Hey, I don’t know what to do. I came out to my parents and now they want me to see pastors to make me straight. My life has pretty much become Bobby Griffith’s life, but I’m different. I don’t get discouraged and depressed easily, however, I’m starting to. I don’t think I can hold on for much longer…What should I do?
Letter submitted by:
Thank you for discussing your concerns with me. I think you are one special person! It must be so difficult to go through what you are experiencing right now. However, your ability to overcome obstacles in your way up until now tells me you will get through this!
When you’re depressed, it can be very painful to feel and can make you isolate from your friends and family, cause you to be tired all the time and take away your motivation to do things, make you not enjoy the things you usually like to do, make you sleep and eat much less or much more than usual, and make you see everything in your life in a negative way. Sometimes the depression can get so bad it can make a person think of ending their life. Sometimes people think about ending their life when they’re feeling very depressed, feel hopeless that things will get better and helpless to make things better in their life. On www.us.reachout.com you’ll find facts about depression by clicking on “struggles with feelings.”
You mentioned Bobby Griffith in your letter. I believe you are referring to the young man who killed himself in 1983 due to the homophobia of his mother and his community. Although I do not know much about his life, I can relate to trying to be straight and using religion to get there. There have been many times I have felt overwhelmingly depressed and thought I would not be able to make it through another day. Despite the similarities you and I share with Bobby Griffith, I believe we do not have to make the same choice he did. It is not easy…I hear you! But, I also know that not every day will be like this. I know life gets better and I am certain that you will experience that better life!
I encourage you to immediately talk with a trusted adult (relative, doctor, teacher or school counselor) about your thoughts and feelings. If there’s no one you feel comfortable talking with, you can always call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor, 24 hours 7 days a week. If you feel you’re going to act on thoughts of suicide, call 911, or get to the nearest hospital emergency room in order to be safe.
With regard to religion, despite what you’ve been taught, it’s very important to know that there is nothing wrong with being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered (LGBT) and in fact, it is completely normal and natural. There are many, many LGBT people who practice various religions and continue to attend religious services. Please know that you can definitely be religious and gay at the same time. It might also help you to know that though some people, including certain religious leaders, may believe and teach that homosexuality is against the Bible and that you can’t be good and be gay, there are many religious leaders and members of religious communities who teach love, acceptance and equality for all of people and are supportive and accepting of LGBT people. To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for gay people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides on Soulforce’s “Resources” webpage at www.soulforce.org and also reading the PFLAG guide “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf” If you’d like to read more about various opinions regarding faith and sexual orientation, there is also a great resource online called The Institute for Welcoming Resources at http://www.welcomingresources.org/. It is the most comprehensive and up to date website devoted to providing religious and faith based resources for the LGBTQ community.
We are always here for you. Again, the Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, TrevorChat, and TrevorSpace are also available to you for further support. TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org is the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you have discussed here.