Hi there, recently I have been feeling depressed due to people “preaching” to me about how my homosexuality is a sin and if I continue I will be punished for it. Over the past year, there has been a couple events that have made me feel this way. I mean, I even feel kind of guilty. I’m the kind of person that wants to make everyone happy and while obviously I can’t please everyone, I do at least want to try…
After a serious relationship broke off, I subjected myself to counseling. The place I went to was a Christian place and for some reason red flags went up, but I still gave it a shot. For a while it seemed like the counselor was helping me with my depression and we had to keep these journals. Well, she ended up asking me to write about why I’m gay and she started to preach to me too. She told me things about herself, like how she had feelings for other women, but she could not continue those thoughts and feelings because of what the Bible says.
Another time, at my workplace a woman I worked with started to preach to me about Sodom and Gomorrah and telling me that I have stomach problems because being gay is wrong.
And last story, while I was dining with my current boyfriend, I overheard this lady talking about my neon green shirt and how no normal heterosexual boy would wear such a thing. So she comes over with her two daughters who were maybe 5 or 6 and said they wanted to give us something. They wouldn’t give it to us so she gave us these pamphlets. They said, “Does a loving God allow everyone into Heaven?” and throughout the cartoon illustrations, it basically said all Sinners will go to Hell. She tried to continue small talk with us while we were trying to eat, but I’m pretty sure she got the idea and left. Of course before leaving, she made sure to tell us that we better read those pamphlets.
So yeah, I really don’t know where to turn to for help or who to talk to. My mother says be who I am and love who I love basically, because God loves me no matter what. But it’s just so hard when you’re in the middle of what seems like a “witch hunt.” Sometimes I’m even afraid to go places by myself because I don’t want to get hurt or something worse. I know I’m just scaring myself but I really need help feeling more comfortable in my own skin and feeling more proud of who I am.
Ever since I was little I felt that I was gay. In kindergarten, I had a crush on a guy in first grade and so on and so fourth. I know that’s probably too young but that’s how I felt. For the longest time when I watched romantic or Disney movies, I wished I could be the princess so I could be kissed and be loved by Prince Charming. For a while when I was younger, I did wish I was a girl. Just because I felt like I would be more accepted for my feelings for other guys if I was a girl. Now I’m proud that I am a boy but I feel less proud for being gay.
When I first came out, I struggled with my depression and self-harm. I even had suicidal thoughts. Now I try to not even think of those things but sometimes the fear of Hell or feeling like I’m freak overcome anything I try to keep myself distracted with.
I guess I am wondering if you could help me figure out a way I can have better self-esteem and finally be proud and happy of who I am.
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Thanks for reaching out to us at Trevor Project. I completely understand and identify with your experience of feeling preached at and can guarantee that almost every LGBTQ person has felt that way at some point in their lives. Religion is often a tricky part of growing up gay, but thankfully many religions and places of worship are coming around and are opening their doors and beliefs to gays (some even have gay-only services). I’m sorry that the preaching seems to be so constant and that their messages can’t be more true to the best parts of religious faith, which are love, purity of intention and supporting the community with kindness and charity.
Never forget that religion is something open for interpretation and if you wanted to look for love and acceptance in its words and beliefs you can find them. These people with their judgments, who from your stories barely seem to know you, may just simply not be accepting of gays and are using religion as a way to speak their hate without backlash. Try not to let people and their bigotry get you down, because religion is sometimes just a mask for people to criticize and attack things they don’t understand and fear. If your faith is important to you then don’t let them taint it.
I’m glad you’re keeping those thoughts at bay and know that self-harm is not the answer to your problems. It is natural to feel conflicted with being gay and to be scared sometimes (am glad you’re playing it safe), but in those times you should take your mind out of the “witch hunt” and find comfort in the love and strength of those who love you. Let the love and support of people like your mother, boyfriend and friends guide the kid that knew he was gay since kindergarten and keep him out and proud. You have nothing to be ashamed of by being yourself and never let anyone tell you otherwise. Dare to be you – neon green shirt and all.
Here are some resources you may find useful. PFLAG has a guide called, “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality,” which is available to download at http://community.pflag.org/document.doc?id=494. It could be a good resource for you to learn more about the subject. If you have any further questions you can reach out to one of the gay-friendly churches in Ohio in the following list – http://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/united_states/us_ohio.htm.
If things feel overwhelming again, you can always contact the Trevor Project here through Ask Trevor.
We also have Trevorchat, which is a forum where you can chat with trained volunteers about anything that’s troubling you. And the Trevor Lifeline, which you can reach by calling 1-866-488-7386, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the United States. There will always be someone there to listen and support.
The Trevor Project also has an online social network at http://www.trevorspace.org. It’s an online community where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and straight youth ages 13 to 24 can talk with each other, provide support, and find resources in their communities.
Press on and stay strong,