Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"I'm going by the word of God"
September 4, 2014 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Last month, a video of a teenager coming out to his family went viral, (trigger warning), now viewed almost 6 million times. The young man who is disowned and abused in that video, Daniel Pierce, after receiving more than $90,000 in donations to live on his own, has now asked that donations be re-directed to Lost-N-Found Youth, a shelter in Georgia for LGBT Homeless Youth. Rolling Stone profiles The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families
posted by roomthreeseventeen (103 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah yes, nothing like religious families cherry-picking the bits of the religion that suit them.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:46 AM on September 4 [15 favorites]


These are not people overly concerned with the message of Christ. These are people preoccupied with what other people will think of them. Selfish, ignorant, spiteful, and deeply unchristian.
posted by echocollate at 7:48 AM on September 4 [73 favorites]


echocollate: "These are people preoccupied with what other people will think of them."

Well, that approach clearly failed, because they surely won't be well thought of now.
posted by chavenet at 7:49 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Someone needs to take religion back from the religious.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:50 AM on September 4 [15 favorites]


because they surely won't be well thought of now.

...except by the only people they're worried about: the people who agree with them.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:52 AM on September 4 [21 favorites]


~These are people preoccupied with what other people will think of them.
~Well, that approach clearly failed, because they surely won't be well thought of now.


These people rarely venture outside their insular religious community, so, in fact, they will be seen as good Christians shunning the devil in their midst. Also: Tough love. Something that's very popular in those circles.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:53 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Well, that approach clearly failed, because they surely won't be well thought of now.

Perhaps they will, by people whose opinions they seem to value over the well-being of their son. People who not only take "if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away." literally but extend this rule to encompass other people. Or, what has been already said. On second preview: twice.
posted by hat_eater at 7:54 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


I can't watch, but it occurs to me I will have a very hard time accepting if my sprog comes out as a neo-conservative.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:55 AM on September 4 [6 favorites]



My heart aches for this young man. Absolutely aches.

I saw so much of this - kids my son would date in high school frequently came from households like this, and the damage done to these kids is immeasurable.

This young man is strong, and he's got community support now. Thousands upon thousands of other young people do not and....

Christian Charity, indeed.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:57 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


Clip-n-save: THEN you are doing it wrong and you need to rethink your philosophy from first principals.
posted by shothotbot at 7:57 AM on September 4 [48 favorites]


That video exchange is so horribly sad. Just the fact that these people can so easily turn their backs on their own flesh and blood over his sexuality proves that they don't have a fucking clue what the book they are supposedly obeying is trying to tell them. In their attempt to be "Christian" they are actually being the farthest thing from Christian they could possibly be.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:02 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


These are not people overly concerned with the message of Christ. These are people preoccupied with what other people will think of them. Selfish, ignorant, spiteful, and deeply unchristian.

I like "oh, what a Christlike thing to say."
posted by phunniemee at 8:02 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Sometimes, for some kinds of people, I wish Hell were real.

Then, sometimes, I think about how they live their lives in terror and hostility, and so they've already made their own Hell. I wish it made me feel better.
posted by rtha at 8:03 AM on September 4 [33 favorites]


A self-described Satanist group should put out a series of videos making these parents honorary members, thanking them for furthering the cause of evil.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:08 AM on September 4 [23 favorites]


If you are interested in an analysis about the peculiar corner that Evangelicals have painted themselves into over GLBT issues, Fred Clack offers The Gay-Hatin' Gospel. Clark, being a left-leaning Evangelical, has some things to say about how badly this works as politics and doctrine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:10 AM on September 4 [23 favorites]


The family members involved in the intervention, which he says was "driven by my grandparents," have not contacted the media, but they left Pierce a voicemail telling him to remove the video of the incident from YouTube.

um why don't y'all just let god sort out what happens when you're a homophobe caught abusing someone on video which then gets posted to youtube. cowards.
posted by twist my arm at 8:10 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Sometimes, for some kinds of people, I wish Hell were real.

Then, sometimes, I think about how they live their lives in terror and hostility, and so they've already made their own Hell. I wish it made me feel better.


Problem is, they always drag down other people into that Hell in a bid to justify their choices and prove they are "right."

I hate stories like this -- just accept your children the way they are and you make your own paradise...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:12 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


They disowned him and then asked for something. I've got lightbulbs in my trash can brighter than this.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 8:17 AM on September 4 [23 favorites]


The unrestrained hate is just staggering to watch. V glad this young man now has somewhere safe to live
posted by Faintdreams at 8:20 AM on September 4


"I have known that you were gay since you were a tiny little boy" Yet...it is a choice? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, lady. I suspect that this video getting 6 million views is going to be a hell of a lot more embarrassing than letting their gay son crash in their basement. Dummies.
posted by mike_bling at 8:30 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


That was heartbreaking. I wish their faces were visible for purposes of maximum shaming.
posted by GrapeApiary at 8:31 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Are there places that specifically work with finding "foster parents" for teens who are thrown out of their religious homes for being gay? Because that would sort-of be right up my alley.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:35 AM on September 4 [34 favorites]


This is half of the country. Ugh.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:42 AM on September 4


“I have gay friends, but that’s different, they aren’t related to me.”

Well, if that woman actually has gay friends - ten to one that they’re more like that gay coworker she talks to from time to time and trots out for brownie points whenever it’s convenient - I’m willing to bet that they’re not gonna want to be her friends for much longer.

“I don’t want people thinking that I condone this sort of thing.”

So she cares more about what people think than about than keeping her kid safe. Stellar parenting skills right there.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 8:42 AM on September 4 [10 favorites]


Lost N Found Youth is an AMAZING organization. I've been keenly aware of it from its beginning and know several people very closely involved. Some of the personal stories that I have heard and witnessed that they have been involved with have literally saved lives.... It is at the top of my list for donations....I'm close enough to send clothes, things for their thriftshop in addition to cash.... If you know anyone in ATL, please encourage them to donate their goods to them to help raise funds and everybody should hit the donation page. These folks are giving these young people hope.
posted by pearlybob at 8:49 AM on September 4 [14 favorites]


"and they'll know we are christian cuz our love, cuz our looove..."
posted by bruce at 8:50 AM on September 4


Jesus never said a word about homosexuality; just like the Koran doesn't say anything about female circumcision.

Religion is a powerful thing, because it purports to answer the most unanswerable of questions: "Why am I here?" "Where did I come from?" "What is my purpose?" etc. etc. Once locked into the relief that religion provides, it's easy to feel cocooned by dogma; that's when the sociopathic crazies - i.e. the manipulative pastors, imams, monks, etc. take over and spin their grab for power among the words of holy books.

Little-by-little, these Neanderthal ideas will die off, but in the meantime they have to be fought and resisted for the poison to humanity that they are.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:50 AM on September 4 [6 favorites]


Wow. I'm in tears and that video is going to stick with me for a long, long time. I guess my social circle has allowed me to believe that it really is getting better, and that coming out doesn't have to lead to such heartache anymore. Really, really eye-opening stuff.
posted by something something at 8:50 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I can't watch, but it occurs to me I will have a very hard time accepting if my sprog comes out as a neo-conservative.

None of them come out neoconservative. For the first few years they are closer to Dadaist performance artists.
posted by Hoopo at 8:51 AM on September 4 [20 favorites]


What really surprised me was the point at which they kick him out of the house and then express disappointment that he's chosen to move out. You can hear it in Daniel's reaction too, the wait-a-minute, are we actually clear on what's going on here moment.

Disgust, hate, attempts at conversion, appeals to heaven and hell ... those I expected. I didn't expect cognitive dissonance so complete that you could disown your son and convince yourself that he's disowning you. They want to disown gay-Daniel while at the same time not disowning Daniel. They might as well be saying "Look at what you're making us do." I guess I expected the family to be making a hard choice between their son and their religious beliefs. I'm shocked that it was so easy for them. It's like they didn't have to make a decision at all.
posted by cotterpin at 8:55 AM on September 4 [20 favorites]


I don't know why Fundamentalist Christians object so much to things like "Sharia law" seems like it'd be right up their alley.
But, really, groups of people people are more alike then different despite whatever prefixes they choose to put in front of their humanity.
posted by edgeways at 8:56 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Are there places that specifically work with finding "foster parents" for teens who are thrown out of their religious homes for being gay? Because that would sort-of be right up my alley.

It looks like these programs are being developed around the country, e.g., South Florida, Bay Area, Southern California, Atlanta (as pearlybob mentioned above). Maybe search for "foster parent LGBT youth" + your locality and see what comes up.

This is something I've been considering I'd like to do, too.
posted by scody at 8:56 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


These are folks who are incapable of being shamed. I know people like them, I have known people like them, my partner's dad and mom (dad now deceased) were/are people like them, my parents would have been people like them (but weren't only because I stuffed myself so deep in the closet that they were both out of my lives before I ever came out) -- and they truly and honestly do not give a rat's ass what we think of them or anyone else outside their towns/neighborhoods/churches/social circles.

I have been with my husband for almost 15 years and his mother still refuses to acknowledge that we're, you know, married. She probably never will acknowledge it. And she lives in a state and a city where almost 100% of the population would back her up on that. For that matter, so would most of the state we live in (we're lucky to live in a city that's slightly more tolerant than the rest of the state). It will be a very long time before any of that changes in these locations, and in some places (like where this poor teen was unfortunate enough to grow up) it may never change.

That's the reality behind all of the great news we've been seeing in the last few years on same-sex marriage and being LGBT: there's still a hell of a lot of hate, and hate is a self-renewing resource, and unfortunately its product is (among other things) a hell of a lot of homeless gay youth with nowhere to turn once they get to the cities that are supposed to be gay meccas. Sure, there are services, and thank heaven for those. But those services are vastly underfunded, and they can't help everyone, and the help they can provide is spread very thin. Reading the Rolling Stone piece:

The U.S. government spends more than $5 billion annually on homeless-assistance programs, yet federal laws allocate less than five percent to homeless children and youth specifically (though some money also makes its way to them through more generalized programs under agencies like HUD and the Department of Labor). Most of the dedicated funds are allocated through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA), which expired last September. "This is the first time it has not been reauthorized on time since 1988," says Gregory Lewis, executive director of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund, who is working with Congress to ensure that RHYA will include a nondiscrimination clause. Currently, Lewis tells me, "there are no legal federal protections in place to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in RHYA programs." At one residential placement facility in Michigan, LGBT teens were made to wear orange jumpsuits to "warn" other residents about their sexuality.

I was damn lucky at that age that I had a protector outside of my family who cared for me deeply, no matter who I was -- or I very likely would have wound up homeless if I'd dared come out of the closet at the "wrong" time or place too.
posted by blucevalo at 9:01 AM on September 4 [31 favorites]


Good. Grief. You'd think children were easy to come by.
I'm shocked that it was so easy for them. They kind of made it into something he was doing to them in their minds. Don't know how, but that's what they did.
posted by glasseyes at 9:01 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


> I didn't expect cognitive dissonance so complete that you could disown your son and convince yourself that he's disowning you. They want to disown gay-Daniel while at the same time not disowning Daniel.

They probably expected him to change his mind and not be gay anymore so that he could continue living at home with his family. And they probably still believe that they gave him a perfectly good option and he opted to desert them in favor of his chosen gay lifestyle.
posted by something something at 9:03 AM on September 4 [19 favorites]


Adding: what are the chances that that RHYA reauthorization happens if/when the GOP takes the Senate in November? I'm not holding my breath.
posted by blucevalo at 9:03 AM on September 4


There's something poetic in the kid's decision to donate the money to charity. He's inadvertently doing a better job of living up to Christian ideals than his parents ever will.

Thanks for the trigger warning on the video. This circulated around my facebook feed earlier this week, and I still haven't been able to watch the entire thing.
posted by schmod at 9:04 AM on September 4 [6 favorites]


>They probably expected him to change his mind and not be gay anymore so that he could continue living at home with his family. And they probably still believe that they gave him a perfectly good option and he chose to desert them in favor of his chosen gay lifestyle.

"Be straight or we'll disown you!" Yes, that was a threat I would have expected.

"Be straight or you'll disown us!" is a threat that still I am having trouble wrapping my mind around.
posted by cotterpin at 9:05 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


There was a man who had two sons. One son left home, went to Vegas and blew his wad in one long weekend. Having nothing to eat except week old shrimp scrounged from hotel buffets when no one was looking, he thought about his life and realized he'd been an idiot on a grand scale. He decided he'd limp on home and try to find some way to make it right.

When he reached home, his father was waiting in the doorway. The father called his own son a sinner, a degenerate who'd blown his money on cheap whores, cheap man-whores, and called him a faggot. The father said the son was going to hell. The father told the son that he could go to hell. The other son looked on and sneered. The father left his prodigal son bleeding on the stoop and told him that if he ever came back he should remember that the Father had a shotgun hanging over the mantelpiece.

I don't remember finding that story in the Bible, but hundreds of thousands of Christian households seem convinced it's the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:06 AM on September 4 [41 favorites]


There is nothing my children could do that would cause me to abuse or disown them.
posted by tommasz at 9:07 AM on September 4 [9 favorites]


Oh. Hello, cousin's and my childhoods. Clearly the same things are still being taught in fundamentalist churches, because that was word-for-word and escalation-for-escalation what I dealt with as a girl-child with my parents and what my gay cousin dealt with amongst his. Right down to the both of us being kicked out for our "choices" as soon as our parents could do so without looking too bad in front of others, i.e. roundabouts age 18. Plus the tactic of "YOU OWE US IT'S YOUR FAULT".

My choice for which I was punished? Endometriosis. It was interpreted as a punishment of god for sleeping around. The endo pain started with my period, around age 11.

They might as well be saying "Look at what you're making us do."

This way they'll be able to tell everyone how horrible their son is and how hurt their feelings are at being disowned. Par for the course. (Also been there and done that.)

"Be straight or you'll disown us!" is a threat that still I am having trouble wrapping my mind around.

It's not for their son. They don't give a shit about the person they begat. The shits they give are only about what other people will think of them. "Be straight or you'll disown us" is essentially "reflect well on us or we'll tell everybody it's your fault they see you as a bad person so it won't reflect badly on us."

Fundamentalist religious beliefs are essentially disease vectors for narcissism, is my theory.
posted by fraula at 9:07 AM on September 4 [77 favorites]


Since it was a delayed reaction, two days after he told them, I wonder if the parents were acting on advice from their priest? There was something of a script in operation -"you know I'll always love you" - which broke down under the reality of what they were asking of him and his reaction to that.
posted by glasseyes at 9:08 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


I've shared on here before that my son had 4 sets of gay dads in his preschool class of 14, I was so proud of that!! When he was younger he would talk equally about marrying "Will" or "Ella" one day. Now at 7, he's more into chasing the girls but thinks nothing about his many gay "aunts" and "uncles" showing affection in front of him. I can't say that I was that enlightened at 7. My 14 yr old daughter is FIRST CHAIR OBOE (sorry, I HAVE to brag a bit) in the Atlanta LGBT community concert band. This has been such an amazing experience for her, the whole community opened their arms and embraced her purple haired, boy crazy self and they are pushing her to some real greatness on her instrument!! She loves it! Moving from the burbs to midtown was the BEST thing I could have done for my children. The next generation WILL make the difference but WE have to keep up the fight, raise our children so that they are sheltered from vitriol and poison that assholes can spew. That is so important..... Protect and love the kids put out, teach and love the ones that we can. Be the example. I hope that I will see it in my lifetime....
posted by pearlybob at 9:15 AM on September 4 [23 favorites]


Another punch-in-the-gut story on this topic, this one from Jeffrey Rudell. (I suggest having tissues at the ready.)
posted by scody at 9:15 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


From the Lost-N-Found Youth "History" page:
Founded by Rick Westbrook, Art Izzard, and Paul Swicord after each of them experienced being turned away when attempting to place queer youth into local shelters and youth aid programs, the three resolved that something needed to be done to address the immediate need.

They called a public LGBT town hall meeting and invited these local homeless youth support agencies to express outrage and determine what resources existed. The meeting made clear that no organization was specifically actively working to take LGBT homeless youth off the street. Rick, Art, Paul and others assembled in November with the support of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to establish a privately funded emergency shelter, and the Saint Lost and Found project (now Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc.) was born.
In the face of ghastly behavior or even indifference to the plight of those affected, it's good to see people step in to support those failed by others in our human community.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:18 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Maybe search for "foster parent LGBT youth" + your locality and see what comes up.

Just found this place, very very proud of my home city right now. (According to the Herald, of all things, it is "one of only four group homes in the nation that cater to youth who have been in one way or another abused because of their sexual orientation.")

I would so do this if I didn't have to work all the time.
posted by Melismata at 9:19 AM on September 4


"I have known that you were gay since you were a tiny little boy" Yet...it is a choice? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, lady.

I had to stop watching at that point. The amount of mental gymnastics it takes to say a thing like that and then follow it up with the hateful shit she said to her own kid? That's astounding. What a terrible person she is. What terrible people they all are, the kind of people that do this.
posted by palomar at 9:19 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


IF your religion makes you think any people are spiritually inferior to others [...] THEN you are doing it wrong and you need to rethink your philosophy from first principals.

This might fit with your world view but there is nothing to say it is true, and plenty of religions have this written in. The nature of religion (divine revelation, faith based, made up, whatever) and the varied routes to the development of belief systems means that there is plenty of potential for looking down on others. You might not like it but its still the case that its as valid as the ones that don't, even if not very nice.
posted by biffa at 9:29 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


There is nothing my children could do that would cause me to abuse or disown them.

This. Unconditional love comes without conditions. We say "I love you" a lot in our house and if that phrase is ever followed by the word "but," that's gonna be a discussion every time.

What will it take for these people to get that? A guy who comes down the sky and does stuff to catch peoples' attention ranging from incredible magic tricks all the way to getting himself horribly tortured?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:36 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


"Religion" means a lot of things. The kind of religion on display in this video has nothing to do with spirituality, meaning, answers to deep questions, ethics, or anything involving thinking; it's purely tribal behavior.
posted by uosuaq at 9:51 AM on September 4 [7 favorites]


Religion is all about tribal behavior. It doesn't "mean a lot of things", it means my dogma which distinguishes me from your dogma, and it is the antithesis of thinking or answering deep questions -- for they have already been answered by default.
posted by smidgen at 9:59 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Would it maybe be possible to avoid having this turn into a general discourse on religion and its pitfalls? This is a horrible situation and this young man is very brave and deserves support and I totally see how his family's background is relevant and problematic but making this a conversation about how all religion sucks and religion naturally and inevitably leads to things being horrible is maybe not relevant and leads to fighting that has nothing to do with the actual post.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:07 AM on September 4 [20 favorites]


One memory of my step-dad that has always stuck with me is driving home with him through the small hours after some excursion or other, when I was coming into my teen years - maybe I was 14. After a while driving in silence, he spoke up and quietly explained that no matter what happened - literally no matter what - he would always be prepared to drop everything and come to pick me up, no matter where from and under what circumstances. He also promised to bail me out of jail, no matter what it took to get the money together. He also promised to help me a hide a body if it ever came to that. I believed him.

My step-dad wasn't my blood relative, and saw a hundred lacks and weaknesses in me. I know that sometimes, and sometimes in fury or with bitterness, he saw me, my sister and mother as the cause of his downfall in life, and I've always wondered if he blamed us as he lay alone, dying from a stress-induced heart-attack. Yet still he was that loyal to me, that unconditionally prepared to help me and to accept any mistake, any disagreement, any bratty insult from me, because he accepted the responsibility of having me as his son.

I often remember that when I think of him, and makes me feel so lucky to have had that, despite the kind of man he was in other ways. And it makes the thought of having to deal with this kind of... betrayal, this rejection, and above all this disassociation, this turning away, from the people who gave you life, kept you alive, cleaned up your shit, saw you laugh and cry and grow and become a person and gain a personality, your own aspects and strengths and weaknesses and flaws and desires... to have had that, and then to turn him away like a god-damned unwanted door to door salesman, with such bleating, self-pitying rationalizations, all while clutching their respectability and Christianity and ever-affirmed Goodness to their chests...

Ugh. I curse it and condemn it too much to catch it in words.
posted by Drexen at 10:09 AM on September 4 [48 favorites]


a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population

(emphasis mine)
posted by en forme de poire at 10:11 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: fighting that has nothing to do with the actual post.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:13 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Religion Human behavior is all about tribal behavior.

Where we draw the line separating our tribe from the "other" is highly variable, as is our treatment of and attittudes toward the other.
posted by univac at 10:21 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, nothing like religious families cherry-picking the bits of the religion that suit them.
The difference is not that some people cherry pick and others don't; it's that some cherry pick the morally awful parts and others cherry pick other parts.
posted by Flunkie at 10:33 AM on September 4 [6 favorites]


If you are interested in an analysis about the peculiar corner that Evangelicals have painted themselves into over GLBT issues, Fred Clack offers The Gay-Hatin' Gospel. Clark, being a left-leaning Evangelical, has some things to say about how badly this works as politics and doctrine.

I'm about 30% of the way through this and it is very interesting, thanks. I grew up just outside of Birmingham, AL going to a small United Methodist church that was not (particularly) evangelical so his term "Evangelical Unilateral" is very helpful in understanding evangelical belief compared to "Wesleyan Quadrilateral" thinking, which is what I learned.
posted by ndfine at 10:34 AM on September 4


What completely enrages me is that, like, Jackie, the hard-driving college Catholic sorority girl whose parents cut her off? Not that I'm anywhere near Boise, but it would have been literally the most trivial thing in the world for her to come live in my spare bedroom while she finished college. The additional cost for food would have been absorbable for us; I could probably even throw together $2500 for a beater car. (I couldn't afford someone's tuition or health insurance, but those are things you could sort out with the school.) And my extended family would have welcomed her with open arms and included her in all our holidays and celebrations and come and been dorks at parents' weekend and helped her arrange for therapy and made sure Santa came to the right house for her and we even go to a Catholic church with a fairly LGBT-friendly pastor. (But it would be okay if she never wanted to go to church again and it would also be okay if she wanted to be, like, UU, and we would all go to UU church with her because it seems like OBVIOUSLY MORE IMPORTANT TO JESUS that this young woman have a supportive family than that we go to the "right" church.)

I mean, this is like foster parenting with cheat codes on.

Do campus LGBT groups help kids like this find homes? Because I am REALLY GOOD at momming, I could mom the heck out of some kid in need of a mom. Taking in a young foster child with behavioral or health problems is a really serious decision, but a 19-year-old doing well in college? That seems like an absolute no-brainer. The hard parts are done; they're potty trained and survived adolescence; they just need food and shelter and loving support while they launch into the world.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:42 AM on September 4 [62 favorites]


Do campus LGBT groups help kids like this find homes?

I hope they offer legal advice so those kids could take their parents to court -- how often does a hate crime get perpetrated by a first-degree blood relative (aside from so-called "honor killings" I mean)...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:50 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Oh, YES! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have a foster-care house! There is a God! (She's theirs!)
posted by gusandrews at 11:41 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


Well, the 19-year-old Eyebrows is talking about is over the age of majority, which means that (as my understanding has it) her parents can disown her for literally any reason.

One problem is that in many cases 18-22yo kids are increasingly still dependent on their parents in real ways. For example, getting Federal and/or college-specific financial aid to recognize that you no longer have a relationship with your parents is next to impossible, meaning there's a good chance you won't be able to afford to finish college if your parents cut you off partway through (or won't pay for you to go). Jackie ended up being able to work her way through, but she had the benefit of some eventual financial support from her university, and even then she was basically homeless during that time. In general today's job market for young people without college degrees is going to make affording to finish school a difficult, tenuous proposition even if you transfer to the cheapest community college you can find (which is probably not all that cheap anymore). I know several people who, despite the saccharine common narrative that everything gets better in college and you can finally be free to be yourself, delayed coming out of the closet until after college for precisely this reason. Anyway, I'm not sure what the solution here is but this is definitely a real way queer people can be failed by the system.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:47 AM on September 4 [14 favorites]


The very first thing his mom says in the video is "I have known you were this way since you were an itty bitty baby." The next thing she says is that it's a choice. WITH NO SENSE OF IRONY.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:01 PM on September 4 [9 favorites]


I think it's ironic in the video that a bunch of divorced people (which the Bible has pretty clear opinions about) are talking about the choice of being gay being problematic for their Christianity. Talk about cherry picking...
posted by shen1138 at 12:12 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


It is easier for a Prius to pass through a pair of skinny jeans, than for a bigoted asshole to enter the kingdom of God.
posted by basicchannel at 12:15 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


The Atlanta Journal Constitution's headline on this is "Georgian's video of gay intervention goes viral."

I think "intervention" is a fanciful way to describe what happens in that video.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:17 PM on September 4


oceanjesse: This is half of the country. Ugh.

If you're talking about homophobia, that hasn't been the case for a few years:

Feb. 22, 2010: Poll Suggests America Has Turned A Corner On Homophobia
For the first time, the CNN/Time poll shows more Americans don't think homosexuality is morally repugnant than do. For more than 30 years, since 1978, a majority of respondents to the poll have said "homosexual relationships between consenting adults is morally wrong," while a minority have said homosexuality "not a moral issue."

That is, until this Presidents Day Weekend, when 50% of respondents said homosexuality is not a moral issue, while 48% said that it was morally wrong. Two percent said they had no opinion.
And a March 2013 Washington Post/ABC Poll reported that 58% of respondents though it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry, and 62% thought being homosexual "is just the way some people are" (as compared to being a personal choice).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:21 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to take religion God back from the religious.

FTFY.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:25 PM on September 4


Yet...it is a choice?

I've come to realize that for these dinosaurs, 'being gay' and 'acting gay' are the same thing. Since one chooses, or not, to act on one's sexual impulses, therefore one 'chooses' to be gay.

Utter bullshit, obviously.

LGBT teens were made to wear orange jumpsuits to "warn" other residents about their sexuality.

Pink triangles, orange jumpsuits, what's the difference?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:35 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, nothing like religious families cherry-picking the bits of the religion that suit them.

Well, they could have obsessed about Lot and his daughters.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:38 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


We live in the Midwest, where my kid just graduated from a charter high school that describes itself publicly as taking in kids who have been bullied in their prior schools, because if the school advertised itself as being what it really is--a school centering LGBT students--it wouldn't be long for this world.

I was saddened but not surprised by the video, because a huge proportion of the students at my daughter's high school--perhaps half--have spent time homeless or in foster care after being thrown out by their families. In particular, there are trans/gender-nonconforming kids who were kicked out by their parents at extremely young ages--9, 10. There are kids who were bullied in schools since first grade, and blamed for their victimhood by school administrators.

I'm amazed by what my daughter's high school does to re-engage students whose education effectively ended midway though elementary school, and perpetually worried for its future, as the school is under constant threat of being closed due to the underperformance of the students on standardized tests. If only the bureaucracy looked at *improvement* in individual students' abilities instead of absolute scores, or took into account the fact that so many students are living in such unstable, challenging circumstances. . .

A lot of good is done at my kid's high school by a small but regular number of college interns and volunteers. You don't need to be ready to commit to being a foster parent to help out LGBT+ youtng people in marginal life circumstances. Find your local LGBT youth center or homeless shelter or school and give kids some of your time. If you can't locate any such thing, write to the nearest LGBT community center and ask if there's some way you can help.
posted by DrMew at 12:40 PM on September 4 [12 favorites]


who were kicked out by their parents at extremely young ages--9, 10

How are these 'parents' not locked up?

Or maybe they are?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:44 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


But it becomes so natural to vilify parents who've abdicated­ their duties or alienated their kids that it is often forgotten how very hard it can be to change one's worldview in the face of deeply ingrained religious beliefs. "It's easy to see kids as victims and parents as perpetrators," says Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project. "But most parents would not want to make a Sophie's choice between their faith and their child. These are parents who have been given misinformation for years.

The quote above is from the Rolling Stone article and may be a window into how these parents get to this place.
posted by edbles at 12:46 PM on September 4


"It's easy to see kids as victims and parents as perpetrators,"

Being a victim yourself doesn't absolve you of blame when you victimize others. It may explain the behaviour, but doesn't excuse it. And now I have to go because I'm alternating between rage and sorrow here.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:49 PM on September 4 [6 favorites]


But most parents would not want to make a Sophie's choice between their faith and their child.

Unless the faith is holding guns to their heads, it's not really Sophie's choice.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:56 PM on September 4 [17 favorites]


filthy light thief, that's good news in some respects but the 2010 poll is a rounding error (or, I bet, a 95% confidence interval) away from "half the country" believing that homosexuality is morally wrong. Support for gay marriage is also great, but many people compartmentalize between things they think should be legal vs. things they would accept from their own children, so it's not a good proxy in that sense.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:01 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Hard to listen to.

The problem here is the family is suffering a narcissistic injury, you can hear each person is concerned primarily with their image:

- I won't have people know someone like you is in my house...(grandma)
- you've been going on about me on Facebook... (dad)
- you won't call me a liar [in front of the family]... (stepmom)

The reflexive reaction to a narcissistic injury is rage, and violence, which is just what you hear in this clip when stepmom (and maybe dad?) attack him.

"Hate the sinner, love the sin", but in insular tribal communities like theirs, having an openly, publicly gay relative under your roof is terrible for the family's image - because if his dad raised him right, he wouldn't be gay, would he? you hear this fear stated explicitly in the video. So, he has to go if they're going to save face.

Tweak the setting a little, and you've got a conversation that probably precedes a lot of honor killings. Though of course we don't call them that when they happen in the US
posted by mrbigmuscles at 1:17 PM on September 4 [19 favorites]


Guys we shouldn't condemn people who have medieval beliefs so hastily in this, the year of our lord 2014.
posted by basicchannel at 1:18 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I have never wanted so badly to transcend time, space, and YouTube to suddenly appear beside this kid and beat down those parents' arguments one by one and force them to look in the mirror and see what petty, small people they are.
posted by zardoz at 1:53 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Where we draw the line separating our tribe from the "other" is highly variable, as is our treatment of and attittudes toward the other.

This is an intellectually and morally impoverished response. The claim that humans are tribal allows us to say nothing about particular manifestations of that tribalism; the claim that tribalisms manifest variously says nothing about any particular manifestation. One could say exactly the same thing about aggression, yet that would be an awfully pointless comment in a thread about a rash of beatings or murders.
posted by kewb at 2:04 PM on September 4


Man, the hits just keep coming with this post. From the Rolling Stone article, about Jackie:

After what felt like an eternity, her mom finally responded. "I don't know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child," she said before hanging up.

Well, you became someone who would say this sentence to their child, so...maybe that's a good place to start looking.
posted by menialjoy at 2:26 PM on September 4 [8 favorites]


"I don't know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child,"

I would suggest the very poor job you have done at reading and understanding the word of Jesus.

I mean, "love they neighbor as you love yourself", and "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me" aint exactly rocket science. And then there is "judge not, lest ye be judged" and "let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

That's just for starters. He goes on for several hundred pages of that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:43 PM on September 4 [9 favorites]


he thought about his life and realized he'd been an idiot on a grand scale. He decided he'd limp on home and try to find some way to make it right... The father left his prodigal son bleeding on the stoop... I don't remember finding that story in the Bible, but hundreds of thousands of Christian households seem convinced it's the gospel of Jesus Christ

Plenty of these parents would be willing to take back their kids if they'd "realize they'd been idiots" and repent. Jackie's parents were willing to take her back if only she'd renounce her lesbianism - the problem was that she didn't do it. This isn't a question of the parents not being forgiving enough. Most of them would accept the prodigal child who agreed they had sinned, wanted to do therapy and begged to be forgiven. THe problem is a disagreement of values. THe kids don't think they've sinned. They are embracing the identity of homosexuality as a positive thing.

I think that's what the parents mean by "choice" - instead of suffering in guilt and perhaps a sexless relationship, the kids are enjoying happy free love lives that don't match the prescribed roles traditionally expected by their community.
posted by mdn at 3:12 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Indeed, there's a reference in the Rolling Stone article to a teenager who is underage and has run away rather than agree to return to an environment where he would have no contact with "secular influences" (which presumably includes all out gay people). And Jackie's parents offered to "take her back" if she underwent conversion therapy. It makes me wish that forcing a child to undergo conversion therapy as a precondition of familial support were more often legally recognized as the subspecies of psychological child abuse that it is.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:32 PM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Maybe search for "foster parent LGBT youth" + your locality and see what comes up.

Hmm. Here in Denver Home O' Hope looks like it's been around and fundraising to buy or lease a site for a group home for several years, and as of June, their founder (who was kicked out of her foster home as a teen for being lesbian-identified) says “If we had between $10,000 and $15,000 more, we could be open within three months.” This seems like a no-brainer Kickstarteresque thing, and the kind of resource I want to exist in my town. I think I'll drop them a note.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:44 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


"He said, 'Mom and Dad don't want to talk to you, but I'm supposed to tell you what's going to happen,'" Jackie recalls. "And he's like, 'All your cards are going to be shut off, and Mom and Dad want you to take the car and drop it off at this specific location. Your phone's going to last for this much longer. They don't want you coming to the house, and you're not to contact them. You're not going to get any money from them. Nothing. And if you don't return the car, they're going to report it stolen.' And I'm just bawling. I hung up on him because I couldn't handle it." Her brother was so firm, so matter-of-fact, it was as if they already weren't family."


Oh, wow, shit. I think Jackie should forward this story to the Pope, with her full name, her parents name, and the name of their church.

It's hard as nails to shame an Evangelical fundie for complying exactly with their Church's instructions, but with Pope Francis around I'm feeling pretty good about our chances with Catholics...
posted by menialjoy at 3:46 PM on September 4 [7 favorites]


This seems like a no-brainer.

Nobody chooses their sexual orientation, Everybody chooses their religion or lack thereof. You have to change your superstitions and fantasies for your families realities.
posted by Megafly at 4:21 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


My only private thought when my daughter introduced me to her first girlfriend (jr. year of high school) was "thank G*d there won't be any un-intended pregnancies!"

Later, I actually realized that maybe I should talk to her about my lack of reaction - we talked a lot in the car on the way to school that year - because I wanted to make clear to her that it wasn't because I didn't know what to say when she came out to me - it was just that it didn't make one iota of a fraction of a decimal point towards how I felt about her. That when she said "I'm Bi & Sam is a GIRLfriend girlfriend," absolutely nothing changed in my heart, that it felt no different to me than her announcing her favorite color.

I watched this video up until the violence started & I couldn't look or listen any more. How can a human treat its own child that way? How can a parent suddenly just hate their child? What is broken in their hearts?

So glad he's dealing with this so well- it's probably an event that will color his whole life in one way or another, and I'm awed that his spirit is enabling him to make something positive out of what could have just been utter despair. I hope he's able to continue to move on & to heal.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:48 PM on September 4 [13 favorites]


There is no dilemma between choosing faith or choosing to accept the son. I know plenty of Christians who are not homophobic. Many churches fully accept homosexuality and several even ordain gay priests, like the Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians. They are definitely choosing something over their son but I don't think that something is God.

That said, the kid could have used a little diplomacy. He took an confrontational stance from the start and he should know that telling your Christian stepmother that "scientific proof trumps God" is not going to change her mind or help you maintain a relationship with your family. It seemed like he was angry and lashing out, much like his family was. Any relationship with his family is going to have to be built on tolerating and accepting each others' differences, and trying to win the argument does not move you in that direction. Not that I would have done any better at age 20.
posted by foobaz at 7:48 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


That said, the kid could have used a little diplomacy.

We do not have to apologize for who we are, nor should we ever have to be 'diplomatic' towards the people who view us as second-class citizens, if not actually subhuman.

I am what I am
And what I am, needs no excuses

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:54 PM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Years ago a young man I was waiting on at the Waffle House told me his ATHEIST parents had kicked him out for being gay.

I am still shaking my head over that one.

I can think of very few good reasons to cast out a child. Them coming out as gay is not one of them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:10 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Foobaz, keep in mind that this is not the actual first interaction that they've had over his sexuality -- this is an intervention they sprung on him as a group after he came out last October, and the unrecorded beginning apparently states that they want him to go to conversion therapy or leave. In other words, they started with threats and a confrontation.

I think it's also very important to make sure no equivalency is drawn between a parent hitting their adult child and calling him a "queer," and that same adult child getting frustrated and angry that his family is not listening to what he's saying. I mean, there's no non-defensive way to handle being disowned, or physically attacked. There's no way to meet your father halfway when he says "you're a disgrace." I don't think it's ethical to equate their actions and his as both subspecies of "lashing out."
posted by en forme de poire at 9:06 PM on September 4 [6 favorites]


More to the point... tolerance of intolerance is not a virtue. Intolerance is not something that should ever be accepted, especially when the intolerance is for something intrinsic to you, such as sexuality. Or gender. Or skin colour.

Should Rosa Parks have been diplomatic? Or everyone at Stonewall?

No.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:31 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


> That said, the kid could have used a little diplomacy.

I guess we balance each other out. I was aching for him to hit back at the person attacking him.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:34 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


When my son was a toddler we were talking a walk in our neighborhood. One of the neighbors was having a garage sale, with a lot of "girl's" toys, her daughter being a couple years older than Boy.

Amongst the toys was a drivable corvette. Barbie pink. With glitter on. Boy was sold. He just found his first sports car, and he was just gonna drive it home, thanks.

I laughed, and told the neighbor I'd run some cash over later, but it looked like we were taking the Barbie 'Vette, and a handful of other things he'd thrown in the car.

She actually hesitated before selling it to me. She told me that I was going to "turn that boy gay." I remember doing a head tilt so dramatic I looked like the RCA dog staring at a phonograph, as I tried to quickly determine how to respond before saying "Firstly, you can't *turn* someone gay, that's the kind of a thing that *is*, not really a thing that's learned. Secondly, why would I care? I'm ok with gay."

And she responded that if she was selling the toy because she didn't want her son (about Boy's age) playing with it. She was going to get him a truck. She proceeded to tell me, and an astonished handful of other neighbors that she would disown any of her kids for "Bringing the Gay Into A Holy Household". It was jaw dropping.

My response was less than tactful. I told her that I liked her kids, and if they turned out gay, and she threw them out, they could come be gay at my house. Which, sounds flippant and amusing in text a decade later, but in reality, the Glittery Corvette of Pink Atrociousness was probably the seed of discontent that sort of destroyed the relationships everyone had on that block. It was a strangely polarizing event, my toddler son driving a pink corvette.
posted by dejah420 at 6:12 AM on September 5 [36 favorites]


His hometown was the kind of all-American, cornfed place where "on every street corner you'd find a church" and where "the football players, if they knew you were gay, would call you a fag and tell you to suck their dick, or try to get you to bend over."

Because there's nothing more heterosexual than a man who wants another man to bend over and suck his dick, amirite?
posted by schroedinger at 8:44 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


I don't know, it actually makes perfect sense to me when you interpret it in the context of hegemonic masculinity. That type of "masculinity" isn't really concerned with preferences or mutual enjoyment between consenting adults, but with expressing dominance over and aggression against everything coded as "less masculine." In other words, it's not gay as long as your intent is to demean, humiliate, and subordinate.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:28 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


. . . Well, yeah. That's why they're doing it. I was making fun of the fact that their attempts to subordinate involve objectively homosexual acts.
posted by schroedinger at 5:38 PM on September 6


dejah420..... One of the biggest fights my mother and I ever had was when her best friend openly shamed my then 2 year old son for putting a doll in a stroller and pushing it across the yard. I love this woman like a second mother but I went off on her. How dare she tell my 2 year old that boys don't do that!!! She was honestly flummoxed that I was mad about the message she was sending. My mom was furious at me for causing a kerfullfle.... But they all learned something that day...
posted by pearlybob at 11:39 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm not even sure I'd classify it as "objectively homosexual" in the way we usually understand it, because it sort of implies the aggressors have covert or unconscious homosexual attraction, which I think is misleading -- I think it's actually totally believable that they have none at all.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:57 AM on September 7


Eh, speaking as someone who messed around with a bunch of those boys in high school, and saw how things turned out for them later... yeah, they loved the cock. Couldn't/wouldn't admit it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:00 AM on September 7


I guess I'm not even sure I'd classify it as "objectively homosexual" in the way we usually understand it, because it sort of implies the aggressors have covert or unconscious homosexual attraction, which I think is misleading -- I think it's actually totally believable that they have none at all.

Man, my one-off comment mocking a bunch of bullies has proved you really can get bean-plating from anywhere.
posted by schroedinger at 9:55 PM on September 7


I made that comment because I think it's a myth, and not a benign myth, that anyone who performs or perpetuates sexualized abuse against gay men must secretly be gay or bisexual themselves. I think a lot of MeFites would actually agree with the suggestion that much sexualized violence is not primarily about attraction in the first place, and indeed, while there's not a ton of data, people who have studied the perpetrators of male same-sex rape have actually come to the conclusion that a substantial fraction of offenders are totally heterosexual in their consensual activity and do not appear to commit these crimes out of any latent homosexual desire but rather out of hostility and the desire to humiliate and demean. I think brushing this under the rug gets straight men completely off the hook for sexualized violence against gay people and ends up placing all the blame for male same-sex rape exclusively on gay and bi men (especially as related to homophobic hate crimes, which end up getting recontextualized by right-wing media as merely violence within the troubled, psychologically damaged gay community) when we know this isn't true.

More generally, this is a thread about abuse targeted at gay men. I don't get why you're being condescending and dismissive about people discussing exactly that. And given that your two comments in this thread have been 1. to make a joke and 2. to make fun of me for responding to it, frankly I think it's a little rich for you to get so snotty about the way that other people are engaging here.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:36 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


« Older In 2009, StackOverflow and Discourse developer Jef...  |  Taco Text texts tacos.... Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.