

I'm an old lady though, because of how things were for me at home, I still say "I'm not growing up until I've had a happy childhood!" Eh, I'm getting there.

I also wanted to tell you what I think is one principle that parents forget. Oh, sure, they all believe "Honour your father and mother" is SO important, but do they not understand that "Honour every child" is equally necessary for a healthy parent-child relationship? Children have a right to BE themselves; they're not put on this earth to be miniatures of their parents or mindless dress-up dolls or robots that can be programmed.

You've taken a huge step in changing your future by rejecting the narrow-minded path your mother had chosen for you. It may not be easy - but it IS getting better and you will find many people who are willing to help you along the way.

P.S. Your hat put a big smile on my face!
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on February 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Posted by Jeff65 on February 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Posted by Jeff65 on February 17, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Mr Gates - And thank you so much for your video of thanks. You have given many of us a brighter Sunday. I hope you won't hesitate to come here the next time you need a lift. Many of us know your need firsthand, as you likely will in the future when you recognize someone else's undeserved pain.

This is very much Mr Savage at his best. I hope we all get to see you at your best some day.
Posted by vennominon on February 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
despicable me 43
So glad you are hanging in there, Austin. Things really do get better and not everyone in your life is going to be a jerk. You can trust us when we tell you this, many of us had similar expierences growing up. You never have to worry about making us proud, you already have by just being yourself.

All my best wishes to you, kiddo. Stay strong, believe and take good care of yourself. Cause there is no one alive who is youer than you. No one.
Posted by despicable me on February 17, 2013 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Mango_Kitten 44
Austin, watching your two videos, I see a sweet, gentle, sensitive boy with so much strength. The little boy you describe yourself to be - playing with Barbies and girls - sounds just like me. While I didn't get beaten, ever, for it, I did get the message that I was wrong and damaged. I just never believed them. And I don't think you believe those messages either. I hope you find the love you missed as a child. You seem to have a lot of compassion and the capacity to give lots of love, so I see lots of love coming back to you. That's what I hope for you.
Posted by Mango_Kitten on February 18, 2013 at 6:35 AM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy