Orthodoxy in Dialogue has been asked to publish the following letter anonymously for the protection of the young recipient.  It was emailed by Orthodox grandparents to their gay Orthodox grandson, a boy in his early teens who only recently began the process of coming out, as he departs for church camp. The authors—and also the grandson, who has given his consent—hope that other young Orthodox people who identify as LGBTQ will feel encouraged by this demonstration of love, acceptance, and affirmation.

[Photo Removed by Demand of the OCA’s General Counsel]

Photo credit: Orthodox Church in America

We want to say a couple of things before you go to church camp.

The older you are, the greater the likelihood that LGBTQ stuff will be addressed at church camps. We don’t mean just in conversation with your peers, but more formally by the priests and other adults running the camp.

Never, ever forget that, if we who are sinful love you so much, not “anyway” but exactly as you are, for who and what you are, how much more infinitely and perfectly does God love you.

Anyone who tries to make you feel otherwise is a liar for whom “God” has been reduced to a lifeless ideology instead of an experience of divine love at the deepest level of the human soul.

Whether you decide to come out to church people or not, we’re behind you and whatever decision you make 1,000,000%.

God only knows who’s going to be speaking or teaching or preaching or priesting at camp.  If you reach the point of not wanting to be there anymore, contact your parents to bring you home immediately. 

Also, if you choose not to come out at camp, but it’s relevant to mention this, you may absolutely tell people about the other openly LGBTQ members of our family, whom we all love so much.

God bless and strengthen you, and keep you in His love.

With all our love forever,

Grandma and Grandpa

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