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Comment: A gay man writes about anxiety and depression caused by religious homophobia

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  1. When people talk about religious hatred, the first thing that comes to my mind is not discrimination against people of faith but discrimination BY people of faith.

    Maybe it’s because it’s far more common?

  2. thanks for sharing your story

  3. That is an extremely powerful and moving account of growing up Gay. As a child and teenager, despite being raised RC, I was lucky enough not to have shared your level of anxiety but your words brought back memories of the turmoil and fear. What is to be done about the many religious schools that are still inflicting emotional torture on our GLBT youth? There seems no end in sight.

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 10 Aug 2013, 1:54pm

    Well written, Gary and thank you. I so identify with much of what you say having grown up in the 50s when homophobia was at it’s zenith and illlegal before 1967. Yet, its legacy lives on, much of it still at the core of the three Abrahamic religions in spite of the enormous strides we have made in such a relatively short period of time. There is much more to be done and we must never give up trying to make life a lot better for those who will come after us.

    1. Abrahamic religions? Really? I am going to spell it out. I.S.L.A.M
      Lets not take a step backwards to appease savages.

      1. Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths of Middle East origin .
        In chronological order of founding these are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Bahá’í Faith.

  5. Anna Hayward 10 Aug 2013, 1:55pm

    I recognise so much of the author’s experience in my own, particularly the fact that even with liberal and caring parents, societal homophobia can still have a devastating effect on young people. I too got wrapped up in fundamentalist Christianity in a vain attempt to find acceptance, and instead found crushing guilt. I got out after 19 years and it was a rough ride.

  6. There is so much that could be about me. Thank you for writing this. In my case, I still battle the demons, but with the help of stories like yours, I am hopeful.

  7. Keith in SALFORD 10 Aug 2013, 2:23pm

    Yes; thank-you for that.

    It mirrors my own tale.

    Now 70-odd, I dumped my Catholicism at 18 for just such a similar story; that was in 1960.


  8. Keith in SALFORD 10 Aug 2013, 2:31pm

    Would you classify Roman Catholicism as a fundamentalist religion..?
    It’s been so long since I went to Mass -50 odd years- that I have forgotten it all, as the meaningless crud it all is.
    It was in my day, fundamentalissimo, what with the Irish Christian Brothers (Christian? .. .. .. there’s a laff for a start…!!!)…with the ‘Hail Mary’ recited on the hour, every hour during the day’s lessons.
    If so, then that garbage, Roman Catholicism, should most definitely be proscribed.
    I have no children for obvious reasons but, by the ‘eck, if I had, I would keep them well away from any religious indoctrination; well away.
    And definitely away from Catholic priests.


    1. George Broadhead 10 Aug 2013, 6:43pm

      Roman Catholicism is not usually described as a fundamentalist religion, but it has all the hallmarks of it, including entrenched hostility to same sex sexual relationships.

      This is how the RC Catechism, which sets out official teachings, describes homosexuality:

      “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity [Cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10], tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

  9. Keith in SALFORD 10 Aug 2013, 2:46pm

    .and very, very, very, very, very, but very definitely AWAY from any Catholic school.


  10. DJ Wynyard 10 Aug 2013, 2:50pm

    ”Homoerotophobia” was coined by Dr Wainwright Churchill in ”Homosexual Behavior Among Males” in 1967.

  11. Sadly, this kind of thing has not gone away- I work with young LGBT people who are still suffering this kind of thing today. Even worse, most of them do not have the support of their familes- THEY are the ones who have rejected them, in the name of religion.

  12. It’s the mindset of fundamentalism that is pure evil.

  13. Religion is the definition of insanity, fear, ignorance and hate.

    It is the result of human conscious and fear, the blessing and curse that is human life. Religion offers hope, an afterlife, for those who are engullfed in fear and sadness for their ultimate fate. It also serves as a perfect mask for sociopaths and psychopaths.

    It is the definition of insanity, fear, ignorance and hate.

  14. A painful but apposite read which strongly echoes my experience (though this was without either the supportive parents or the mad religion). I grew up in a macho Northern environment low on information and high on hatred and demonizing myths re L&G people and I strongly identify with the desperation and self-loathing described here. Abject fear and panic is the common reaction to discovering that you are what you have been taught to despise. Too many young people, and not so young people, still go through this, inside and outside religion.

  15. 99% of all homophobia is religiously inspired. Without the religious ‘taboos’, there would be no homophobia. LGBT people are taught by religion from an early age to be self-loathing. Those who cannot accept their true sexuality turn that angst outwards and project it onto those who represent that which they hate most about themselves. If more could be done to point out the CAUSES of homophobia, perhaps we could erradicate it once and for all.

    1. I believe even if Religion were wiped out homophobia will still reign. This is because of the hyper-macho culture we live in with all its sexist and heterosexist glory, and the fact people are told time and time again that the only purpose of life is to re-produce and so if they can’t re-produce they are obsolete and not needed. There is also a chronic lack of education, leading many people to believe that being gay is un-natural and serves no purpose, even if it isn’t a choice. There is also the problem of the social heirarchy – LGBT are seen as ‘easy targets’ who are known to never defend themselves, fight back, and have a reputation as being ‘weak’ and ‘easy prey’. We must refuse to play the victim and defend ourselves if there is any hope of gaining a shred of respect. They need to learn they can no longer use us as their punching bags whenever they like.

  16. Gay sex is the answer.

  17. I can relate to this. I was an inmate at a fundamentalist Christian school for much of the seventies. It took me years and considerable therapy bills to recover from that. And then New Zealand entered its homosexual law reform phase and the full malignancy of militant fundamentalism became apparent to all New Zealanders. I lost friends and I vowed revenenge by using my inside knowledge of their rhetoric, tactics adn strategy.

  18. Thanks Gary for sharing this. I saw myself in almost every part of your story. My state school allowed fundamentalists to infilatrate when I was only 14 and they led me on a similar path. I was 21 before I `escaped’ and am still (at 56) haunted by what they did. Their message was not just hell-fire, (although that was bad enough), but that I would have a lonely and terrible life (I didn’t) and that gay relationships never last (mine did!).Now our Federal Govt. hires `Chaplains’ to go into state schools!

  19. I’m afraid I was put off by the author’s constant references to LGB. Is he a member of Stonewall by any chance?

    1. The story is about growing up gay by a gay men, so he has no real perception of what it is like to be anything else. None of us know the true struggles Trans people go through, we can only empathize, and people like me don’t want to speak for people we do not understand (per se), we do not want to speak on their behalf because we do not know what it is like. I know it must be frustrating to see the spotlight on G, and having the GBT constantly over-looked, but this man can only speak for himself, his story, his experience.

      We know our T brothers and sisters face exceptional struggles, but gay men also struggle greatly, and he can only speak for himself and his own personal struggle.

      I would love to hear the experiences of trans people growing up, I imagine they would have much greater challenges to over-come than your average gay man, but gay men still have many challenges, and need people to relate to, just as trans people do.

  20. Yep, relate to most of that.
    When you’re thrust into a junior school which pushes religion at you at every turn before you’ve had the opportunity to develop critical faculties, it’s increasingly hard to deprogram the reflexive guilt and self-loathing that comes with it.

    Mine was a perpetual round of hymns and prayers in assembly, RE lessons, weekend jaunts to the local cathedral and “we’re not so worthy as to gather up the crumbs under thy table, oh merciful lord” self-abasement.

    Squaring that with my nacent sexual identity did not come easy.

    It was a bumpy ride but nowadays anyone quoting Leviticus 18 at me can swivel on my middle digit.

    The Bible carries about the same degree of credibility as L Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics”.

  21. There’s a very sinister and very subtle climate that all people are born into, and that climate sends a clear message to everyone that “the gays” are not wanted, and they are not needed. They are not natural, they may be born like that, but they are not needed”. Why? Because we are constantly told that the whole purpose of life is to re-produce, so if someone doesn’t re-produce, that means they are obsolete. I believe the answer lies in education in schools, inclusion and fair representation in the media and office, and the promotion of healthy self-esteem.

    We need to teach LGBT people to be proud and empowered in a world that leaves them powerless and afraid to speak, afraid to step out of the closet, afraid to break the “straight acting” mould because they want to fit in with the cool crowd.

    The unwelcoming and dangerous climate must end – death to sexual aparteid!!

  22. Paul Essex/London 11 Aug 2013, 5:33pm

    Thank you. You have done something I’ve tried and failed to do for many years and put into words my (and probably most other LGB person’s) experience of adolescence, when rather than the development of your hormones meaning a voyage of discovery, it is invariably a voyage of terror and anxiety. My own experience was a CoE family and church which was not as bad as fundamental Christians and my depression did not develop the stage of being Clinical, however, there are a great many things you describe about it which echo in my own memory.

    It’s that experience, and the anxiety that didn’t leave me until well into my late 20s (years after I’d come out), that made me so angry during the SSM debate when listening to bigoted views put forward by people professing to be completely reasonable.

  23. Thank you Gary. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I grew up with the troubled oxymoron of being Catholic and gay and only recently sweated out hierarchical dogmatic Catholicism and reconciled faith with sexuality. I have written an MA on this if anyone is interested in reading.

  24. Religion is a virulent predator seeking the weak and vulnerable.

  25. Ray Crossman 13 Aug 2013, 4:11pm

    Grow up man !!
    If you have any idea what Christianity is you wouldn’t be squeeking on like a demented child.
    Jesus came to rescue you from your sin – accept him and get yourself saved.

    1. Grow up, idiot. If you had any idea what rational thinking is you wouldn’t be a homophobic prat. Your infantile supernatural beliefs came to rationalise your bigotry. Accept that and get yourself a life.

    2. Utter rubbish. I swallowed all that nonsense for years and years having been born again and baptised in the Holy Spirit. It didn’t work! I have a friend who took even more drastic measures: having electrodes stuck to his genitals as part of Christian led aversion therapy. We now realise we were victims of cruel, vicious lies.

    3. Francis McDonagh 4 Sep 2013, 2:29pm

      Jesus, as far as we know -unless we’re fundamentals who think they know – didn’t talk much about sex. But he seems to have been in favour of friendship – and parties with wine.

  26. Well, the first time I had a major attack they put me on xanax but it messed with my head really badly and I had memory issues. My discharge papers noted that while medicated by it I had little to no acknowledgement of externally inflicted bodily harm/pain. What I do remember is waking up the next day with a swollen ankle and multiple bruises that hurry like hell from walking into things or just letting the car door close on me.
    Later, someone recommended me this treatment, and I’m very grateful with it, i can go anywhere i want without problem, no anxiety, no panic attacks, i’m a new person. Read this article, it helped me a lot :

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