Concerns Of Religion About LGBT

Based on Journal of Adolescence, the negative outcomes were emerged as shared feelings of inadequacy, religious- related guilt from the young participants, struggles with depressive symptoms, and social strain, difficulty in social relationships in both families and friends.

First, feelings of inadequacy, the feeling of not being good enough. Dane, a 22-year-old male wrote about his experience, “I assumed I was some sort of evil creature and the Holy Trinity was using my parents and church to punish me. I was able to learn more as I aged but the sense of somehow always being wrong stuck. I still have a hard time thinking I am good enough (now), even with being successful, in transition and happy.

Second, Religious-related guilt from the religious participants. Lynn, a 22-year-old lesbian female shared her thoughts regarding the church’s viewpoint on LGBT, “you can be gay, it’s not a sin to be gay, it’s a sin to act on it. It makes you feel like shit when you do act on it”. Young adult participants stated that they experienced guilt during their first kiss with a same sex individual.

Third, the depressive symptoms that they experienced while coming out to their religious communities. Alex, 21-year-old transgender male stated, “the stress I was putting myself under and the stress by the church and the community had put me under, I was very, very suicidal off and on for a few years”. Joseph, 15-year-old gay male raised Catholic stated that, “I became depressed for a while. I lost my faith in religion and we live in a religious community. I now think of myself as an outcast”. Therefore, the participants were engaged with suicidal ideation in relation to their identity.

Lastly, social strain, relationship struggles with families and friends. And it’s harder if families were religiously active, Bryce, 19-year-old gay male wrote about his fear of coming out stated, “I really want them to accept me but I am afraid they will be blinded by their faith, and not be accessible to me. I am afraid of the Mormon Church might be the separation from me and my family. I hope that never happens”. Capernicus, 17-year-old transgender male shared loss of community after coming out stated, “I guess being gay is seen as not a good thing, a lot of threats, insults, even though I’m not out. Some people are cool about it, some people are not, and I guess that is going to continue to be a struggle throughout high school. There are a lot of close-minded homophobic people here.

Meanwhile the positive outcomes were emerged, showing how religious context may serve as developmental asset. Increased sense of self or self-acceptance, acceptance of other people (open-minded), incorporation of religious values, and positive social experiences or social support.

First, increased sense of self, boosting one’s moral, participants shared how identity exploration increased their self-acceptance. Alonsa, 17-year-old lesbian stated, “Coming out was extremely scary. You’ve changed your entire future when you say it, it was really cool at the same time. Even now, every time I tell someone, I think this is better, this is me”.

Second, Acceptance of others, it is an important factor in building one’s character and confidence knowing that there are people who support you. Lynn, the 22-year-old lesbian shared, “Coming out was more of a positive experience with me. Since I grew up in a very closed-minded family, it allowed me to look at my other fellow human beings as equals. Growing up, I saw African Americans as not my equal, homosexuals as not my equal, and non-members as not my equal. I think I’m kinder to people than I was before and I’m more open-minded”.

Third, incorporation of religious values, the religious values that uphold one’s identity since childhood. Bryce, the 19-year-old gay male stated, “Coming from a Mormon background, they teach such good core values about being a good person. My favorite thing that I learned from church was service. There are points in my life where I was questioning the church… but I love the opportunities that I have to serve. I guess the fundamentals that I was taught growing up has really shaped the way I interact with people and given me a good idea of how to be a good person. I love that. I’ll never say that the church teaches you to be a bad person because it doesn’t. It teaches you to be a good person”.

Lastly, social support, a positive outcome that gives relief to the person coming out. Alonsa, the 17-year-old lesbian shared her experience after coming out to her best friend, “My best friend is LDS and I didn’t come out to her first and she found out from somebody else. She was so angry at me, she was like “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me first” and I was like “dude, you are LDS, you have a CTR (Choose the Right – a reminder to live righteously), you go to seminary… I was just worried, with you I have more to lose, if you choose to reject me because of the LDS church, I have lost my best friend, and these (other people I’ve come out to) who aren’t LDS, I’m not as close to, if I lose them, it’s not a problem”.

11 February 2020
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