Friday, July 17, 2009

Same Sex Attraction, Silence, and Suicide

Recently I have been meeting weekly with a group of Christian guys who also struggle with same sex attraction (SSA). This has been a great blessing to me. I already have straight Christian friends I talk to about this, but in this group there is a type of uniquely effective encouragement and helpful correction. I believe we need to talk to others about our struggles. Silence only causes more problems!

I was raised in the "Bible Belt" and kept silent about my SSA due to cultural pressure. My family mostly would not talk out loud about this subject and we even developed a system of hints and non-verbal communication concerning SSA that offered "plausible deniability". That way, we could all claim we did not know that I or my brother liked other guys. Anyway, I eventually did find Christian friends I could talk with, but I miss the help that might have been if there had not been that culturally imposed silence.

Two of my friends who struggle with SSA related troubles have been very depressed and nearly suicidal lately. By the way, they are the same guys I called “Tom” and “Austin” earlier in this blog. They are both in family/church/cultural situations that impose silence on them and I suspect that adds to their depression. I have known two suicide victims who I strongly suspect were depressed due to silence about the emotional pain connected to SSA. Here is a link to a blog where the author talks about silence and SSA-related suicides:
I Like Guys. There. I said it.

We need to do all we can to encourage especially Evangelical Christians to stop culturally imposing silence on those that struggle with same sex attraction. Silence can be deadly !

5 comments:

Jeff S. said...

As I am starting to work with youth again and hear an occasional "that's so gay" remark, or discern that a particular student may struggle with SSA, I am looking for opportunity to make an impact on that "culture of silence". I pray the Lord helps me with discernment for the right place and time to speak out and support others.

stanw said...

I so agree with your post about silence and SSA related suicides. One friend I had died of AIDS and I could not believe it when I learned of why he died. I knew he had had AIDS but a couple years before had been healed and been back at work. His Pastor, after Norman died, wrote me a letter saying the nurse had said that he was bitter about something but would not talk about it. I believe he had held on to some immense hurt in his life and it brought back the disease that took his life. He had become a Christian and had done so well. Silence can be deadly in many ways. After I heard of his death I recalled his facial expressions and mannerisms and there definitely was something weighing him down. I so wished he had shared the emotional turmoil with someone.

So good that you have a group of guys to share with and encourage each other.

MR said...

Jeff,

I pray that your actions will succeed in helping to break the "culture of silence" among us Evangelicals. I often deliberately speak up about my own struggles when that is helpful, which hopefully inspires others to talk.

One thing that may seem obvious, but actually IS NOT obvious to everyone, is this: Do not ask someone "Are you gay?" Many people are so worried about revealing their struggle that they will lie and say "no". It is usually better to build friendship and trust while waiting for others to admit their struggle to me.

Stan,

Although you may not be able to prove that your friend's silence killed him, even scientists agree that a bad emotional state harms a patient's health. Clearly silence about SSA will put most of us in a really bad emotional state.

I certainly pray that you find helpful friends and talk about your own struggle !

Sweeney said...

I just reciently told my best friend about my struggle and it is a relief to be able to be myself around him. I agree, silence does make things worse.

Learner Man said...

Hey MR,
It's been a long time since I've been around. How are things with you? It's been a crazy, busy time over here which is why I've been so quiet.

Love to hear from you.