What set me off today was a conversation I had with a young kid on the IRC (internet chat). He had actually contacted me because he heard about my CD. When we began talking, I told him the songs came from my experience with AIDS and immediately he began to ask me questions.From Steve's online diary.
Here's the deal: He is 19 years old. He is a fundamentalist Christian. He lives in a small town in Texas. He is gay. He hates that he is gay because he has been told that being gay is a sin. He wants to kill himself. Seriously.
(The careful reader will realize that this child did not "choose" to be gay as some "Christians" would insist. He would rather be ANYTHING but gay, but as most people in the educated universe know, one cannot "choose" a sexual orientation. Of course, this is not what the people he trusts most in the universe tell him -- his pastor and family.)
So, he is alone. He is scared with no one to turn to. He is also worried he might have HIV because he has surreptitiously had sex with another youth, but he is too scared to get tested. Plus he has no car so he cannot do it secretly as he wishes. And because he thinks being gay is evil, he leaps to the conclusion that God pretty much hates him and he has no reason to go on living. He is in hell. He even said he tried to kill himself recently with a razor -- his third attempt. His self-hatred, mostly coming from the bigoted way in which this theology has been thrust upon him, is palpable. I try to tell him I care and his only response is, "Why? It's not worth it. No one can love me."
I've never felt so helpless in all my life. I turned to a friend who I know has also struggled with suicide and asked him to intervene for me. He tells me of at least three others in the #gaychristian chat room who have been seriously suicidal. This hit me even harder, folks.
How is it that so many gay kids I meet who come from Christian families have tried to kill themselves? Why do you think that is? And why am I starting to get really, really pissed about this?
Several reasons. First of all, because so-called Christians who pretend to want to "minister" to kids are totally screwing up because their own bigotry, their total hatred of gays (which is couched in the phony "love the sinner, hate the sin" language), is killing the very people they think they are "saving." Christ, I just want to ring their necks sometimes, because they honestly believe they are doing God's will. How utterly pathetic.
"Father, they know not what they do..."
Secondly, the kids get caught in this vortex of intolerance. Another child I was talking to said that he MUST be evil since he cannot stop these "feelings" toward people of the same sex. The logic goes like this: If "gay" is sin and I cannot stop these feelings, then my heart must be filled with sin, therefore I am not saved, therefore Jesus WILL not save me, therefore I am doomed to hell.
Conclusion: No way out. No matter how I pray, I cannot be saved because I've already tried. Can't tell my family about it. Can't tell my church. Can't tell my friends. Jesus don't care. Might as well die.
And is there any compassion for these kids? No. The preacher is screaming that Christians need to fight the powers of Satan (as embodied in the "gay agenda" -- a great fundraising tactic, by the way, for TV evangelists). So, the child is sitting there listening to his pastor basically tell him that he is a soldier in the army of Satan.
Now, is there anything wrong with this picture??? And do any of you reading this think that this is an uncommon situation? And do any of you wonder why young gay kids trapped in small towns either kill themselves or run off to the big city and drown themselves in booze and sex -- an alternative way of committing suicide, I might add?
I'm trying desperately to calm down and not let this make me intolerant toward the so-called Christian community, but when I'm face to face with a precious soul -- an innocent child -- who wants to kill himself because of this evil interpretation of the Bible, I can't decide whether to just cry or take a bazooka and kill every fundie in sight. Remember "beka" from a few days ago who felt that dead kids was a good way to stop sin from spreading in this world.
It just gets to be too much sometimes. I'm only one voice screaming for justice. Begging for people to wake up and realize what they're doing. LIke the kid in Texas, I sometimes just feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. It's just too much. It makes me tired. It makes me angry. It suffocates me.