From the day your child is born, you begin to harbor
As a verb, the word HARBOR means "give a home or shelter to."
It's instinct to provide a shelter. But it takes work and a lot of love to provide a home.
And no matter how old your kids get, you still want to give them a home.
You want to give them the best you've got.
You want them to want to come home.
And you want to welcome them in from the storms of life.
"It's like walking on eggshells"
One of the greatest storms a parent can face is a child coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
It often feels like an ambush—unexpected and devastating.
It's saying things you wish you'd never said.
It is the creeping grip of new fears and the death of old dreams.
And once the dust settles, it's learning to navigate a whole new world.
Misunderstanding settles into the cracks of the relationship and communication breaks down.
"It feels like we're walking on eggshells," becomes the new norm around the house.
And for people of faith, there are arguments about theology....
And fears the church might reject your child or that your child might reject the church.
Hi, I'm BT...
I wrote about growing up in the church and begging God to change me. I wrote about feeling like I didn't belong. I wrote about celibacy, loneliness, and anxiety. I wrote about coming out to my mom and a story about lifeboats.
In all, about 100,000 people read or listened to some part of Blue Babies Pink. And several thousand of them reached out personally over email or Facebook. Many of those messages turned in to conversations. And many of those conversations were with Christian parents of LGBT people.
I've had conversations with parents over coffee and dinner. I've spoken to groups of parents at churches.
I've met with small groups of moms and listened to them recount the moment their child came out to them. Some of them told me they always remember the date, a date that changed life as they knew it. Others told me the moment was so burned into their minds, they can remember what their child was wearing. I'll never forget what one dad told me...
In all these conversations, I noticed lots of recurring themes. I noticed so many families—in the fog of all the emotions—stumbling over the same challenges in communication.
I wanted to see if what I was hearing anecdotally was more widespread. So in late 2017, I created two questionnaires—one for LGBT folks and one for Christian parents of LGBT folks. More than 1,000 people completed it, and I spent several months analyzing the results. Here's a snapshot of what I discovered...
62% of parents reported the experience of their child coming out as VERY or EXTREMELY painful.
Worry and fear were the top two emotions experienced by parents after their child came out.
71% of parents worry about their kid's faith.
40% said they feel alone on the journey of parenting an LGBT child.
85% of parents said their church offers no support for parents of LGBT kids.
53% of parents do not feel comfortable talking to their pastor about their child's sexuality/gender.
Each family's story is very different, but I've learned the struggles they deal with are very, very similar. And so in 2017, I began researching, listening, planning, and creating. I immersed myself in the stories of LGBT folks and their Christian parents. I embedded myself in their challenges, concerns, and pain.
And then I decided to build something to support them. I decided to build the thing I wish my mom and I had many years ago when I came out to her.
I named it Harbor...
Harbor is an online support program for Christian parents of LGBT kids. It's designed to surround parents with the knowledge, resources, and support they need to draw them closer to their children.
There are three pieces to the program...
HARBOR IS DESIGNED FOR PARENTS WHO WANT TO...
☛ Better understand how their child feels.
☛ Reconcile past wrongs.
☛ Navigate tricky conversations with friends and family who don't (or refuse to) understand.
☛ Understand LGBT culture and the world their child lives (or will live) in.
☛ Love and support their child even if they hold to a traditional view of Christian sexuality.
☛ Learn to talk to their child about their story and establish a communication cadence.
☛ Learn what NOT to say in conversation with their child.
☛ Learn how to talk about God, theology, and church.
Enrollment currently closed
"We must fight for the relationships that mean the most to us."
Enrollment is only open for a limited time. The deadline to register has already passed. Be sure to sign up for updates to learn about the next enrollment.
ENROLLMENT CLOSES IN...
or keep reading for more details...
The Workshop is an online event recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, and hosted by B.T. Harman.
It will feature interviews with thought leaders, experts, and parents from around the country and will include training on how to better understand and connect with your LGBT child.
Participants can watch from their laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Harbor parents will receive online access to The Workshop via email.
HARBOR WORKSHOP 60-SECOND VIDEO TRAILER
What to Expect at the workshop...
☛ Eight different videos comprising 3 hours of video content—a mix of live training and professionally produced interviews.
☛ Insights from Susan Cottrell, mom of five and founder of FreedHearts.
☛ An interview with Amy Blakeslee, ministry leader who's been working with Christian parents of LGBT kids for years.
☛ An interview with Greg & Lynn McDonald, founders of Embracing the Journey.
☛ B.T. teaching the "8 Point G.U.T. Check."
☛ An interview between B.T. and his mom on how they've overcome relationship challenges and learned to love each other despite their theological differences.
☛ B.T. teaching "7 tips for Better Communication with your Child"
☛ B.T. teaching five tips on "How to Deal With Friends/Family Who Don't (or Won't) Understand"
☛ And more!
WHAT current harbor parents have said about the WORKSHOP...
"I watched the workshop that launched this site and wow! Thank you so much. I identified with the parents and realized it’s okay to not agree with everything my son shares, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a loving relationship. It also affirmed what God has been teaching me in my quiet time—love people. Just love people. My job is to love like Jesus."
"My husband and I enjoyed this workshop so much! We had many takeaways such as how important it is to choose love and extend grace, and how our daughter is not in our family by accident (YAY!) and that we can show her the love of Christ daily by continuing to give her a safe place. We feel like many of the themes mentioned tonight are such valuable life lessons on how to be more Christlike and gracious with others on their life journey too! We especially loved when B.T.’s mom encouraged us to lean into Christ and to continue to seek him in the midst of this so that we can be refined in the process! Such incredible wisdom and an important reminder that God has a plan for us (parents) too. Thanks so much, B.T.!"
"Thank you so much! I just listened to the workshop last week. I was so busy with holiday stuff and ongoing care of aging parents, and I wanted an uninterrupted block of time to listen to the whole thing at once. I absolutely loved it and am so happy to have the summaries, as there was so much helpful content. I will study them and share them with my husband. I have to say my favorite segment was the one with B.T.’s mom. She's adorable and it was as if she was reading my heart! Please thank her for me!"
Harbor Resources is a collection of original and curated content for Christian parents of LGBT kids.
This vault of insightful PDFs, audio files, & links is available exclusively to Harbor parents.
What to Expect with harbor resources...
☛ PDF Collection - Content Summary Sheets of all videos from the Workshop. Includes key points and quotes from each talk/interview.
☛ Audio versions of all videos from the Live Workshop. Allows you listen to each talk on your phone, in the car, and on the go.
☛ PDF & ebook version of Blue Babies Pink.
☛ PDF - 10-page "Grace Phrases" ebook which outlines eight phrases you can use to facilitate healthy conversation with your child.
☛ “Beyond 44” - A 75-page PDF where B.T. answers questions from readers and listeners of Blue Babies Pink.
☛ B.T.’s Resource Guide - A 20-page PDF that includes links to other expert content (books, blogs, podcasts, etc.) from around the web.
Harbor Community is a private online support group for Christian parents of LGBT kids.
Parents are able to share prayer, support, and resources in a community with other parents on the same journey.
This group is hosted privately through Facebook and is moderated by B.T. Harman and others in the Harbor Community.
What to Expect with harbor community...
☛ Members-only group hosted through Facebook for ease and convenience.
☛ Group is set to "Secret" which means only people who are in the group can see that you're a member.
☛ Positive focus! Well-moderated to keep the group free of drama, negativity, and politics. Respect is required of all group members.
☛ Make new friends with other parents of LGBT kids.
☛ Get thoughts, advice, and prayers concerning the unique challenges facing parents on the same journey.
☛ Periodic "Harbor LIVE!" broadcasts where B.T. goes live within the group and answers questions from Harbor parents.
☛ Group is friendly for both theologically affirming and theologically traditional members.
☛ The tradition of “Good News Friday” where group members share something positive happening in their world.
☛ Additional content and resources posted only for group members.
frequently asked questions
Q: Is the cost a one-time or annual fee?
A: One time! Once you enroll in Harbor, you get full access to the Workshop, Resources, and Community content now and in the future.
Q: I'm a parent on the traditional side of theology and sexuality. Is Harbor for me?
A: Absolutely. If you read through the end of Blue Babies Pink, then you know that I fall on the "affirming" side of the theological spectrum. This is where I am, but I'm still committed to engaging all parents in a loving, respectful, non-shaming way. Harbor is about learning to create peace with your child, regardless of how everyone's theology shakes out. It is more practical and less theological. It's not that we don't value theology, it's just that this particular program is going to focus more on the day-to-day journey of understanding, loving, and communicating with your LGBT child. The current Harbor membership has parents from all over the theological spectrum.
Q: I'm not a parent of an LGBT child but I'm the sibling (or grandparent) of one. Can I enroll in Harbor?
A: Harbor is specifically designed for Christian parents of LGBT kids. However, if you are a supportive grandparent or sibling of an LGBT loved-one, you certainly may join.
Q: I’m interested in both Harbor and BBP+. What should I do?
A: When you enroll in Harbor, you get all of BBP+ for free! There is no need to purchase both.
Q: Can I just participate in the Workshop? or Can I just participate in the Facebook group?
A: No. Harbor is designed as a single experience consisting of three parts—Workshop, Resources, and Community. Members gain the most by participating in all three pieces, and the financial investment to join includes all three. (FYI: If you’re not on Facebook, we can talk about other ways you can engage with Harbor.)
Q: Is the 30-day money-back guarantee real? If so, how does it work? And will you make me feel like a horrible person if I do it?
A: Haha, yes, it is most certainly real. If, after 30 days of joining Harbor, you're unsatisfied for any reason, just email me (B.T.) and request a refund. I do ask that members give a reason (so we can improve Harbor in the future), but that's not required.
And yes, your enrollment fee will be refunded with no hassle and no guilt!
Q: My child's not out yet, and I want to protect their privacy. Can you guarantee my confidentiality if I join Harbor?
A: To be honest, not really. Your information is secure and your identity is private when you submit your info through the Harbor enrollment page. But once you join the Harbor Community group on Facebook, the information on your personal Facebook page will be visible to other group members (but not anyone outside of the group). All group members will be asked to keep the content of our discussions as well as the membership of the group private. However, there is no way we can guarantee that.
BECOME A HARBOR PARENT
"We must fight for the relationships that mean the most to us."
Enrollment is only open for a limited time and is currently closed. Be sure to sign up for updates to hear about the next Harbor enrollment.