“As I review the call reports from our helpline, it is heartbreaking to see the exact same issues I faced as a teenager cropping up today. Although they all have very different stories, the majority of our callers describe a sense of loneliness and isolation. Sure, there is greater social acceptance of gay men and lesbians today, but the private pain of fear, loneliness, and rejection still abound, eating away at the hearts, souls, and self-confidence of young people at a most vulnerable point in their lives. – Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project suicide prevention hotline – CRISIS – 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America”
LGBT Youth Resources
Too Many Kids are Being Harmed
A young person growing up in America faces a world of possibilities. It should be a time of celebration, filled with hope and wonder. Unfortunately in some cases, a young gay person faces bullying, fear, discrimination and confusion about their sexual identity. It should not be that way. But more often than not, being gay presents one or more of these difficulties.
While gay people can and do lead normal lives, there is a history of bigotry toward gay people in the US and across the world, most often rooted in religion. Misunderstood and out-dated religious teachings used to harm to gay kids is simply wrong.
The worst forms of emotional, psychological and spiritual harm are exacted upon the lives of LGBT youth in families where negative stigma about homosexuality is reinforced by religious teaching or belief.
When a child confides to a parent that they are gay, common reactions range from anger to sadness and may touch every emotion in between. Along with these emotions come many questions, some sparked by the conflict parents feel between loving their child and the teachings of their church.
It started with a phone call late on a Friday night in February 1997. The call was from my ex-husband, informing me that our twenty-nine-year old daughter, Anna, had committed suicide. She had been found late that afternoon after hanging from the bar in her closet for fifteen hours.
As we drove the 550 miles to the town where Anna had lived and died to plan and attend her funeral, I said to my husband, Bob, that I did not want Anna’s death to be in vain. I had no idea what I could do, however, because there was one major complicating factor: Anna was a Christian and a lesbian. And I was a fundamentalist Christian who had been taught all my life that homosexuality was a sin. – Mary Lou Wallner – CRISIS – 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America
Many Religious Faiths are Welcoming
While gay people lead normal lives, there is a history of bigotry toward gay people in the US and across the world. Religion has played a big role in that. But these misunderstood and out-dated religious teachings are simply wrong. Bigotry toward gay people based on religious teachings has caused enormous harm, especially to young, vulnerable teens.
More than a million LGBT teens are suffering debilitating depression because their families and religious institutions have rejected them. Suicide rates amongst LGBT youth are four times higher than heterosexual youth.
It shouldn’t be that way.