Thrown Away for Being Gay

Over at ThinkProgress, Zack Ford quotes and verifies a letter from a father disowning his son for being gay. Here’s an excerpt:

Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.

You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.

If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.

Read it in full. It’s heartbreaking.

Yes, I often celebrate here how much LGBT rights are winning. But here’s what we haven’t won: safety for children growing up in families that have been taught to consider their own offspring an abomination if they were gay.

About ten years ago, when I was doing public speaking on marriage equality, I found myself talking to LGBT college kids across the country. The best part was getting to spend time with the kids who volunteered to pick me up from the airport and ferry me to and from my hotel. But I was stunned by how often I heard the same story: This girl or boy's parents had kicked him or her out, cutting all ties, after discovering he or she was gay. Maybe it had happened in high school. Maybe she'd lived in her car for four months, too proud to tell her friends. Maybe he was living on a friend’s couch, attending college every other semester since it took that long to save up UC Riverside's tuition while working as a 7-11 night clerk. Those stories persuaded me that there is indeed something to the hard-to-verify estimates that roughly 20 percent of homeless young people are gay or transgender—far, far more than our roughly 3 percent of the population. It made me grateful to The Point Foundation, which helps fund and mentor these thrown-away kids, giving them hope and connections again.

As Ford notes, the devastation that happens to these kids is why the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer and his ilk are so dangerous. (Jane Mayer profiled Fischer in The New Yorker recently; the excellent article is behind a paywall.) Fischer recently praised the idea of an “underground railroad” that would kidnap children born to same-sex couples; he also came out in support of the ministers who helped the “born again” Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and take her to Nicaragua so that the child would never see her other mother, Janet Jenkins. (Do read the NYT article investigating that case; it's also heartbreaking.) Fischer and others counsel Americans to sever ties with their children and kidnap the children of LGBT parents. 

Rhetoric like that has consequences. It puts teenagers on the street and in harm's way. It tears families apart. Hatred sounds like this:

Have a good birthday and good life.

No present exchanges will be accepted.



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