Monday, October 4, 2010

Trickle Down Homophobia - Gay Teen Suicides

If you're reading this right now and you're having suicidal thoughts, please call The Trevor Project Lifeline 1-866-4utrevor (1-866-488-7386). It's a toll free, confidential, nationwide lifeline for LGBTQ youth.
They also have a website

I received this email today from HRC (Human Rights Campaign):

Dear Lola,

Add your name:

The recent suicides of several gay teenagers have made national headlines. Yet this is the moment – of all moments – that a top Mormon leader decides to broadcast a verbal rampage against gays to millions of viewers.

I couldn't believe it either. Boyd K. Packer, the second-highest leader in the Mormon Church, said in a sermon broadcast to millions yesterday that same-sex attraction is "impure and unnatural" and can be overcome, and that same-sex unions are morally wrong.

Do we need more proof than the suicides of teens as young as 13 that words like these can do unimaginable damage?

We cannot stay silent. By speaking out together, we can show the Mormon Church hierarchy that it has literally risked the lives of children by inciting their tormentors. And we can ensure that the young people who heard this sermon know that it is scientifically wrong and profoundly misguided.

Speaking before 20,000 people and broadcasting to millions more, Packer said same-sex unions are morally wrong and "against God's law and nature" – and that the church hierarchy would continue to support marriage bans like Proposition 8 (which was funded largely by Mormons).

It makes me physically sick to think how many young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender kids had to sit in those pews and listen to that venom.

Comments like these are exactly what makes young LGBT kids think there's no way out but suicide – that their parents will reject them, that their communities will shun them, and that living openly will bring pain or violence – that even God looks on their very identity as a sin to be "overcome."

And these lies fuel the bullying, harassment, and violence that plague our schools.

Packer's lies have been disproven over and over again by science and by the spiritual experience of Americans who know their LGBT neighbors and care about them. We know sexual orientation cannot and should not be changed and that two people falling in love is beautiful, not evil.

But unless we refute these lies whenever groups like the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Mormon Church repeat them – whether through letters like this or projects like HRC's – we risk another young person hearing them and believing that LGBT people are "defective." And that belief contributes to violence and suicide.

Americans are sick of the Mormon hierarchy trying to dictate what they should believe. They know commitment and love when they see it. That's why they are turning away in droves from limitations on their friends' and neighbors' freedom to marry.

Thank you for helping take a stand for the truth.


Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese

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