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Kathy’s Window: 8 reasons not to marginalise LGBTQ+ people

Kathy shares how meeting real LGBTQ+ people changed her views.

An over-50 Generation Xer sees life through a new lens: Kathy’s Window is where Kathy shares her thoughts on the world through a new lens. From growing up in the 70s and 80s to having three Generation-Z kids, and going through certain experiences in her life, she now sees the world in a different way. Ideas that were considered the norm in the 70s, 80s and 90s are now no longer socially relevant or acceptable. Kathy explores the new ideas through the lens of someone who has been on both sides of the ‘glass’.

WHEN I grew up, there wasn’t much conversation about being gay or lesbian. Being transgender or non-binary or anything else on the LGBTQ+ spectrum were not things I was aware of. Then, when I got deeply involved in religion, we were taught it was wrong. I didn’t really think much of it at the time, although, at one stage, I wondered if I was bisexual, and it caused me deep anguish as I thought it was a terrible sin. What made it terrifying is that the Bible college I went to said that if you had ‘gay feelings’, you had an evil spirit possessing you – it was traumatising, to say the least.

Fast forward several years, and I became more aware of LGBTQ+ people with the advent of the internet and social media. It mostly started with a Facebook friend whom I found out was married to the love of her life – who was a woman. She spoke so highly of their relationship and the tender and faithful love they had for one another. (They are still together and crazy about each other!) At first, I was taken aback and didn’t know how to respond, but that got me thinking and questioning all the things I’d been taught. I mean, we’d been taught that homosexuals only ‘lusted’ – they didn’t know what true love was. (Note: Not all religions or versions of Christianity teach discriminating ideas.)

ALSO READ: What is Pride and why do we celebrate it?

I started to do research on the topic. I studied pro-LGBTQ+ Christians such as Matthew Vines and Kathy Baldock. I listened to Kathy Baldock’s podcasts and was blown away by her ideas. Then I got to meet more LGBTQ+ people on social media and realised how anti-LGBTQ+ statements and actions were hurting and harming them. I learned that they weren’t these supposed ‘deviant’ people – as we were shockingly taught – but they were just normal people who wanted love, partnership and passion and to feel safe in their own bodies. I joined an email subscription service called All Out which asks for donations and support for LGBTQ+ people in countries where they are arrested, killed and discriminated against. It was truly eye-opening and upsetting at the same time.

Now, I’ve become fierce in my support of LGBTQ+ people. This is why:

1. Why does who a person loves or wants a romantic relationship with matter to everyone else? What is unethical or evil about loving another person? It makes no sense. If you’re not harming anyone by loving someone, why is it considered a sin? If two consenting adults enter a relationship with each other, and it’s not necessarily constructed like your relationship, does it mean that it’s evil or wrong? How would you feel if your relationship was illegal, discriminated against or mocked on social media or in your religion? Would you stop loving your partner?

2. The suicide rate amongst LGBTQ+ people is noticeably higher than among straight people. Whether you agree with how an LGBTQ+ person lives their life is not the issue here. By discriminating against them or spreading anti-LGBTQ+ info about them, you are possibly playing a part in one of those suicides. It’s not about agreeing with a person’s ‘lifestyle’; it’s about compassion for a fellow human being.

3. If being gay, queer, or non-CIS-gendered were ‘abnormal’, why have mental health professionals, after much study and research, come to the conclusion that they are not mental illnesses?

4. It has also been observed that trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is very harmful to their mental health. So, things like conversion therapy have caused suicide rates to soar among the LGBTQ+. And many conversion-therapy programmes have shut down because they were ineffective and because the leaders themselves realised how harmful they were to their attendants. Suppressing who you naturally are will eventually take its toll and cause problems in other areas of your life.

5. Saying that we should ‘love the sinner but not the sin’ does not work – it only perpetuates hurt and discrimination. Saying that how someone lives their life (that does not harm anyone) is sinful creates shame and therefore depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.

6. Some people say that being LGBTQ+ comes from some type of childhood trauma, but I’ve discovered that many LGBTQ+ people knew who they were since they were very young and they never suffered any significant childhood trauma but had a happy childhood. (This is not to say that an LGBTQ+ person is immune from trauma or trauma may never have an effect on their sexuality or gender. But it’s not a given and should not be used as a way to say their orientation or gender identity is caused by issues that can be ‘healed’.)

7. It makes a difference to get to know people you are ‘unsure of’ or ‘unfamiliar with’ – it’s very different from reading a book about the subject. When you come face to face with real people who are LGBTQ+, your compassion will rise up and you will see their humanity and not just see them for their gender or sexuality. We are so much more than that – it’s only a part of us.

8. Oftentimes, parents who were once anti-LGBTQ+ changed their views when one of their kids came out to them. When you love a person, you accept them as they are and you see firsthand the struggles that the person may have gone through to get to the point where they are willing to risk rejection, severe discrimination and possibly bullying and physical harm for coming out. It must take an immense amount of courage and self-awareness. Sadly, though, this is not always the case, and parents can reject their kids, threaten them or even kick them out of the house – one of the reasons for the high suicide rate. Yes, there may be cases in which trans or gay kids realise they got it wrong in the struggle to find out who they are as they mature, but those cases aren’t common – and they must come from the kid! Support your kid in finding out who they are even if they change their mind.

ALSO READ: How to understand and raise a transgender child

Parents of LGBTQ+ kids need support too! Don’t feel guilty if you, as a parent, feel out of your league and struggle when your kid first comes out. It’s a big change, can cause you to go through a grieving process, and can take some adjustments. It’s not that you are anti-LGBTQ+ or don’t accept them. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support them. There are many online support groups for parents of LGBTQ+ kids.


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