It's a question I've pondered many times.
Diana recently commented on my post about Transamerica and said:
I know families that are like that [the family in the film] from the support group I go to, the parents just don’t understand, but will support their child no matter what. But unfortunately, I also know some parents who have never spoken to their child again.
Drew, at This Gay Christian's Blog, writes about this experience he observed:
"When my Beau came out to his parents, they paraded the fact in front of every family member; forcing him out of the closet with a hot firebrand rather than letting him tell his story appropriately and timely. It set off a three week marathon of every family member coming over to tell him how selfish and wrong and cruel he was being and that he was going to hell.
I know other people who have been completely cut off by their parents (mostly good, Christian parents), merely because they came out to them. I remember one guy on gaychristian.net writing that unlike the stereotypes furthered by ex-gay ministries, he'd had a great relationship with his dad, until he came out. Now his parents won't communicate with him except to send him sermons or Bible verses.
Some people I know have endured so much abuse from their parents that it becomes a matter of emotional survival to remove themselves from their families and move on.
And yet for many of us, the verses "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long..." are tattooed on our brains. In Leviticus, I think there are more death penalty warnings for cursing your parents than there are for homosexual sex.
It seems many Christian parents think being honored and obeyed is a right they have. A Biblical mandate. I can't remember how many times I heard my parents recite "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother'--which is the first commandment with a promise--'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'" from Ephesians 6. Of course, the only problem with quoting scriptures to your kids is eventually they might start quoting back the verses that follow them up - such as, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
You would think my parents would have been proud of my Bible recitation skills (and usually they were, just not with Ephesians 6). In fairness, I did get my Dad to laugh a couple times with being able to one-up him with scripture.
Anyway, in pondering this, I realize the commands about honoring parents sure made sense in ancient times. Then it was important to ensure that communities stayed together. The bonds of family were often the means for its survival. But that's not how things operate in the here and now. Babies have babies, parents abandon and abuse their kids, or dump them because they don't meet some standard of heterosexuality or "normal" gender expression. Kids are kicked out and adult children are shunned or shamed for something they can't change. Children and their parents end up on opposite sides of a culture war and parents often put what they believe and what others will think of them before their feelings for their own children. Some parents behave in horrible and dishonorable ways.
I am sure that like many parents of glbt folks (especially those from Evangelical/Fundamental Christian circles), my parents do not see me as especially honoring, and certainly not obedient. And if I were to honor them in the way that they wanted, I would be trying to live as a very unhappy ex-gay right now, desperately hiding my true orientation from the world. Living a lie and dying inside every day. Quite honestly, I probably wouldn't be alive right now. How is that honoring to them?
My parents are the ones who taught me to always tell the truth. And now I am telling the truth about my life. Being truthful. Living with authenticity. Extending love and courtesy toward those I disagree with (yes, even those in ex-gay circles).
My parents raised me this way. They raised me to be honest. They were the ones that raised me to forgive my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. They taught me to stand up for what I believe, even if it was unpopular. Maybe living with truth and integrity is the only way I can truly honor them, even if I can't give them what they want.