For those of you familiar with my BroTalk series, this one is gonna feel a bit different as I’m in a bit of a pissy mood and ready to place some well-deserved blame. Some might be offended and for that I’m not sorry. What follows is an honest breakdown of one of the major issues boys and men of the non-straight persuasion face even in a free country where everyone is constitutionally born equal.
So one day, me and mom were out back having a conversation that somehow verged into the following; I can’t remember what led us to this topic but, just cause, it happened.
“Are you and [now ex-friend] dating?”
“No. But I think he wants to.”
“So you’re gay?”
You might think it got really weird or awkward; maybe there was some screaming or crying involved but no. The conversation continued like the most natural thing in the world and when I told her who my first boyfriend was, her response was classic her:
“Oh, he was cute.”
BIGOTRY IN MOTION
Amazing, right? She didn’t even blink when I told her; it was a complete non-iss. And while mom is and remains super supportive and not judgmental and ignores the Catholic Church’s anti-LGBT stance, she’s far from many others’ parents. I’ve met these people, the children of bigots, and have seen with my own eyes how horrible their treatment can be.
The ex I mentioned was one of those unsupported boys; when his mother found out about us she went nuclear and threw him out of the house – at fifteen. Now, she was never mother-of-the-year material and had been actively searching for a reason to kick him to the curb but the fact that his sexuality became her excuse is a disgusting reminder of screwed up society is.
There are near 1,600,000 homeless youth in America and out of that, 40% are LGBT. Out of a population of about 325,000,000 people, between 3.5% (11,375,000) and 7% are LGBT (22,750,000). See how out of whack those stats are? While no one, especially the young, should be homeless, a huge chunk of that 40% are living on the street because of their family’s homophobic attitude. They were either thrown out or chased out because mommy and daddy couldn’t see passed their freaking orientation.
In case you’re still doing the math, 40% of 1,600,000 is 640,000. That’s six hundred and forty thousand. That number is… astronomical.
THE PART I WARNED YOU ABOUT
So, you might wonder, drives a parent’s desire to disown their offspring for no other reason than who they love? Religion. Specifically, the Abrahamic ones. In the holy books of the big three (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are verses that call same sex loving wrong which is where religious folk in positions of power get the idea that homosexuality can be condemned and punished. I’ll go into how the anti-gay Biblical verses are misunderstood another time (I don’t have the same experience studying the Quran but I get the feeling it’s the same story) but even if I screamed the actual meanings behind stories such as Sodom and Gomorrah, those who adhere to “God’s Word” won’t hear none of that and would rather let their inner bullies run rampant; they need a target for their deep-seeded desire to persecute and the LGBT folk of the world are their current victims of choice.
And, as if inflicting pain on their children wasn’t enough, they insist on claiming it’s out of love and they’re only doing it for their immortal souls. I’d go on a cuss-filled rampage here but I don’t want anyone’s mom yelling at me. So just imagine a Jerry Springer-like bleep-a-thon.
Unfortunately, these fear-inspiring ideals are not confined to the religious sphere; they’re firmly entrenched in the secular government of the United States, as well as others that were meant to be free from any god’s influence. Have you seen the 2016 Republican Party Platform? It’s The Bible II: American Christian Edition.
Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary
The men and woman in one of the major political parties, whose job it is to steer the country toward a safe and prosperous future, loudly and proudly announced to the entire world that LGBT individuals did not deserve the same rights and protections as heterosexuals. And that twisted idea came not from a secular understanding of human nature but from books written over two thousand years ago and made up of an ancient kingdom’s own laws and traditions. As William M. Schniedewind stated, “Biblical literature became a tool that legitimated and furthered the priests' political and religious authority.” Back then, the books were used to control the masses and that tradition continues today. In a country with the Constitution “forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others” there should never be a politician who claims any god as justification for legislation, especially the kind that makes discrimination the law.
THE DARK SIDE OF RELIGION
Between ancient books and “God-fearing” individuals forcing those laws on us, is it any wonder that LGBT youth are treated like lepers and beaten and hidden away and murdered for no other reason than being attracted to the same sex?
Wondering why I’m ranting about the innate evils of organized religion? No, of course you’re not; not at this point. Right now, you understand how difficult it is for LGBT youth to not only announce to their family they’re not straight but accept themselves. You’re seeing how hard it must be for a boy to grow up surrounded by the idea that homosexuals are evil and sinful; how traumatizing it must be to hear day in and day out that gays should be killed; how demoralizing it is to hear cheers for countries that pass laws that not only condone but encourage people to report gays knowing it’s a death sentence. Even here in the U.S. a lawyer tried getting a “kill the gays” bill on the California ballot all because his god said so. And Christianity isn’t the only religion guilty of such heinousness; adherents of Islam have done more than their fair share of killing whose only “crime” was… you guessed it, having the butt sex and some want to expand that punishment to include simply coming out.
There’s no reason for this kind of treatment; no boy should ever group up ashamed or in fear of what they are naturally. And it’s these fears, created and encouraged by religion, that keeps so many in the closet and away from Pride Parades and National Coming Out Day. Those boys and men are forced to spend their lives in denial; they’re not allowed the simple joy of falling in love and building a life with someone they don’t want to live without. They’re not allowed, or deathly afraid to, be themselves and express what’s in their hearts. This is just one of the reasons I began my BroTalk series.
THE MORAL OF OUR STORY
So now we come to the most important part of this piece. This is where I address the boys in the audience who are suffering mental and, perhaps, physical pain over their sexual orientation. So everyone else, while this isn’t for you, it’s still important for you to know this, too.
There are many out there who say that coming out and that it’s a hugely important part of your entire existence. It’s a freeing moment as it’s when you are finally the real you, in both public and private. For those lucky enough to come out in a safe place, surrounded by people who love them before and after, I’d agree. When you actually say it, let it pass your lips, a weight is lifted and you breathe easier in the knowledge that nothing changed.
But when coming out would put you in danger, when it could result in injury or homelessness or mental abuse, keep your lips sealed. I know, it’s the anti-message but your safety comes before anything else. There will come a day when you’re in a position to be open out your sexuality and when that day comes, I hope you throw a giant, rainbow-filled party; you’ll deserve that celebration for all you’d suffered.
When you do come out, make sure you do it for yourself and no one else. It’s a personal experience, one that should be done on your terms and conditions. And when you do, I hope you’ll feel reborn and able to take on the world while the pains of your past fall away and are buried under your fabulous new life.
And if you’re wondering whatever became of that ex, his mother throwing him out was just the start of a downward spiral that, last time I was told, he’s still recovering from. If only his mother had been like mine and continued treating him the way every boy should be treated, maybe he’d be better off than he is. Maybe not but I can’t help but see the connection between her ill treatment and the road he took afterward.
If you have any questions you want to ask or topics you’d like me to cover, just shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to do just that.