Around 1993 or 1994, an Orthodox child of 12 or 13 attended a small mission parish where the priest conducted a weekly Bible study for that age group after the Divine Liturgy. The program was basic: they read Genesis together in sequence, week by week, with commentary by the priest and discussion by the young people.
There came the Sunday when they reached Genesis 19.
The priest gave a standard God-condemns-homosexuality explanation of the text: he spoke calmly, dispassionately, matter-of-factly—but God-condemns-homosexuality enough to wipe out a whole city.
The priest was the child’s own father. Me.
At almost 18 my beloved firstborn came out to me as gay, and told me in that same conversation that struggles with suicide began during that very Bible study. The shock when a child suddenly discovers—from one’s own father’s lips—that God had obliterated an entire city from the face of the earth over that child’s sexual orientation became almost too much for the child to live with.
The oceans of tears that I have shed from then till now, even as I write this foreword, do not compare to my child’s suffering.
This is the same child about which I wrote in “Transgenderism” Isn’t a Thing.
Pardon my language: there is no fucking “good news” in a “Gospel” that makes children want to kill themselves.
We as Church must get this right. Too many lives depend on it.
Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editor
Gay and Bi Youth Four Times More Likely to Self-Harm Than Straight People
by Ella Braidwood
Gay, lesbian and bisexual young people experience higher rates of depressive symptoms—and are four times more likely to self-harm—according to a new study.
The study, led by University College London, found that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have symptoms of depression from the age of ten, which then persist into their early twenties.
The research, which surveyed 4,828 people born in the 1990s, concluded that by the age of 18 LGB people are twice as likely to fit the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of depression.
It found that, at the age of 21, LGB individuals were more than four times as likely to self-harm with “suicidal intent.”
The data, published on Tuesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, also concluded that depressive symptoms increase at a higher rate through adolescence for LGB people than for straight individuals.
A spokesperson for the research told PinkNews it did not include a question to specifically identify trans people because it focused on sexuality and not gender identity.
However, the spokesperson added that these individuals may still be included in the data, “but they wouldn’t have been identified as such.”
Some 625 people (13 percent) of individuals in the survey identified with a sexuality other than heterosexuality.
Researchers behind the study said that, in light of the findings, mental health workers and doctors should not assume that patients are straight—and instead use more inclusive language or treatment methods.
“Our findings suggest that clinicians who encounter young people, whether in primary or secondary care, sexual health services, the emergency department, or as school nurses, should be mindful about sexuality in considering the wider context for depressive symptoms or self-harm,” said co-author of the study Alexandra Pitman, a senior clinical lecturer at UCL’s psychiatry department.
“Clinicians should use language and questions that reflect openness about sexuality, and not assume heterosexuality, and they should be aware that a young person who identifies as not exclusively heterosexual may have struggled with mental health problems from early in development.