I had a lot of significant reasons I was already questioning and doubting religion, but the response of most religions to the LGBT community was the final straw that kicked me out the door.
I know there are progressive forms of Christianity that accept LGBT and if I ever feel compelled to go back to a Christian church, it will be one of those varieties.
When churches say that LGBT is against God’s plan, they’re talking about my kid. For the life of me, I can’t understand how anyone with an LGBT child could choose to side with what someone told them about God over their very own flesh and blood.
I am aware that people do it all the time, though. I’ve known very devout Christians who insist that their kids will never be gay. Pressed further on the issue and asked what if they are anyway, the “nicer” ones say they would pray for them to become straight. The ugly ones say they would outright disown their child. Disowning your child is the ultimate failure as a parent and I dare say that I can’t imagine any God approving of that.
I also understand that some people have very black-and-white visions of God. God says a, b and c are good; x, y, and z are abominations. No exceptions can be made under this interpretation of God’s laws.
Not only are these fundamentalist types condemning my child, they’re also talking about me.
I’ve known I was bisexual since I was in elementary school, even though I didn’t actually know the word until late in high school. Even though I am happily married to a man, I am equally attracted to both men and women. In all honesty, I am slightly more physically attracted to women than men. But I’m not attracted to very masculine-looking women, so I don’t know if that means anything.
What I do know is that I feel that I was born this way. If I was attracted to other girls around age 9 or 10, and was also attracted to boys at that age, I think it’s a safe assumption that this is just how I am. Consider also the fact that I was raised in a fairly fundamentalist religion where such things would be discouraged. If religion could make people straight, then surely it would have for me. But I was so unaware of anything regarding sexuality, just completely naive. I only knew whom I found attractive.
When you are raised in a religion that says one aspect of you that you can’t change is abhorrent and wrong, it can’t help but lead to self-loathing. There are already so many anti-LGBT messages in society that just feeling okay with yourself becomes a fight. My trans daughter said one of her biggest struggles was accepting herself because she had so much internalized homophobia. That’s interesting because she definitely didn’t get that attitude from me or my husband.
I don’t see how sexuality could possibly be a choice. Just as straight people don’t consciously choose to be straight, I don’t think LGBT people choose their path, either. When you think about it, why would anyone choose to be LGBT when you still face so much discrimination? I was so relieved when Amy told me she finally stopped using men’s restrooms in public. Because she looked so feminine, I feared she was going to be assaulted. Unfortunately, it was a close call with such that finally changed her mind.
I unfriended a FB friend from high school a few years ago over this issue. She was otherwise very liberal but she was hysterical about the thought of trans girls sharing the restroom with her daughters. She thought that trans girls would try to molest her daughters, or just wanted to lewdly gawk at them.
I have three responses to that. 1: it’s a myth that trans people are more likely to be molesters. Molestation is a totally different issue, a form of mental illness that is much more rare than being LGBT. 2: trans girls feel they are female on the inside, so they’re not going to want to molest your daughters. If they’re brave enough to say anything, they’re more likely to ask for makeup tips. 3: how does she know there aren’t already secret lesbians sharing the restroom with her daughters? The odds are good that there are. After all, I was a bisexual who occasionally had crushes on girls at school. But the fact remains that a school restroom is not a usual pick-up spot for anyone.
Even if your religion takes half-measures, saying that LGBT people must be treated with respect but that they’re still “intrinsically disordered” and called to celibacy, it’s a negative message. A call to celibacy is a unique calling and not every LGBT person has it. It’s still a very negative viewpoint and it’s not hard to jump from there to shaming the LGBT. Everyone has an innate desire to be loved and it’s not right to say that all LGBT expressions of love must be chaste.
What it all comes down to is that I don’t believe attraction is a choice. How you act on it is a choice, of course, which is why I don’t pursue sex with women despite being bisexual. Married straight people are generally supposed to discipline themselves not to act on their extramarital attractions as well. (Many don’t, but that’s a whole different topic. Like why churches preach against the sin of LGBT but not the sin of married people having affairs.)
If you consider yourself religious and you put your feelings about what you think God wants you to do above your loyalty to your child, the God you follow is an asshole. And maybe that’s the real issue you should work on changing, rather than trying to change your loved one.