And whose desires are unchristian?
The authorities in my life—mother, church, father, society, legal system, institutionalized religion, radio preachers, traveling evangelists—drilled me with messages about how wrong/evil/sick/deranged/awful is same-sex attraction. It was unspeakably bad.
Unbeknownst to them, they were drilling into me that message that I was unspeakably bad. Long before puberty I carried a sense of my own worthlessness. However it was that I was different from my peers, I knew I was different in a shameful and sinful and abysmally dreadful way.
This is an all-too common story for people of my age and experience. I’ve watched the effects of such messages play out in the lives—and deaths—of lgbt persons I’ve known.
I don’t wonder that some gay people are driven to suicide, that rates of suicide among gay teens are way out of proportion to their straight peers. These unfortunate victims of religious, legal and societal prejudice take to a logical end the messages they’ve come to believe. I hear those messages put explicitly in rural Indiana: God hates fags; the only good homosexual is a dead one; if I found out I were gay I’d do everyone a favor and put a bullet through my head.
I heard it from my own mother. She voiced aloud her wish that I’d never come out; that things could go back to the way they were. I asked her if she realized what she was saying. I told her about a friend of mine, a Taylor graduate, a sweet, witty, intelligent, gifted man who is absolutely convinced he is going to hell because he’s gay. Yet he can’t stop himself from seeking connection with men. He beats himself up afterwards. He’s turned to alcohol to numb his torment. He gravely and permanently injured himself in a botched attempt to make the pain go away. His denial and repression point him towards poor choices that only spiral further downward into self-destruction.
“Don’t you see?” I asked my mother. “You’re wishing that kind of life for me—that I’d never come out, that I’d retain a firm belief in my own hell-bound fate, would continue to pursue futile attempts to change what’s at the heart of who I am, live with years of pain and self-loathing, or die at my own hand.”
Not so very Christian a desire methinks.
- Suicide in Montana: LGBT teens face bullying, harassment, depression (missoulian.com)