Grieving parents challenge their Christian church over the loss of their gay child.

The loss of a child is one of the deepest pains a parent should ever have to endure—especially if they felt they could’ve done something to prevent it.

Unfortunately, this is what happened to Rob and Linda Robertson and what eventually drove them to take a stand against their own Christian faith over the loss of their gay son Ryan.

They struggled terribly with his homosexuality and so his parents believed they were being good Catholics by enlisting their 12-year-old son in “reparative therapy” for 6 years.

Reparative therapy is a type of therapy used to try and transform or ‘convert’ a gay person into straight-through unconventional and unorthodox methods that are not approved or sanctioned by any accredited psychological associations, and are often run by unlicensed individuals and clergy members.

In fact, studies have shown that it is not only an ineffective treatment but extremely dangerous and abusive; with those who engaged showing 6x more depression and 8x more suicide attempts than any other lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) individuals who lived their lives openly.

We were taught as Catholic students that if we were faced with a difficult situation or dilemma we should always ask ourselves “What would Jesus do?” We were also taught to “do unto others as you would want to be done to you”—and not to pass judgment on people, but to be unselfish and help all those in need.

By the Catholic Church blatantly rejecting homosexuals they are contradicting the very scriptures that they preach. And thus, creating broken families filled with confusion, resentment, guilt—and, as the Robertsons have sadly experienced, such a terrible loss filled with deep remorse.

They have to live with the fact that their own personal rejection of their son and his sexuality, because of their strong religious beliefs, caused so much turmoil in Ryan’s life that he became a drug addict and eventually overdosed. Their young, handsome and healthy son that had his whole life ahead of him was now gone. Not only did it leave them with such enormous grief–but also with extreme anguish and guilt for not providing him with the help and support he truly needed and deserved that could’ve potentially saved his life.

This indescribable pain of losing Ryan had fueled their strong passion for change within their Christian Evangelist Church and fortified their very brave decision to fight the centuries-old dogmas and contradictions. The conservative Catholic’s negative interpretations are creating the exact opposite of what the Bible was truly meant to achieve—a peaceful, loving and harmonious world.

The film For the Bible Tells Me So (Netflix) is a very powerful and heart-wrenching documentary of other tragic stories of parents like the Robertsons whose religious choices to reject their gay children lead to their children’s deep depressions and untimely deaths—many through suicide. I ask this question of all parents struggling to accept their gay child: Is anything worth losing them? The best answer I ever received was from a mother of a transgender child (female-to-male) and she simply said, “I would rather have a happy son that’s alive than a miserable daughter that is dead.”

As a gay parent and evolved Catholic I applaud the Robertsons for trying to turn their terrible tragedy into something positive to help others and challenging their church to become more accepting of the LGBT community. Their hopes are to help bridge the gap between struggling families of faith by helping them feel that they do not have to choose between the two most important things in their life—their family and their faith—but can, in fact, enjoy them both.

The Robertson’s decision to not abandon their faith is very admirable, instead, they chose to hold on to it even stronger and try to make their religion better by educating and enlightening people in the hopes of sparing them the same pain that they had endured. Linda Roberston tries to inspire others in her blog at with hundreds of members, as well as connecting with other LGBT parents through faith-oriented organizations like The Gay Christian Network, The Reformation Project and The Marin Foundation.

There should only be one answer to those confused Catholic parents of LGBT children who ask themselves “What would Jesus do?” The answer is simple: love and accepts your child for the special miracles that they are–and also love your faith for giving you the strength, courage and wisdom to understand it. Then go on and be happy and share your beautiful life and faith together as a loving and supportive family. Confused parents and struggling gay children should stay positive by seeking education and counselling, and reach out to organizations like the Long Island GLBT services network @ or their local crisis centres for extra support.

Robertson’s powerful message is clear—a parent can love and enjoy both their child and faith without enduring the emotional turmoil, pain and guilt of having to choose between them any longer. And maybe even a precious child’s life will be saved–as well as grief that no family should ever have to face. A parent should never give up on their LGBT child, and always believe that there is indeed a beautiful rainbow to embrace after the rain subsides.

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