The majority of teens do not consciously choose their religion. From the moment children are born, some parents make it their duty to assimilate their kids into their own religion. The child, unable to make a decision on whether or not they want to be part of that religion, grows up recognizing as “x” religion because that’s all they know. But this sometimes becomes a major issue during their teenage year when they learn about themselves and who they are the most.
The LGBTQ community have always been discriminated against. The US for example has made progress in equality for women, and equality for people of color, yet we still struggle with equality for the LGBTQ community. This is mostly due to the negative view Christianity and other dominant religions in the US have of anyone who is not heterosexual, making it difficult for the current generation to come out to friends and family as non-heterosexual.
According to the Williams Institute, roughly 40% of youth going through homeless agencies are LGBTQ. The top reasons being: Running away from home because of family rejection of their sexual orientation and identity, and getting forced out by parents because of sexual orientation and identity, and physical, mental, or sexual abuse at home. And, after combining all the homeless agencies’ LGBTQ youth, 68% we rejected by their family and more than half have experienced domestic abuse.
And every parent that has rejected their own blood for this reason is wrong in every way.
Sexual orientation is not a choice you make, but rather a discovery made within yourself. Although science has yet to pinpoint exactly what determines sexual orientation and identity, it has been shown to develop during a child’s elementary years. Additionally, a teen being gay does not affect anybody’s life except their own.
Some parents claim they are only trying to protect their children from the horrible illness and sin of their child’s sexual orientation. Yet countless studies, such as one done by the University of Warwick, show that those who embrace their sexuality and identity live happier lives, as opposed to those who constantly hide their true self or live in fear of scrutiny.
Other parents claim it is “just a phase,” and their child will get over it eventually. Some parents even send their children to expensive conversion therapy camps,” which use dangerous methods to try to change a person’s sexuality and thus their identity.
The Human Rights Campaign has found that camps increase the chance of attendees’ of attempted suicide by 8 times, high levels of depression by 6 times, drug abuse by 3 times, and STD’s by 3 times.
Teens live in fear for these reasons. Everyday living a lie because if their family found out the truth, they might not have a home to live in or family to go to. It is time to put aside our personal beliefs and put forth more value in family acceptance. If we want our teens to be safe and happy, parents must be tolerant of who their teen is no matter their sexuality or identity.