If you’ve read some of my past pieces in my Patheos column, you will find a number of references to my ministry with LGBTQ+ children/young adults and their families. What you may not know is my ultra-conservative views on matters of gender and sexuality until I faced this as a parent. Experiencing trauma within one’s own family will recalibrate our lenses and help us see the world differently. I am no exception to this.
It’s no mistake that the Lord converted me into the Roman Catholic Church seven years ago and then allowed me to experience family trauma related to my own children coming out LGBTQ+ soon afterwards. After being so conservative on the matter for decades, how was I going to process this for lives of my children and others like my own? As an Educational Therapist, I knew what the science said before I came to an affirming position, but my faith was not in alignment with science yet. I knew somehow that I had to place the Sanctity of Life and Human Dignity first as a parent just as I place the Sanctity of Life and Human Dignity first for children and adults with disabilities / Neurodiversity as an Educational Therapist. Clinically-speaking, there are so many parallels between the LBGTQ+ spectrum of psychology and other psychological spectrums, such as disability and Neurodiversity spectrums, although being LGBTQ+ is not a disability.
2.5 years ago, I started publishing articles which combined faith and science about this topic. This need is astronomically larger than I once thought. There are thousands of religious families all over the country and many more around the world who are struggling to save their faith and their child’s life concurrently. After speaking with ministers who have worked on the frontlines with LGBTQ+ people and their families for decades, there was no doubt that what they were telling me was true and in alignment with science, that affirming LGBTQ+ people is a life issue, not a “who is doing what in whose bedroom” issue. Just as affirming children with Autism is a life issue, not a “behavior issue.”
All efforts to change, coerce, mold, etc…through gay conversion therapy, reparative therapy, and other widely discredited pseudoscience practices are proven to endanger the LGBTQ+ person. Even in some cases, the LGBTQ+ child/young adult wants to live a life of celibacy, and it many times ends in tragedy, like in suicide. Taking LGBTQ+ children to these pseudoscientific entities is playing Russian Roulette with their health and lives. Ending Conversion Therapy – The Trevor Project. Religious entities must end all harmful practices. The longer this goes unreconciled and doesn’t align with current science, the longer this will endanger LGBTQ+ children /young adults and their families.
The question is, how are religious entities who have so viciously opposed even the idea of people being LGBTQ+ going to apologize, make amends, and do what is right and good to reverse at least some of the harm done to LGBTQ+ people and their families? Ministers and laity will need to understand that they may be wrong about their own perceptions. I had to do it as a parent because my children’s lives depended on it. This lead to advocacy and education for Catholic families once I reconciled with my own children. Once individuals understand that they are wrong about at least some things, then the right thing to do is admit they are wrong and actually make changes. Ask yourself, “Would a good and loving God approve of ministers and laity in the Church endangering and disrupting the lives of others knowing the above?”
I love the quote by Maya Angelou, “Do the Best that you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, you do better.”