We have seen several reports predicting, and now tragically confirming, an inevitable rise in domestic violence when victims—almost always children, teens, and women—are forced into confinement 24/7 with their abusers.
What I have not seen acknowledged in the public forum is the predicament of LGBTQ children and teens stuck at home with parents who—while perhaps not “abusive” in any conventional sense of the word, and while providing all the necessities of bodily life—fail to cultivate a home environment where their queer child can thrive emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. For too many of these young people, “home” looks and feels nothing like “sweet home.”
This failure can take a number of forms.
Perhaps the parents have created an atmosphere where the child simply feels that they cannot come out.
Perhaps the child has come out, but the parents’ response makes clear that no future conversation on the topic is possible, that no professional or peer supports of any kind will be sought for the child or for the parents themselves, that life will go on “as normal,” as if the child had not come out at all. What for the child is the single most momentous event so far in their short life—coming out to their parents—is essentially ignored, treated as if it had not happened, received as something dark and sinister in the child’s development.
Perhaps the parents have taken steps to ensure proactively that their queer child have no access to the concrete and virtual things necessary for them to have a meaningful life—nay, a bearable existence day by day.
Such children are statistically at far greater risk of self-harm—or worse—than others of their age group.
Such children normally find their only escape to a semblance of normalcy and acceptance in school, in extracurricular activities, in socializing with friends.
Such children are now imprisoned day and night with their parents. They see no end in sight.
With their usual escape routes blockaded by the requirements of social distancing during this terrible pandemic, their will to survive is at risk of deteriorating rapidly. The ultimate Escape Route emerges from the mists of the far horizon and comes into sharper focus, close enough in some cases for them to peer over the edge of the abyss: they must then decide, yea or nay, for another day. God grant that they decide yea!
Join me in fervent prayer to our Lord, and to His Most-Pure Mother and ours, for these young people.
If you know or suspect that a young person in your family or social circle finds themselves in this straitjacketed existence, reach out to them with a word of love, support, encouragement—but in a way undetectable by their parents.
If you yourself are this young person, and you need someone to communicate with, write to me, Giacomo, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only person with access to this email account. I’m Orthodox and gay. I have LGBTQ family members. I have extensive experience providing support to LGBTQ people of all ages, both in person and over the internet. They consider me a good listener. I don’t care if you’re Orthodox or not, Christian or not: I’d love to hear from you. I will always write back as promptly as possible, and I will never tell anyone that you have contacted me.
You are more precious and more beloved in the eyes of God, of His Most-Pure Mother, and of all the saints and angels of heaven—just as you are—than you can possibly imagine. And I, in my humble and inadequate way, I love you, too.