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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Just today I was going through my Facebook News Feed on my iPhone and ran across some posting about a teen coming out to his parents.  It started me thinking of the organization "Forty to None", a not for profit focused on helping LGBT teens who have been either kicked out by their parents when they told them they were gay or left on their own because of the verbal abuse once the family found out that one of their family members is gay and they thought it was unacceptable.

There are over 500,000 LGBTI teens who are homeless because they told their family were gay.  What a sad world in which we live where we have to hide the parts of ourselves (sometimes which is maybe we are gay).   Being gay is NOT a sin.  It never has been.   I could go on about this topic alone, but Mr. Matthew Vines, a sophomore undergraduate at Harvard does a very good job explaining why being gay is NOT a sin in his new book, "God and the Gay Christian".  Matthew says:

      Matthew Vines is an advocate for the acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people within Christian communities and in society at large. He lives in Wichita, Kansas. Matthew attended Harvard University from 2008 to 2010. He then took a leave of absence in order to research the Bible and homosexuality and work toward LGBT inclusion in the church.
In March 2012, Matthew delivered a speech at a church in his hometown about the Bible and homosexuality, calling for acceptance of gay Christians and their marriage relationships. Since then, the video of the speech has been seen more than 500,000 times on YouTube, and it was featured in The New York Times and The Christian Post.

In 2013, Matthew launched The Reformation Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to training LGBT Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Matthew’s book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, is in stores now.*
  
It is always good thing to be yourself, and if you are in a family environment which would embrace your coming out, that is wonderful and you are VERY fortunate; however, to all those LGBT teen who have not yet come out - I thought a word of advice and caution might be helpful

Ideally coming out should be no big deal and ideally we always pray we have patents whom live us unconditionally.  I did not come out to my dad until I was in college.  My mother has already pass102 But the reality is that this is not the case for every family whom have LGBT teens whom have yet to come out.

According to http://fortytonone.org, 500,000 LGBT teens are kicked out of their home by their parents because they came out to them and/or shared their HIV status with their family, or both.

So how to know if you are able to come out or not at home, here are some things to consider:

1). Wy are you coming out?  Is it for you to be proud of whom you are ?  Is it because you want to push a LGBT agenda at home ?  Is it because your friends who are LGBT came out with no repercussions?
2). What do you think your parents think about LGBT?  Does their faith day that it's wrong (even though you know it is not)?
3). Have you consideredtoday where you would go?  Where you would live?  How you would support yourself?  It is easy to believe "but they're my parents... They won't kick me out!  Really?  Ask one of the 500,000 teens who thought the same thing and now are homeless.

Here is a simple guideline that may help you gauge whether or not your family will receive you coming out in a supportive manner or not:

  A). Have your parents asked you questions out friends who may or may not be gay.  THIS IS NOT a foolproof guideline, but if your parents, on their own, been asking questions about LGBT persons, then chances are if they are asking questions on the topic, then they may be ready to hear from you coming out.  This is NOT a guarantee!!!  But it will give an indication if they are thinking about LGBT persons.

  B). If they are talking about LGBT persons on their own, aren't being derogatory, but genuinely curious. Then chances are they will receive your answer to their question with either supportive or positive responses.

 C). Test your coming out with your siblings.  Unless they are extremely religious , they will be supportive and might be willing to stand with you if you decide to come out to your family.

   D). If you are worried your family will not receive your coming out well, contact http://fortytonone.org or a sympathetic clergy to find out if there are any locations in your ares a for homeless youth.  DON'T SKIP THIS STEP.  If coming out goes sideways,you will be emotional and you need to know without a doubt where you can go to have a place to stay and or receive help and support which can facilitate a processes to work with you and your parents work toward reconciliation .


I know this seems like a lot, and can be a bit daughnting, but remember, 500,000 teens thought they would be OK to come out to their parents and family, and they weren't.  

I can also guarantee each of them would say that kid they had taken the suggestions above and prepared for the worst..  My guess would be they would say it would have been better to do a little planning incase it went sideways, they would have s plan on what to do, rather than just blurting out a dinner one night,  "Oh, by the way mom and dad? I'm gay.

As parents, even if they are supportive, will have blood rush from their head for fear you would get HIV/AIDS.

At this point, tell them HIV is no longer a terminal illness, and using proper protection, it becomes very hard to be infected (nothing is ever 100% effective - even HIV Prevention measure.   For more information about HIV Prevention, go to the Indiana HIV Prevention Community Planning Group.

To learn more about LGBT Homeless Youth and what you can do to help, visit http://www.fortytonone.org or if you live in Indianapolis, contact The Kristen Center at 317-520-3036 or visit their website at http://www.thekristencenter.com, their FB page at http://www.fb.com/thekristencenter, or their twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/kristencenter.

Peace,

Bro Jeff