I am one of the officers at my schools GSA, and recently because of my religious affiliation, many people are calling me names like some of the following : fake, hypocrite, cruel, a sinner, etc. Many people have said to me that it is wrong for me to help out the LGBTQ community when it is against my beliefs, and they also told me that it is rude for me to say I support them one day and then turn around and say that they are sinners. However, none of what they are saying is true, and I’m not sure if the members of the group know that. I partcipated in the day of silence at my school last year and many people wouldn’t hang out with me because they thought I was a lesbian. I don’t know what to do … I made a risk by being involved in GSA, by my first choice university possible revoking of my acceptance, and I want to find a way to let all of the LGBTQ kids in the club know that I am on their side…and that just because many of the people that have the same religious beliefs as me treat amazing kids like you badly, doesn’t mean I will.
I don’t know what to Do…please help me.
What should I do to let them know that I care?
Letter submitted by:
I’m glad you’re reaching out for help and support for the problems you’re facing with your peers. You are an honorable and courageous young woman, and I applaud your strength. To be able to stand up for what you believe is right takes courage and strength at any age, but is especially difficult in the teenage years when peer pressure and the need for acceptance is so strong. You truly are inspirational.
In reading your letter, I get that you are being misjudged by different groups in different ways. Because of your affiliation in the Gay-Straight Alliance and your participation in the Day of Silence, some assume you are lesbian. To this I have only to say, let them think what they want. As an officer in the GSA, you are an advocate for your LGBTQ peers. You obviously know that there is nothing wrong, sick, or misguided in being gay or bi. You know these people are erroneous in their label, but it is no more hurtful than if they were to label you as a blonde when you’re really a brunette, or to swear you are 5’6” when in fact you 5’10”.
Others who are familiar with your religious beliefs, are judging you in a different way. They call you a hypocrite. I don’t know your religious persuasion, and frankly it doesn’t matter. In every religion and denomination there are those individuals who use their religion to alienate, suppress, even hate and cause harm to those who are different. They misinterpret, twist and misquote their sacred texts to “prove” that people who do not fit their ideal are sick or damned. These individuals, the very vocal minority, are clearly wrong; they are missing the entire aim: love, acceptance and compassion. The ones who are judging you as a hypocrite seem to have limited experience with religions and religious people, for they are only familiar with this misguided vocal minority. You, Abby, are changing their mind whether you know it or not. By demonstrating (as you are) your love, compassion and acceptance not just for those like you, but for everyone, you are enlarging their view and opening their minds. You are demonstrating that someone truly living in their faith is a person of love, compassion and service.
If you’re like me, you want to see the effect of your actions. But often (most of the time, in fact) we are not made privy to the wonderful effect we have on others. As smile to a stranger having a horrible day, can have an uplifting effect on her that we never even know. We must be content to have faith in the fact that by living in our Truth, change will take place in its time.
You asked in your letter what you can do to let your LGBTQ friends and peers know that you care. Volunteering your time and efforts as an officer in the GSA and participating in events like the Day of Silence are very strong acts of support. You keep showing up for them in these ways, and surely they will know; I suspect that most of them already do.
There is an organization called PFLAG (www.pflag.org) that gives support and information to parents and friends of lesbians and gays. They may prove to be a valuable resource to you. And, of course, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at the Trevor Project for further assistance. Thank you for your courage in fighting against prejudices even when it is unpopular, tough or painful to do so. That is a sign of a person of honor, integrity and strength.
All my best,