ORLANDO — Susan's daughter never showed any signs of masculinity growing up but she is now identifying as a trans-identified man.
The concerned mother, who studies body language for a living, shared that her daughter drastically changed after being in an abusive relationship, which resulted in her becoming “more recluse, sad, and depressed."
"I reached out to my church, and I said, 'I need some help. I'm a Christian. My daughter thinks she's transgender. How do I deal with this? I need to know from you, I can't compromise my beliefs but yet I love my daughter but how do you love and not necessarily support something that she might do drastically to her body?'” Susan, who preferred to be identified by only her first name due to her profession in the media, told The Christian Post.
Unfortunately, the desperate mother received no consultation from the church she went to for help.
"You would think that I would have someone there as a support system, and I didn't get it. They just kind of looked at me with this blank stare and they just weren't prepared,” she said.
Susan went to Orlando earlier this month for the Freedom March. She wanted to link arms with other parents who have children in the LGBT community.
She had come across Freedom March founder Jeffrey McCall on Google after she was unable to find help at church. McCall pointed her to the ministry Fearless Identity, which was founded by Pulse survivors Luis Javier Ruiz and Angel Colon and helps churches effectively share the love of Jesus with the LGBT community and, in turn, brings about change.
Susan, who now calls herself a “fearless mom,” has committed to pray for her daughter and join in solidarity with other moms and dads who are going through the same thing. At Freedom March Orlando, she was a part of the praying moms and dads tent.
"We are moms and dads praying for moms and dads with children or loved ones that are still in the [LGBT] community, that are trapped in the community, that are suffering,” she explained. “Moms and dads suffer just as much as our kids are suffering. They're just broken, they feel hopeless. Then who better to join forces than with other grieving, hurting moms and we are supporting each other because there's so many parents out there that they don't know where to turn.”
Another mother present at Freedom March Orlando was Mirta Nieves, mother of Pulse survivor Angel Colon. Colon was shot several times at the Orlando gay nightclub during the 2016 mass shooting and has since left homosexuality and started the ministry Fearless Identity with another Pulse survivor.
“I was praying eight years and I never lost faith. I was on my knees believing [that] one day the miracle would happen. I told God I don't know how or when but I know you're going to do it,” Nieves told CP, describing what she did while her son was away from the Lord.
It would be the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people that changed her son's life.
“What happened to Angel was something that hurt me. I remained firm, believing in the promises of God,” she said.
She offered some advice to other parents still praying for a miracle.
"I'll tell you, mothers, don't give up, don't faint, keep the faith in the promises of the Lord. The Lord says 'I and my house will serve the Lord’ and that is the promise. Mothers and fathers, keep believing, stay firm in the promises of the Lord and God will do it in His perfect time. Everything has a time, everything has its hour and God knows when's the right time,” she said.
"With my heart, I ask you to love your children. You are the only person that will never give them your back, don't do it. I never did it to Angel. On the other hand, I told him 'I love you' even more. Keep praying for your children and waiting for the miracle.”
Moms weren't the only ones present at the event. Father of Freedom March founder Jeffrey McCall, Jeff also shared what it was like for him as a praying dad when his son was depressed and suicidal as a transgender prostitute.
"The one thing that I always did that I think helped both of my sons out of sin, one out of homosexuality and the other was a drug dealer, was that I never accepted, or I never said anything that was not true [about them],” Jeff revealed.
“One night, he said, 'I'm a homosexual prostitute.' And I said, 'No, that's what you're doing. That is not who you are. You are doing, that I understand, but that is not who you are and that's not who you're going to be.'”
The concerned father said his children might have strayed away and gone into the world for a time but he refused to believe that those things negated their true identities in God.
“I spoke that to both of my sons, all the times they strayed and went into the world. That's the way I always talk to them and I believe that's why they're both here and living for God and both are in full-time ministry," he testified.
Jeff had one final piece of advice for parents trusting God to deliver their children from homosexuality: “Never compromise!”
The first Freedom March was held in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2018. The group of "overcomers" behind it intend to continue to take the march nationwide and will be heading to Georgia in October and back to Washington in May 2020.
Each march is meant to offer testimonies of transformation in Christ and equip the Body of Christ on how to reach out to the LGBT community. It also offers a safe place for those in the LGBT community to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.