In the last month there have been at least 10 suicides of young people who were gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or somehow *queer-identified. These are the suicides that we know about and that involved kids with a queer identity. I am sure there have been many more whether they occurred last month or some other month. Many queer folks have struggled with their sexuality and have faced depression or attempted suicide but thankfully have lived to tell the tale. GLBT youth face a whole host of woes, difficulties and dangers due to their orientation and identity and our society, schools, churches and christians are failing them.
*I am using the word “queer” to include a diverse group of folks that include gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and trans people and those with other sexual or gender orientations and identities that differ from a binary male and female heterosexual norm. This is my first attempt writing about these issues so I apologize in advance for offending anyone by how I label or discuss things. Feel free to let me know if you take issue with anything I am saying here.
In case you weren’t familiar with the plethora of recent, tragic suicides, here is a nice background post from blogger Progressive Scholar about them. http://progressivescholar.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/lgbt-suicides/
The way the church deals with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other queer folk has greatly affected and hastened my exit from church life. We have a HUGE problem in this country and in our churches that we fail to love and accept people who do not fit into the heterosexual norm.
When my first child was born, I felt such a love and acceptance for my child that I knew I would love my child no matter what her orientation, genetic make-up, inclinations, choices or actions would turn out to be. My child will always be my child and my love for each of my children is ABSOLUTELY UNCONDITIONAL.
In contrast with the unconditional parental love for my child that overwhelmed me I have seen fundamentalist and evangelical christians who have withheld their love, affection, acceptance and relationship from their children when the children did not meet the parent’s expectations of orientation or sexual behavior. Christians, this should not be! The fact that fundamentalist or evangelical christianity causes parents to “cut off” their children or loved ones for being gay or queer is an indictment against the belief system itself. A belief system that causes a parent to stop loving their child or to withhold their love and affection is a sick system. And it is one that I don’t want any part of.
I don’t really think the fundamentalist or evangelical response of rejecting queer folk really looks like something Jesus would have done. There is no record of Jesus ostracizing, excluding, or otherwise railing against any person due to their homosexual behavior or inclinations. And you can bet there were queer folk that he came in contact with as he hung out with the common folk and crowds of people. Yet Jesus did not explicitly condemn homosexuality or homosexual behavior during his time on earth. Not one time. Do you would think that if homosexuality was such a danger to heaven and earth that Jesus would fail to mention it? If God can “cure homosexuality” today, as a minority of christians claim, I wonder why Jesus never publicly healed any one of their homosexuality in the gospels? He healed folks of leprosy, female bleeding, epilepsy, demon possession and other ailments but he did not heal any queer folks of their condition? Hmmm, interesting.
A friend forwarded to me a beautiful post from a blogging mother “Momastery” that reflects one Christian parent’s great response to the church’s and our society’s treatment of our gay kids. It is really worth a read by everyone! Here it is:
Momastery’s author rightly points out how ALL christians pick and choose what they follow from the bible, a fact too few fundamentalists realize. She also includes a beautiful letter to her child to describe how she hopes she and her husband would react to their child if he were to come out as queer. It is a really nice response. Unfortunately we need more responses like this from parents, the church, and society.
As a mother and as a human, I hope and pray we will act to make this a more welcoming world for all of our children, whether gay, straight or whatever they may be. I also hope and pray that we will work to make this a more welcoming place for all the grown ups too.
*I am using the word "queer" to include a diverse group of folks that include gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and trans people and those with other sexual or gender orientations and identities that differ from a binary male and female heterosexual norm. This is my first attempt writing about these issues so I apologize in advance for offending anyone by how I label or discuss things. Feel free to let me know if you take issue with anything I am saying here.