A film project
by B.T. Harman
August 21st, 2011, was the scariest day of my life. And there’s not a close second…
On that day, I showed up on the doorstep of a house in Fisherville, Kentucky—a 7-hour drive from my home in Atlanta. It was my mom’s house, and she wasn’t expecting me.
I was a 29-year old man that day, but I felt like a kitten on a freeway. I lifted a shaky fist to knock. The door opened.
“I need to talk to you about something,” I said nervously.
On a mission, I pushed past her and walked through the kitchen and into the den, grabbing a chair from the kitchen table. I positioned the chair in the middle of the living room, facing her big tan couch. Looking very worried, mom took her seat.
I wasted no time…
“I came here today to tell you guys something: I . . . I deal with same-sex attraction.” That was the Christian-y way of telling my mom I was gay.
In that moment, everything about my relationship with my mom changed. And nothing changed at all.
Coming out is always a hard conversation, but coming out to your parents may be the toughest.
I told this whole story in Episode 29 of Blue Babies Pink, my “Southern Coming Out Story in 44 Episodes.” It’s my personal story of growing up in the American south with a Southern Baptist pastor for a dad and a big secret to hide. To date, over 100,000 people have either read my story or listened to the podcast version of it.
While this conversation is incredibly tough for us LGBTQ folks, it’s pretty tough on our parents as well.
It’s often an ambush, which means parents don’t have time to prepare or think through their response. And there are no do-overs. Parents get exactly one time to be invited into that inaugural, sacred moment that will, undoubtedly, change everything.
The purpose of the Lifeboats film is really simple: To prepare parents to lavishly love their children during and after a coming out conversation.
I hope for a world where there are no more kids in lifeboats—where kids don’t feel the need to hide. But until then, we’ll keep talking about God’s “little lost sailors,” and encouraging parents to love them, even if…
They don’t understand it.
They don’t agree with it.
They feel angry, upset, betrayed, or worried.
They want to change it.
Parents get one chance to get this conversation right. They can either respond with overwhelming love or spend the rest of their lives wishing they had.
No matter how old I get, I’ll still need the love of my mom and dad. I still need to be reminded. And I bet your kid does too.
Dear parent, you don’t really know me, and we’ll likely never meet. But I’m for you. I’m pulling for you.
And if you enjoyed the film, please consider sharing it. Thanks.
Creator of Blue Babies Pink & the Lifeboats Film
P.S. — I’d also like to invite you to check out Harbor, the online support program for Christian parents of LGBTQ kids.