There was a murder last night and I believe Christianity is responsible.
Her former student's name was Mike and he was 18 years-old, in college, born and raised in a Christian family, and had just come out to his parents as gay.
I've never met him, but there's an invisible string of experiences we both share. We both got our education from elementary school to high school in the same Christian private school. Both our childhood's were absolutely inundated with Christianity five days a week during the school year and undoubtedly attending church every Sunday. We both have deeply religious Christian parents. We both are not heterosexuals.
I could be completely wrong about Mike's plight, I didn't know him personally, but I do know the environment he grew up in very well. I know it's shitty and arrogant of me to respond to his death like I knew his pain, but the temptation is too great for me to resist projecting my own struggles in this Christian-obsessed environment that I believe pushed him to his tragic end. I really do think he was murdered by Christianity, however "indirectly".
Here are the facts:
Mike was in his first year of college. He was a son of a doctor, extremely well-off financially through his parents, tall, handsome, and bright. My mother also thought he was kind, likable, and was very talented in her art class. (She teaches art in the Christian private school). She said he was/seemed to be a Christian. This young man approached his parents and came-out as gay.
The report was, "his parents freaked and practically disowned him".
Now he's dead.
I've obviously drawn my own conclusions why that happened. My mother had all sorts of theories why he killed himself. "Maybe he wasn't doing well in college" was one of them. I couldn't believe the disconnect of understanding in her thinking. I replied, "Perhaps the pain of his parents rejection was too much to endure, he probably really loved them. It's got to be so difficult to handle your parent's hatred."
I teared up when I replied to her, because I was using Mike as a mask to express my own reasons for not coming out of the closet.
"No one knew he was gay." My mother said.
I wasn't wearing a scrap of female clothing when she said that. I only wear women's clothes on special occasions like Christmas and Easter, funerals and weddings. It's staggering how powerful denial can be; I've been dressing like a boy since I was old enough to wear my older brother's hand-me-downs. And yet, I know my mother doesn't suspect her daughter is a godless, transgendered man.
"It's a really heavy secret, it must have been unbearable to Mike to hold it in." I replied.
I'm transgender and mostly attracted to females, and while I've guarded that secret for almost 30 years from everyone who knows me, there are days where I just want to shout it from the rooftops. So many times I have almost burst it out tearfully in front of my friends and family like vomit, and every time terror and self-preservation has made me swallow it down.
Ask anyone LGBTQ, staying in the closet is psychologically damaging. It's why people like Mike fall on their sword and come out to their parents despite growing up in a hostile, anti-gay, religious environment. We know how much we have to lose...but keeping it a secret also feels like a loss. The damage of hold it inside is just delivered a lot slower, but it's internal so it seems safer.
If I ever come out to friends and family it would be in a moment of high emotional frenzy or during a psychological episode, it would not be a planned affair with a note written, 'Mom, Dad, I love you. I'm gay".
When you come out to people who consider homosexuality or any variation akin to being demon possessed, they do not "get over it. It does not "blow over". The results are usually final, you lose any semi-normal and loving relationship with your Christian family. You lose their respect and their love, their financial support and often your home. You become dead to your family.
The only reason I've been able to keep myself in the closet so long is because I loved my bigoted, Christian family more than I love myself. I want their love more than I care about living authentically, and yes, it's going to probably become all too much one day and I'll probably find myself facing the same circumstances as Mike did. I won't be able to face losing my family's love and respect, I won't survive being an outcast from people I love.
How could a parent reject their child? Well...Christianity is a real answer to that question. It's so dishonest to suggest that the Bible accepts homosexuality on any level. It doesn't. I have a vested interest in the subject, so I like to think I've approached it honestly. Those who disagree with me I think are really reaching.
Homosexuality is not just renounced in the Old Testament, it's disapproval rings very clearly in the New Testament as well. While there are Christians who accept homosexuals and come to the conclusion that homosexuality isn't a sin (like my lovely sister), they do it in spite of what is written against homosexuals in the Bible.
In the Christian cult I grew up in, the one Mike and I shared, there is a very loud, very officious core group who consider themselves "The True Christians of America", and they are not confused whether homosexuality is a sin. Maybe even Mike thought this group was right, and his existence tortured him.
I don't know if Mike believed he was Hell-bound for being gay. I know when I still believed in God I came to a very heart-wrenching crossroad where I had to accept one of the following:
1. I am possessed by a demon of transgenderism and homosexuality and I am in sin.
2. Christianity's mantra on this is wrong, the attraction and love I feel for other women and my transgender issues are not supernatural.
I knew, like most of you do, that I was not experiencing anything supernatural. Yes, it was highly unusual, uncomfortable, problematic and confusing, but I am not demon possessed or committing a sin.
But what if Mike did think he was experiencing a supernatural malady that put him at odds with a God he was devoted to? What if the "practically" in "practically disowning him" was that he could retain his family's support and respect if he pledge a life of celibacy and repent? (I've heard this proposed by Christians as a practical solution to homosexuality, one that's completely unreasonable to anyone sane.) Did Mike repent to give himself a clean slate with God, then commit suicide before he could fall into temptation?
I am convinced the people who say Christianity is a good thing are people who have had nothing substantial that Christianity to taken away from them (that they realize). For people like me, Christianity has robbed me of confidence that my family loves me for who I really am, and much more.
I believe those stupid passages in the Bible robbed Mike of his life. It robbed Mike's parents of a child. I hope they family he left behind aren't so brainwashed they can't recognize putting their Christian principles before accepting their son murdered him.
It makes me wonder how many of us are suffering internal agony because some primitive asshole penning the Bible decided we were as shitty as thieves, drunkards and adulterers. Later, assholes who wrote the New Testament considered us loving each other as a sign of Armageddon.
Pardon my vulgarities, but fuck them! Fuck them for stealing the lives we could have had and our happiness with our Christian families. Fuck them for all the quiet misery we lock inside ourselves, and for all the outspoken hatred they've flamed towards us who are brave enough to announce who we are. Fuck them for killing Mike and the millions of others before and ahead of him. And especially, fuck them for brainwashing our parents against us.
Mike, I'm so, so sorry.