The chal­lenge for LGBTQ+ chil­dren in a right-wing re­li­gious fam­ily

Sackville Tribune - - OPINION - Ger­ard Veld­hoven Ger­ard Veld­hoven is a for­mer area res­i­dent and long-time gay rights ac­tivist.

Dur­ing my 40-odd years as an ad­vo­cate for equal­ity for Canada’s LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity, I have en­coun­tered nu­mer­ous at­tacks from within right-wing re­li­gious in­di­vid­u­als, espe­cially those from the Chris­tian re­li­gious right.

One hears con­stantly how cer­tain sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions are against bi­b­li­cal teach­ings, namely be­ing gay or bi­sex­ual, but a straight per­son is con­sid­ered a child of their God, who may have other “sins” un­der his/her belt, is just fine, thank you.

Re­cently, a few mem­bers of cer­tain re­li­gious be­liefs have made it known that in my ef­forts for ad­vo­cat­ing equal treat­ment from all sec­tors is a hu­man right, is to­tally and ut­terly re­jected. In other words, deny the right for be­ing what na­ture in­tended for us, that is, be who we are as hu­man be­ings.

A ques­tion arises that is of grave con­cern. Do chil­dren who iden­tify as a mem­bers of the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity within a Chris­tian fam­ily not be tol­er­ated by that fam­ily, and be ousted?

This ques­tion must be an­swered, and must be ex­plained in its en­tirety. Of course, we may as­sume the an­swer will be that the child must be changed, be turned into a be­ing that does not agree with that child’s nat­u­ral makeup.

Par­ents and clergy of right-wing be­liefs will bear even­tual re­spon­si­bil­ity for the child’s well-be­ing, or the op­po­site and be the cause of men­tal ill­ness, or even the pos­si­bil­ity of sui­cide. Do re­li­gious writ­ings and de­mands over­rule a per­son’s nat­u­ral ex­is­tence?

We come into this world in so many va­ri­eties, in­clud­ing sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and true gen­der iden­tity. The ex­pec­ta­tion is to be treated on equal ba­sis, re­spect, and live life in peace, har­mony and love, espe­cially from those clos­est to us. Is that too much to ask? The gen­eral be­lief is that hu­man­ity must be treated equally, but there are many who will chal­lenge that right, espe­cially from right-wing re­li­gious believ­ers, who are taught that be­ing gay, les­bian, bi­sex­ual must not be ac­cepted as a nat­u­ral way of one’s be­ing.

The an­swer is, ac­cord­ing to them, to re­verse gays into het­ero­sex­u­als. That pro­ce­dure has proven to be un­suc­cess­ful and leads to men­tal con­fu­sion, and in many cases sui­cides. If we live in a car­ing so­ci­ety, par­ents who love their chil­dren, re­gard­less of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity, colour of skin, or all other in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics, then we must call for em­brace and love. Those who be­lieve in a God that pun­ishes mem­bers of our hu­man so­ci­ety, re­jects our in­di­vid­u­al­i­ties, only has love for those who are per­fect in ev­ery sense, and em­bra- ces those who dis­crim­i­nate.

Be­liev­ing in a God and to fol­low teach­ings that pro­fess love for one an­other is won­der­ful, but ceases to be so if fam­i­lies and friends are torn apart by hate and re­jec­tion be­cause a cer­tain per­son, or more, who are not ex­actly as those teach­ings im­ply. Re­li­gious teach­ings must surely be meant to em­brace, to love, to ac­cept, and to rec­og­nize that all are not as all oth­ers. On the other hand, if this is not so, then we are fight­ing an up­hill bat­tle that may never be solved.

In a re­cent col­umn or two, I re­ferred to right-wing re­li­gious be­liefs and I was se­verely ac­costed be­cause of my views and my be­lief that all must be re­garded as part of our so­ci­ety, and not be blinded by hate and re­jec­tion, in this case, mem­bers of the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity.

We must not, and in­deed can­not, be sep­a­rated be­cause of our in­di­vid­u­al­ity that is within us. An­other ques­tion arises. If my crit­ics had a child in their re­spec­tive fam­i­lies, would this child be tossed out be­cause of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, or would they say, “I love my child, this child I helped cre­ate”?

Re­li­gions are a world re­al­ity, but surely hate and re­jec­tion should be dis­carded.

We owe it to our chil­dren. Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­[email protected]

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