Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

SPIRITUALITY Political and Religious Terrorism on our Youth
by AMY MATHENY
2004-11-01

This article shared 4355 times since Mon Nov 1, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I can't even imagine coming out at 18, 16, or, God forbid (pun intended), at 14. But today many GLBT youth are coming to their sexuality and gender relationship as teenagers. We take for granted now that we have Ellen and Rosie and Will & Grace on TV with Queer Eye that it should be a much easier environment for the young of our community to feel confident and safe. But when many of us were coming up, the president was not declaring a constitutional amendment against our relationships and we were not a weekly topic of debate. Maybe we were invisible and that is worse, right? But how is it to navigate in this new-found visibility and controversy for our young GLBT friends? John Hobbs has experience working with displaced youth.

John Hobbs

With lesbian and gay characters visible on prime-time TV and same-sex couples having legal marriage ceremonies, one has to ask the question: are GLBT youth better equipped today to embrace their sexual orientation? While one can say that a gay presence in our culture has significantly increased over the past five years, growing up GLBT continues to be a serious challenge. The increasing presence of open GLBT people has fueled the negative rhetoric of religious and political conservatives desperate to neutralize GLBT civil-rights gains. GLBT youth are actually growing up in a climate of renewed religious and political terrorism. During the recent election, even candidates who privately supported GLBT civil rights were hesitant to declare their public support for fear of being attacked and losing votes. Not only does this create a chilling atmosphere for civil rights, but it is emotionally and spiritually damaging to GLBT youth who are struggling to form their identity and hoping for affirmation.

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition there is a core mandate to protect and advocate for those who are marginalized and oppressed. It is a scandal to this tradition that the so-called 'religious right' not only ignores this mandate but contributes to the negative climate.

Even if GLBT youth are emotionally mature enough to be self-affirming and spiritually grounded, they cannot always hold at bay all of the negativism. Thus imagine the impact this has on those youth who are still struggling with their sexual orientation. GLBT youth are greatly affected by this bombardment of negative messages concerning a basic aspect of their identity. The result is often isolation and self-hatred which have grave consequences on self identity and the ability to bond with others.

How pervasive is the anti-gay environment? In a recent PFLAG study, 97% of GLBT youth reported regularly hearing homophobic remarks at school. A typical high school student hears 25.5 anti-gay slurs each day. Furthermore, 31.2% are threatened or injured with weapons at school. This negative environment puts GLBT students at a much higher risk for skipping class, dropping out of school and even committing suicide.

Additionally, many GLBT youth flee negative situations at home. According to Paul Gibson of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 26% of GLBT youth are forced to leave home because of their sexual orientation. As high as 42% of homeless youth identify themselves as GLBT; 1.5 million GLBT youth are homeless nationwide. Few cities have adequate social services and existing youth shelters often have the same hostile environments that youth are fleeing in the first place. Chicago has only 24 shelter beds for minors, and none of these are designated specifically for GLBT youth. If rejected by their families and unable to access support services, many GLBT homeless youth are likely to be at risk for prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, suicide, and HIV and other STDs.

It is time to end this political and religious assault and to affirm the value of every human being. We can do this by supporting candidates who will work toward an inclusive, affirming society, and by challenging office holders to end discrimination. And we can work with our faith communities to provide places of sanctuary, compassion and affirmation.

Hobbs, ordained in 1987, is a member of St. Pauls United Church of Christ. He serves as Executive Dir. of Interfaith Council and Interim Pastor of the Church of Three Crosses. A member of the Commission on Human Relations - Homeless Sub-Committee, Chicago's Continuum of Care's Governing Board and the Board for the Partnership to End Homelessness, John has served as adjunct faculty at McCormick Theological Seminary and the Luther School of Theology. He holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary.

e-mail editor@windycitymediagroup.com


This article shared 4355 times since Mon Nov 1, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Batavia public school rally to call for equity in education 2022-05-24
-- From an Equality Illinois press release - BPS Parents for Equity and Justice and Batavia Public School (BPS) students to host a rally and call to action in response to ongoing inequities in the treatment of all marginalized groups and the district's reluctance ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Idaho groups, Clay Aiken, Radio Milwaukee, Louisville school 2022-05-22
- In northern Idaho, two groups with different agendas plan to hold events on the same day (June 11) at Coeur d'Alene City Park—and both organizations have issued statements, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. The ...


Gay News

GLSEN holds Respect Awards in New York 2022-05-17
- On May 16, the pro-LGBTQ+ education organization GLSEN held its New York Respect Awards in Gotham Hall. At its first in-person Respect Awards in three years, the organization introduced new Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers in their ...


Gay News

Judge blocks part of Alabama law criminalizing care for trans youth 2022-05-14
- On May 13, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke blocked part of an Alabama law that made it a felony to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors, USA Today reported. ...


Gay News

Texas court okays child-abuse inquries into families of trans kids 2022-05-13
- On May 13, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously cleared the way for the state child-welfare agency to resume investigating parents and doctors who provide gender-affirming care for trans youth—actions Gov. Greg Abbott has equated to child ...


Gay News

Judge: Dallas hospital must start gender-affirming treatment for trans youth 2022-05-12
- In Texas, Dallas County Judge Melissa Bellan temporarily removed all barriers for transgender youth seeking medical treatments from Children's Medical Center Dallas—providing a major win for doctors fighting to restore ...


Gay News

Florida schools censoring students even before Don't Say Gay law goes into effect 2022-05-11
-- From a press release - TALLAHASSEE, FL — As the school year ends, students across Florida are experiencing the inevitable censorship of Florida's anti-LGBTQ Don't Say Gay law recently signed by Governor DeSantis. The law's harmful impacts are not limited to ...


Gay News

LGBTQs 4X more likely than non-LGBTQs to choose a college away from home 2022-05-11
-- From a press release - A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law conducted in collaboration with the Point Foundation, the nation's largest LGBTQ scholarship fund, finds LGBTQ people were four times more likely than non-LGBTQ people ...


Gay News

Queer college salutatorian plans to help community through food 2022-05-10
- Back in March, Jose Cueva got an unexpected phone call from the president of Kennedy-King College: Cueva's perfect 4.0 GPA meant he would be graduating as salutatorian. "I was in shock; I wasn't expecting that," Cueva ...


Gay News

DoJ files suit challenging Alabama's trans youth law 2022-05-02
- The U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) filed a complaint alleging that Alabama's controversial law banning gender-affirming care for youth is unconstitutional, according to AL.com. In the complaint filed in federal court ...


Gay News

WOMEN'S SOCCER U.S. team dominates; Houston coach suspended 2022-04-28
- The U.S. U-17 Women's Youth National Team finished first in Group G at the 2022 Concacaf Women's U-17 Championship with a convincing 5-0 win against Costa Rica to take another step closer to qualifying for the ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Missouri lawmaker, Michigan controversy, gymnasts, Julius' Bar 2022-04-24
- A lawmaker in Missouri delivered an intense condemnation of one of his Republican colleagues over an effort to keep transgender athletes out of youth sports, HuffPost reported. State Rep. Ian Mackey (D), who is gay, issued ...


Gay News

Kane County high school 'promposal' criticized as racist 2022-04-19
- A recent promposal involving students at Kane County's Central High School has been criticized as racist, ABC 7 Chicago reported. A photo of the promposal that's being shared on social media shows two teens holding a ...


Gay News

CircEsteem's youth-led 'Spring Circus' on May 7, 14 and 21 2022-04-15
- CircEsteem's Spring Circus is back in-person for the first time since 2019. The CircEsteem Spring Circus will take place on May 7, 14 and 21 at CircEsteem, 4730 N. Sheridan Rd., at 2 and 6 p.m. ...


Gay News

HRC Foundation launches inaugural 'LGBTQ+ School Inclusion Efforts' report 2022-04-12
-- From a press release. Video below - WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization released the 2021 Annual Report from ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.