I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Homophobia Always Hurts - and Sometimes It Kills

 Brent Astle:  January 28, 2013 to September 30, 2010   (Love you, this life, next life, somewhere, always. )
In "1991 The First Presidency of the LDS Church stated on NOV-14:
Sexual relations are proper only between husband and wife appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any other sexual contact, including fornication, adultery, and homosexuality and lesbian [sic] behavior, is sinful. Those who persist in such practices or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline...." http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_lds2.htm

Odd as this sounds in 2013 to secular ears, these teachings matter.

I had a friend who was exposed to these teachings early and often.  He was born in 1971 and sadly, born into a devout Mormon family. He was taught that gay is a choice and that gayness is an abomination to "God." He told me he knew at the age of five that he was different. He realized what the difference was when he hit puberty.

He was gay.

He attempted suicide when he was sixteen. He killed himself on September 30, 2010.

He had been well indoctrinated with the teachings of the Mormon church. For example, just previous to his suicide, his sister told him it was only OK to be gay if he never had sex!  (She didn't plan on giving up sex herself, however.)  After his suicide, Brent's  family refused to attend a memorial breakfast if we were going to mention that he had been gay. His brother -in-law said "we will only attend tomorrow's memorial if is going to be a celebration of Brent as a special person, not a gay pride thing.  You cannot mention that he was gay."

They didn't attend. Their loss - Brent was special because he was gay - not in spite of it. 

My darling fag (I was his fag hag) is dead. The teachings he internalized at his mother's knee destroyed his sense of self worth and helped kill him. That's why religious teachings that preach that "gay is a choice and an abomination" are child abuse. Children born into devout families that espouse homophobic teachings are sometimes born gay - and grow up believing that they are worthless because of those teachings.

Not everyone believes that being gay is a choice and a sin.  There's a whole world out there that is accepting and loving.   

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