Commentary

A gay dad’s letter to Michelle Duggar

Michelle Duggar with eldest son Josh.
Michelle Duggar with eldest son Josh.

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… I have only two kids. They are the center of my universe, and even with only two, I cherish all the time we are able to be together, and regret that I increase its volume tenfold. I am eager to delve into who they are, their thoughts , insights, desires and experiences. To do that , I need to be with them, watch them, communicate with them as well as their teachers and helpers. I know that the time and focus I give them would not be possible to multiply out over seventeen additional children, especially if I were in a constant state of pregnancy.

I don’t doubt you have not done super human things, but to do what I am suggesting would require a metaphysical metamorphosis greatly expanding the being in many places at once concept.

This ability to keep closer tabs on my kids makes me feel that, should someone do something inappropriate to them, that I would have a greater chance to have a sense of that immediately.

I raise my boys with a strong standard of morality, however, I watch to make sure it is not oppressive and stifling. I know that extremes can produce the opposite result to what I intend. I also sense that the shaming of sexual feelings and the suppression of those feelings may inspire the acting out through molestation. I would think there was a connection between what your family has experienced and the Catholic Church scandal over the last decades.

In short, I know as well as you that diving into parenthood in whatever way is a crap shoot. There is no easy path to what is the exact right methodology, because all kids are different and truly need different things. We as parents develop our ideals and standards and hope to God that we are right about them. The truth is, sometimes we will be and others we won’t.

When we are wrong, we need to admit it. When our kids stumble, it is too easy to just surmise that they developed a flaw from some outside unrelated source. No, chances are, it was us, acting through an ideal we thought necessary but that in fact brought about an unforeseen consequence.

I am sure I will be admitting some of those when my kids become adults. I am equally sure that none of those will be because of my physical features, just as none of your physical attributes led Josh to do what he did.

I think it is time for you to do a similar reassessment now. There is deep healing needed within your family, and that will not be achieved until more accurate aspects of family life are acknowledged and addressed. You have stated that you are “not a perfect family.” None of us are, and that admission is not enough.

Outward attacks on others, my family included, need to be examined and retracted. There are things that we all can learn from others in diverse family situations that differ from our own. I can take notes from you on family schedule structure and organization, and I think there are things you could learn from me as a parent.

When you are campaigned against us, created falsehoods and demonized our genders and our families, you weren’t listening.

If you were able to take this moment to grow deeper insight and take this horror as a time to reflect, I believe it would lead you to say the words that have not been articulated in this discussion. They are the word the people you have held yourself superior to, that you have lectured and that you have tried to oppress, need to hear. The words you need to say are these:

“I’m sorry.”

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