When author and public speaker Vanessa Hall lost her husband Mathew, she became very close to her son, Lachlan, who was eight at the time. The mum from Melbourne, Australia, loved watching Lachlan flourish in creative fields, watching him grow up to be a professional choreographer at a dance academy. Unknown to Vanessa, Lachlan was gay. He tried dating a girl for three years while wrestling with his true feelings, but eventually, he came out to his Christian mum, who had been religious her whole life and was part of a similar community. After Australia permitted same-sex marriages, Lachlan and his partner, also a dancer, got engaged. And while it was a lot for his mum to deal with, Vanessa not only walked Lachlan down the aisle, she also wore a rainbow sash – the universal LGBTQ+ symbol.
‘I knew that I loved my son, and nothing would ever stop me from loving my son. But I had some thinking and some praying to do. Lots,’ Vanessa wrote in a self-penned blog. Seeking counsel from God, who she says almost told her ‘I gave up my son, so you don’t have to’, Vanessa decided to shun what anyone else says. The doting mum said that her son’s sexuality had never been an issue for her but it hurt her to see him being bullied at school and to hear the comments of her Christian friends. So to stick it to all of them and vow her unconditional support, Vanessa happily married the couple. And at the end of the speech, she tied the rainbow sash around her and raised a toast. ‘Because in the end, love wins,’ she told Metro.co.uk.
‘I had bought the sash specifically for the wedding and wasn’t sure if I’d use it. ‘Lachlan had always joked that he hoped I’d be waving the gay pride flag one day. It’s such a sensitive issue and I’m very intentional in what I do, so I needed to be sure my message was consistent and well thought through. ‘When I put on the sash, it was both a sign of the promises of God and the acknowledgment of gay people being loved and accepted.
‘I raised a toast to love because it seems to be the thing that the church has forgotten is what we are called to be in the world – not judgmental, but loving.’ Her choice to accept her son came with some resistance from her circle but Vanessa paid no mind. ‘It was interesting because I’ve been accused by some Christians for being an emotional mother and not true to my faith, but I was the only one in the whole place that wasn’t sobbing,’ said Vanessa. ‘Everyone was in tears. I wanted my son, and his husband, and every other gay that was there at that wedding, to know that I love them, and the God I believe in loves them. ‘
Motivational speaker Vanessa has also proved her professional talents, moving both communities – religious and LGBTQ, who can often be cast as opposing sides – and helping some of them reconcile. ‘Since that day, I’ve had gay folks thank me for helping them heal and understand their Christian friends and family better,’ Vanessa tells us. ‘I’ve had Christians thank me for helping them understand and embrace gay people in a way they never have before. ‘And sadly I’ve had some Christians tell me I’m wrong, I’ve betrayed Jesus, and that I should repent. ‘I feel sad for them. I’m at peace.’
Content Credit: metronews