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Old April 4th, 2011, 01:08 PM   #1
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posted Friday, April 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 13Family Acceptance Project explores acceptance in Always My Son
Section One

ALL STORIES
Family Acceptance Project explores acceptance in Always My Sonby Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor



Part two of a two-part series exploring the link between a healthy family acceptance of LGBT children and preventing homelessness and suicide. For part one, visit http://sgn.org/sgnnews39_12/.



Can a father accept his Gay son? What does it take to change the heart and mind of a mother who would rather kick her Lesbian daughter out of the house than love her? Through a very ambitious video project by the California-based Family Acceptance Project (FAP), some of these questions are being answered. Intervention and education are key.



Helping diverse families understand how to support their LGBT children takes resources that touch the heart - like a sample video found on the FAP website, www.familyproject.sfsu.edu. FAP is working to produce a series of eight short documentary videos that show the journey from struggle to support of ethnically and religiously diverse families with LGBT children.



The videos are based on years of research and relationships with diverse LGBT youth and their families.



The current video - and the others they plan to make - includes some of the family accepting and rejecting behaviors that FAP has studied.



'Our research shows for the first time how these family accepting and rejecting behaviors affect an LGBT young person's health and mental health, including risk for suicide, substance abuse, HIV, self-esteem, etc.,' say FAP officials. 'These attitudes and behaviors also affect the whole family.'



The 15-minute Always My Son video follows the lives of a family that resides in Modesto, California, and their struggle to understand and accept their Gay son. In the LGBT anti-bullying/suicide movement, the Plata family are about as much of a success story as you can find.



Ed Plata, a former Marine, realized that his son E.J. was Gay when he began to play with a Little Mermaid Barbie as a child. While Elizabeth Plata was more accepting, she never spoke with her son about his sexuality. The silence made E.J. not accept himself and he began to fall in with the bad crowd and hate school. He became depressed and isolated from the eighth grade on. When E.J. finally came out as Gay to his family, Elizabeth and Ed knew they had to reach out and find out how to best deal with their son's homosexuality in order to stop the downward spiral that E.J. was falling into. They thought they might lose their son to suicide.



That is when the Plata family met Caitlin Ryan and enrolled in the Family Acceptance Project. The family dynamic changed forever. The help and education the Platas received propelled them to start The PLACE: People Learning Acceptance Creating Equality in Modesto. The PLACE is a safe space for LGBT and questioning youth ages 14-20. The group holds a meeting every second and fourth Thursday where Gay kids and their families come together to support each other.



To watch Always My Son, go to www.familyproject.sfsu.edu/family-videos.



'We use these videos in our work to educate and support diverse families with LGBT children,' say FAP officials. 'We also use them to train health and mental health providers and to help providers understand the critical role of families in supporting their LGBT children.'



'These stories of transformation, hope, and love show how very diverse families integrate deeply held religious and personal values with love for their LGBT children,' said FAP leaders.



There are a number of ways the organization plans to distribute the videos: online distribution to reach families and LGBT youth to decrease isolation, give them hope, and briefly show the process that helps families grow and learn to support their LGBT children; DVDs for school counselors, social workers, nurses, pediatricians, clergy, and family service workers to use in education and counseling with LGBT youth and with families; training in medical schools, nursing, social work, psychology, and other professional training programs to help providers understand the journey to family acceptance and how specific family attitudes and behaviors affect their LGBT children's health and mental health; and educating the general public to humanize the lives of ethnically and religiously diverse LGBT young people and their families.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 01:20 PM   #2
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Yes, I have heard of this family before. They are incredibly courageous to bring their story into the light for other families who might be struggling. My Mother helped several of her friends come to term with their gay children after I came out. She took the initiative to educate herself and spread the word of love and acceptance. These people will help other families and other gay youth. California has always been on the front lines in the fight for equality and acceptance. I think that was the big shocker with prop H8....so many of us who support marriage equality never thought it would pass, and it was trailing by huge margins....until the opposition went on their campaign of lies and hatred and ultimately through fear, they won. Informal polls indicate that today, it would never pass.



I love living here in California, and in spite of prop H8, I believe we are still the pioneers in many ways for gay rights in this country.





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Old April 6th, 2011, 05:56 PM   #3
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Yes, I have heard of this family before. They are incredibly courageous to bring their story into the light for other families who might be struggling. My Mother helped several of her friends come to term with their gay children after I came out. She took the initiative to educate herself and spread the word of love and acceptance. These people will help other families and other gay youth. California has always been on the front lines in the fight for equality and acceptance. I think that was the big shocker with prop H8....so many of us who support marriage equality never thought it would pass, and it was trailing by huge margins....until the opposition went on their campaign of lies and hatred and ultimately through fear, they won. Informal polls indicate that today, it would never pass.



I love living here in California, and in spite of prop H8, I believe we are still the pioneers in many ways for gay rights in this country.







California is a pioneer in many ways. It is one of the most liberal states. Which is why I was so shocked that not long after gay marriages were legalized, they were banned. Its an on-and-off relationship over there.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 06:02 PM   #4
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Another gay marriage thread?



What a surprise
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Old April 6th, 2011, 08:57 PM   #5
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[quote name='PaperAlchemist' timestamp='1302141366' post='328325']

California is a pioneer in many ways. It is one of the most liberal states. Which is why I was so shocked that not long after gay marriages were legalized, they were banned. Its an on-and-off relationship over there.



*** What a waste of time, effort and good church money to try and fool the system into thinking that they had actually over-ridden the 14th Amendment.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #6
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I personally have told my gay son that i will always love him, and he is always welcome in my home, and he can invite any friends over that he wants to invite. But I have also told him that I am not going to ignore that fact that the Bible teaches that certain sexual activities are wrong. Sex before marriage is wrong, and sex with someone other than your spouse is wrong, and sex with someone of the same gender is wrong. If one of my girls were to have premarital sex, i would still love that girl even though I would consider her behavior to be a mistake. I still love my son even though I do not agree with his behaviors.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 10:29 PM   #7
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I personally have told my gay son that i will always love him, and he is always welcome in my home, and he can invite any friends over that he wants to invite. But I have also told him that I am not going to ignore that fact that the Bible teaches that certain sexual activities are wrong. Sex before marriage is wrong, and sex with someone other than your spouse is wrong, and sex with someone of the same gender is wrong. If one of my girls were to have premarital sex, i would still love that girl even though I would consider her behavior to be a mistake. I still love my son even though I do not agree with his behaviors.
Good luck with that. Sounds like you're well on your way to alienating and estranging your son.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #8
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Good luck with that. Sounds like you're well on your way to alienating and estranging your son.




Not necessarily. It's the role of parents to mentor and guide their children, not give in to their every whim.



Intelligent children listen to the wisdom of their parents, to avoid the kind of tragedy that happened to the family in this video:




[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw9sKC7yZpE[/media]
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Old April 6th, 2011, 10:52 PM   #9
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I still love my son even though I do not agree with his behaviors.



*** I hope that your son will still love you, although he may not agree with your behaviours.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 07:38 AM   #10
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I personally have told my gay son that i will always love him, and he is always welcome in my home, and he can invite any friends over that he wants to invite. But I have also told him that I am not going to ignore that fact that the Bible teaches that certain sexual activities are wrong. Sex before marriage is wrong, and sex with someone other than your spouse is wrong, and sex with someone of the same gender is wrong. If one of my girls were to have premarital sex, i would still love that girl even though I would consider her behavior to be a mistake. I still love my son even though I do not agree with his behaviors.


When I came out, my mother told me, it doesn't matter. Gay, straight, bi. I am still her son, and she loves me. The sexual orientation does not matter. I am still a good, caring, compassionate and sympathetic person. I still help those that need help, I help her around the house, and cook and clean, and whenever she goes out, I go with her, to the doctor, to the store, everywhere. Because she doesn't like to be alone. No matter what my preferred partner's gender is, she is my mother, I am her son, and she will love me from the very bottom of her heart. That is what a real parent does, they love their child no matter their sexual orientation.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 07:57 AM   #11
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When I came out, my mother told me, it doesn't matter. Gay, straight, bi. I am still her son, and she loves me. The sexual orientation does not matter. I am still a good, caring, compassionate and sympathetic person. I still help those that need help, I help her around the house, and cook and clean, and whenever she goes out, I go with her, to the doctor, to the store, everywhere. Because she doesn't like to be alone. No matter what my preferred partner's gender is, she is my mother, I am her son, and she will love me from the very bottom of her heart. That is what a real parent does, they love their parent no matter their sexual orientation.




Watch the clip in #8, those parents continued to love their son until the day he died of AIDS.



Jeffrey Dahmer's parents loved him until the day he was murdered in prison.



Unconditional love for a child no matter what they do doesn't exclude trying to rectify their wayward behaviour. Nor does it prevent a parent's broken heart
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #12
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Watch the clip in #8, those parents continued to love their son until the day he died of AIDS.



Jeffrey Dahmer's parents loved him until the day he was murdered in prison.



Unconditional love for a child no matter what they do doesn't exclude trying to rectify their wayward behaviour. Nor does it prevent a parent's broken heart


I would think they were more broken hearted over the fact that he died, over than the fact that he was gay. It takes a person full of hate, to really say "Oh well they aren't mourning their son's death, their mourning his sexual orientation."



Would they react the same way if he had been straight and died of AIDS? Would you say the same thing then? Would you say "Oh well he had wayward behavior, he slept with the wrong person and he got AIDS and died." Bullshit.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:19 AM   #13
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I still love my son even though I do not agree with his behaviors.



*** I hope that your son will still love you, although he may not agree with your behaviours.
Exactly. Unconditional love covers a whole lot of disagreements.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #14
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I would think they were more broken hearted over the fact that he died, over than the fact that he was gay. It takes a person full of hate, to really say "Oh well they aren't mourning their son's death, their mourning his sexual orientation."



Would they react the same way if he had been straight and died of AIDS? Would you say the same thing then? Would you say "Oh well he had wayward behavior, he slept with the wrong person and he got AIDS and died." Bullshit.




You're overlooking the heartache he put his parents through by pursuing a gay lifestyle.



Doesn't love work in both directions or is it up to the parents to change?
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Old April 7th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #15
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Exactly. Unconditional love covers a whole lot of disagreements.




*** That it does, and I think it makes us sit up and see things from the correct perspective as we let the ignorant perspective expose itself for what it is, and fade away.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #16
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Good luck with that. Sounds like you're well on your way to alienating and estranging your son.


Why? Parents have lectured their kids about premarital sex being a sin for years, without an estrangement. That's what parents do. "I love my son but I'm going to tell him I think homosexuality is wrong" is not markedly different than parents telling their children that "shacking up is wrong."
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Old April 7th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #17
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Alienation is bad no matter which parent is doing it to whatever sexual orientation her kid might be. It is just another bad parenting technique. It screws people up either way.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:11 PM   #18
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There is a difference between alienation and expressing disapproval. I don't know of anyone who had parents who did not disapprove of things that they did - premarital sex and cohabitation being a fairly common one.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:38 PM   #19
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There is a difference between alienation and expressing disapproval. I don't know of anyone who had parents who did not disapprove of things that they did - premarital sex and cohabitation being a fairly common one.


Disapproving of a behavior is one thing, disapproving of your child's sexual orientation is quite another. I can tell you I would have felt alienated if my parents had said I love you but disapprove of WHO you are. The child of this person may never now feel comfortable bringing his partner home to meet the family. He may decide to spend holidays and birthdays and special occasions with his partner's family if they are more accepting. I agree with the statement that this could drive the son away, it would have driven me away. Kids need to feel loved by their parents, but also accepted without that disapproval lurking in the background.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:39 PM   #20
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*** That it does, and I think it makes us sit up and see things from the correct perspective as we let the ignorant perspective expose itself for what it is, and fade away.
Well, i can only hope that my son will eventually see things from the correct, Biblical perspective. Putting pressure on him certainly isn't going to make that happen.
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