Now Who's Coming to Dinner? Pastoral Care for Family and Friends of Gay and Lesbian People

David K. Switzer

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 7/1/1994

Issue: Sexual Orientation (Vol. 14, No 3, Summer, 1994)

We sit down together for lunch or dinner without realizing there is a stranger in our midst, one of our own family whom we do not know. But when it is out, and it is coming out more and more often (“I’m gay”; “I’m lesbian”), the reaction of families, close friends, close colleagues at work, and members of a congregation are many and complex. It is as if they do not know the person any longer. What has happened? In order to try to break through the confusion and conflicting feelings, some people seek the help of a pastor, though frequently not the pastor of their own congregation. Many others would like to talk with a pastor, but do not. They are drawn to a pastor because here should be a source of help, but they are also ashamed and afraid. Nevertheless, in their confusion and desperation some do come, or pastors discover their situation and offer themselves to them. The pastoral response to such persons is the focus of this article.

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