By Adrienne Broaddus, CNN
Updated 5:41 PM EDT, Wed June 21, 2023
As an ordained Christian minister, Ontay Johnson’s faith teaches love is patient and kind. After one of his children came out as a transgender woman, the husband and father of three has had to practice what he preaches.
“This hasn’t been an easy transition as a father,” Ontay told CNN of the experience of his 25-year-old daughter, Kiah Naomi Johnson.
“I told Kiah, ‘There’s a difference between agreement and acceptance.’ For me, nope, I don’t agree. I do accept because that is my baby.
“I had to really dig deep to understand love. I thought I knew but my baby has taught me to really reevaluate and reimagine love and what love is.”
As the nation celebrates Pride across the country, in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana, Ontay and his wife, Gina, are still working on accepting Kiah’s truth. At times, Ontay says the journey has been turbulent.
“But… the Lord spoke very audibly to me and said, ‘Ontay, you’ve got to let love lead.’ And I wrestled with that,” Ontay told CNN. “How would Jesus handle this? And so that’s really challenged my theology, my perspective, and my psychology around this. I’m still growing.”
“Jesus didn’t always agree with some decisions that I made and some things that I’ve done but he still accepts me just as I am. That has brought me peace. We have had some turbulent times, but we’re human and we’re walking this thing out.”
Ontay said this “let love lead” journey has revealed that love never gives up. He also expressed his concern for fathers who have walked away from their children who identify as LGBTQ.