Can I be gay and worship a God too? And how do I come out to my father who hates gays, and if I don’t live with him? Thanks for your time, from another gay.
It sounds like you're dealing with some complex and troubling issues and I want to applaud you for having the courage to come forward and share your problems with and ask for help from Dear Trevor.
You can ABSOLUTELY be gay and worship a God too. God loves and accepts people of all sexual orientations. Religion is an issue that troubles many gay, lesbian and bisexual young people as well as adults because of negative things they've read about homosexuality in religious books or heard from their religious leaders or family members. If that's something you've experienced it's important to know that there are branches of almost all faiths which are welcoming to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people and that there are many people, including religious leaders, of all faiths that are supportive and accepting of LGBTQ people. The Institute for Welcoming Resources has a highly informative website at http://www.welcomingresources.org/index.htm where you can find out about all aspects of religion as regards LGBTQ worshippers. Likewise, the site www.religioustollerance.org outlines the positions of all the major world religions about homosexuality. The organization promotes religious tolerance, freedom, and understanding and their site describes controversial topics from all viewpoints. On www.youthresource.com click on "Queer Living" then click on "Faith and Spirituality" where you'll find an article on "the intersections between faith and sexual orientation." It was written by young woman who discusses her struggles with being lesbian and her religion and how she was able to have both of these important things be included in her life. On the "Faith and Spirituality" page, you can also learn more about GLBT issues in specific faiths as well as read about other young people's journeys to incorporate both their sexual orientation and their religion in their life. Looking at the resources available on these sites will hopefully help you to begin to have an understanding of how you can be gay and also worship a God.
Matthew, it’s understandable that you’d be worried about coming out to your father since he hates gays. As far as coming out to your father, it's important to consider many things-what does it feel like keeping this part of your life secret? Is it causing you a lot of stress? Are you worried that if you came out to your dad you'd be unsafe physically or emotionally? If you think that it would unsafe in any way, it would be better to wait to tell your dad. Since you're 16 and at some point you will be leaving home to work or go to college, it might be that a better time to come out is when you are more independent. It sounds from your letter thought that you don't live with your dad so it could be that coming out is safe if you don’t have to face him every day. If you rely on your dad financially now and/or if he is planning on paying for you to go to college, he could make life difficult for you if he reacts badly to learning that you're gay so if this is the case, it might be better to wait until you're financially independent. On www.outproud.org you'll find an online brochure called "Coming Out To Your Parents" which discusses issues you may face as well as possible questions and responses your dad might have if you decide to come out to him. Matthew, I hope that you can see that coming out is such an individual decision and that whatever you decide is okay. What's most important is that you’re safe and comfortable.
Some people, like you're dad, have negative feelings for gay people due to lack of information or misinformation and at times, with help, can move to a more accepting place. PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is an organization, made up mostly of parents, that works to support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people, their families and others and helps family members and friends become more understanding and supportive of their loved ones’ sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Families and Friends” where you’ll find a brochure entitled "Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People." If you felt comfortable, you might share it with your dad and it might help him to be more understanding and supportive of you. PFLAG also runs support groups where LGBTQ people can discuss issues they're having with people in their life and where parents and others can discuss their feelings about a loved one's sexual orientation. You learn more about these groups by contacting the PFLAG Macon chapter by calling (478) 328-0497 or emailing them at
firstname.lastname@example.org . On www.outproud.org you'll find an online brochure call "For Parents of Gay Children" which may also help your dad move to a more positive place around your sexual orientation.
In trying to figure out what to do about coming out to your dad, it can be helpful to speak with someone you trust such as a friend, relative, teacher or school counselor. It might also be very helpful for you to speak to other young people who have shared similar experiences. You could get some companionship and support as well as other ideas on how to deal with your issues around religion and being gay and about coming out to your dad. You can get peer to peer support from the GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743. You can also connect with other LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies at The Trevor Project's own social networking site at www.trevorspace.org.
In addition, you might want to consider speaking to one of The Trevor Project’s very understanding, patient and empathetic counselors by calling the confidential Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor. Often when you talk through your problems with someone else you gain greater insight into what to do, or what not to do - just bouncing ideas off someone else can be very helpful. Please know that you don't have to go through this alone and that we're always here for you at The Trevor Project.