Back in the day, getting together with a group of my girl friends was quite the undertaking. It didn’t matter where we were going. There was always one crucial question we asked each other: What are you going to wear? Now imagine five girls heading out together. It didn’t matter where we were going. It could be the movies, the mall, or a school dance. Before you could figure out what YOU were going to wear, you needed to know WHAT everyone else was wearing. And of course back then we didn’t have email or cell phones. A simple group text was not an option. You had to call all five girls…most times more than once. Exhausting!
Why was this such an ordeal? Because you didn’t want to stand out! Heaven forbid you wear a cute mini skirt when everyone else was wearing parachute pants. Yes…parachute pants. You haven’t lived unless you have owned a pair of these gems. It was a staple of the 80’s. I had a black pair. If you aren’t from that generation, I will enlighten you (smile). They were pants (of course) made from the material they use for parachutes. They weren’t exactly tight-fitting, but they weren’t really loose either. They had lots of pockets and zippers and were just the coolest thing ever. Like I said…I had a black pair and I wore them with this really cool black and white shirt that also had buttons and zippers on it. I would wear a black and white bandanna as a belt to finish off the outfit. Yes I was skinny enough back then to wear a bandanna as a belt. But I digress…
The last thing you want to be when you are a teen is different. At least that’s true of most teens. There are the exceptions of course. And if after going through all that work to coordinate an outfit, someone veered off track…that was grounds for termination of friendship…at least for a period of time.
Teens want to fit in with their peers. I would venture to say that goes into adulthood as well. No one wants to be the odd man out. Many LGBTQ people figure out that they are not like everyone else usually around puberty. This is a difficult time any way, but add this to the mix and it’s really hard. And when they do get the courage to let their loved ones or friends know, a common thing they hear is: “Oh you aren’t really gay. You just want to be different. You are just doing it for attention.”
Teens don’t want a target on their back. Doing it for attention? Here is the attention that people I personally know have gotten for being LGBTQ:
Expelled from Christian school
Fired from jobs
Made to sleep in a tent outside their house
Kicked out of their home
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
A place that some can find that rest is in community with other believers. The LGBTQ folks that I know that are believers have had the following said to them:
You are no longer welcome at this church
You can no longer serve
You are Evil
You are an Abomination
God hates you
You are disgusting
Your heart is black
You aren’t praying hard enough
You don’t have enough faith
You are possessed by a demon
I know a transgender woman who went through 30 exorcisms because she was told she had a demon in her. 30. Guess what? Nothing changed. How’s that for rest? Unfortunately this behavior in many instances pushes them away from God.
Ready to sign up? It’s not something they choose, it’s not something they do to be different, and it’s not something they do for attention.
And after all of this happens to them and they stick up for themselves and fight for their rights they are told that they are whiny and entitled. Is it any wonder some suffer from depression and anxiety?? Can we just stop for a moment and remember that these are PEOPLE? Can we stop and think that maybe…just maybe…we should get to know their stories before we spout off about how sick and tired we are hearing them complain about what’s happening to them? I’ve been seeing a lot of this on Facebook lately. Maybe we should consider if something is helpful before we post it.
Let’s be a light in lives that sometimes feel dark. Let’s be like Jesus and be a place of rest for the weary. Let’s show them that we are for them…not against them. It doesn’t feel very loving when your existence is made into an issue.
And love matters…