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Did religion make it harder for you to accept yourself?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by GlassWalls, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. GlassWalls

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    Did growing up religious make it harder for you to realize/accept your sexuality or gender?
     
  2. BreakFree

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    I wasn't raised in an overly religious household. However, I feel like it may have had some influence in exploring my sexuality in my younger years... That and cultural influence.
     
  3. Creativemind

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    It made it harder for me to accept my sexual self. I could accept falling in love with a girl, I just couldn't accept sleeping with one.
     
  4. Andrew99

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    No and I think that's mostly because I didn't grow up in a religious household.
     
  5. Oh hell yes it did. Being raised Mormon wasn’t very great for my self esteem.
     
  6. Elendil

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    I wasn't really brought up to be religious, as neither of my parents went to any church or practiced their faith (they were both raised Catholic), but my dad always had a religious bent and he still uses it to gay bash whenever the topic comes up. So religion did make it harder in that it created a homophobic environment at may dad's home. I was always afraid of him finding out because I thought he would throw me out and disown me like the other religious parents you hear about that do. I didn't want to lose his love.
     
  7. OGS

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    It's an interesting question. I grew up Mormon and I am honestly not sure whether it made it more difficult or not. I came out long enough ago that having a family that was knowledgeable and supportive just wasn't really a thing. For most of the people I came out to early on I was the first gay person they had ever encountered. I'm not sure that it would have been easier if we hadn't been very religious because the general message regarding homosexuality just wasn't as divergent from the religious message as it is now. Also I really think the whole religion thing gave our family and myself a certain strength and grounding to deal with the sexuality thing. Plus my parents were just amazing people and I don't think of that as being despite their faith but rather because of it. It's funny. My husband, who was raised nominally Baptist in Oklahoma once commented about my parents that it seemed odd he had to go to Utah to find someone who seemed genuinely Christian. In an odd way I think my religious upbringing probably made the whole thing easier.
     
  8. quebec

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    GlassWalls....Yes, much harder. It caused many years of shame, guilt and self hate. But I have to add that out heteronormative society also did exactly the same thing. Once I did accept that I was gay, my remaining major conflict was faith. It took a lot of study and two fantastic books to get over that conflict. Now I know, without any doubt, that the Bible DOES NOT even speak of committed same-sex relationships as we know them today. If you'd like more about that, post a message on my profile and I will respond. The books: 1) "Torn" by Justin Lee and 2) "God and the Gay Christian" by Matthew Vines. If you read these, consider reading "Torn" first. ....David
     
  9. Secrets5

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    No, but maybe as I was the only one religious in my immediate family. My dad is very much against it and very vocal about that - his mum had bad experience with heavy religious people so she politely disagrees with the idea, and never raised him on it. My mum was raised in a religious household and had to go to Church until she was 16, so she politely disagrees and has discussions on it. I went to Church with my Nana and my great-Aunt but I didn't pay much attention, I just listened to the music and was bored - but I liked the atmosphere in their Churches as it was warm (my Church was very cold until they refurbished it). At my Church, in all honesty I took Christian lessons so I could be near a girl in the class I liked and became a Christian to spend more time with her. I stopped going when we moved on from Junior group as I didn't sit with her then. Also, I left my non-religious mum to have to listen to the adult service - and she was bored. [Sorry mum]. At my religious primary, they taught us that God liked everyone. And when we had an old song that used 'gay' as meaning happy but everyone laughed as they took it the 'wrong way' the teachers shut us up [changed the word] and told us to be respectful. That was it really, they didn't talk about families at all really, I think we may have had something on what family meant to us.

    I did RS as a GCSE [what is now the 9 to 1] at age 16. I was very talkative during class, but I didn't want to talk as much in the 'religion and homosexuality' class as I didn't want anyone to think I was. I did speak some though, can't keep me quiet for long.It was also the year that gay marriage came into affect so there was lots of discussion on that. I disagree with the idea of any 16/17 year olds getting married, so I kept quiet in fear of being seen as homophobic in case I worded my opinions wrong [I do that].

    Oh, and no, it didn't make it harder for me to accept my sexuality. Having a crush at the age of 14 on my 3rd cousin who was 18 years where everyone on the table knew why I couldn't get the word "hello" out to him was the reason I kept it quiet who I liked for long. I didn't want to admit he was the reason I know I like guys.
     
  10. GlassWalls

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    I should try to get my Christian friends to read those. Me and Christianity went our separate ways a long time ago but it would be nice to get some acceptance from my Christian friends...
     
  11. GlassWalls

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    That's a really awesome story! Thank you for sharing! I love how you only went to bible study because you liked a girl...
     
  12. AlexJames

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    Oh yes definetally. Religion constantly telling me that i am inately not good enough combined with mother flip flopping between loving mom and emotionally or verbally abusive mom made it hell growing up trying to figure myself out. If i had been raised differently, i would have figured this all out in middle school. But instead of acknowledging the things i was noticing and looking closer at them, i pushed it all away and tried to be the perfect daughter, the perfect christian. Suffice it to say, i'm an athiest now.
     
  13. Cinnamon Bunny

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    Yes and no.

    I grew up in a religious family. I was around religious theology that was against gay sex (not LGBT people) but I think the view of sexual attraction, sexual fantasy being shameful played a larger role. Moreover, how my parents reacted to sex as a whole (either silence, fear, or shame). Since I am a person of faith and wanted to be a good person, being sexual became a conflict which eventually lead to denial. So that made it difficult to realize my sexuality. I didn't hear solid ideas that challenged the theology related to sex during my youth, though I myself question that theology and was open to hear something different.

    The flip side of this is after I worked through the denial of my sexuality, faith in a gracious God who loves me as I am is what made it very easy to accept and embrace myself. I have a peace about it that no one can touch. I don't care if no one else accepts me, because God accepts me. There are better resources now, more readily available so when I did my own studying I found out that the Bible doesn't actually condemn homosexuality. It's more of a logical leap in interpretation. As far as I can tell, it has more to do with certain culture influences that have stuck with us when viewing the world and theology. Such as Roman culture.

    So in summary, certain religious dogma was harmful and I reject that dogma. Yet faith in God and my views of God allows me to accept myself and live my life in freedom and love.
     
  14. DecentOne

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    If I had been gay they would have at least tolerated that at church, even accepted it. They taught me I'm supposed to be me, that everyone is unique, we don't have to conform to fit in, and that different is good. It helped me become a better LGBT ally after I went off to college, and when I came home for break and my high school buddies were wrestling with the fact that one of our friends came out after high school (their church said "love the sinner, not the sin" and I said that was at least a start on compassion, but that I - and my religion - didn't think it was a sin, and he was still our friend and should be treated the same as before). Kids who were younger than me probably had an even better church experience, because I was there in the 70's, and while "on paper" the church was supporting GLB rights, and taught that homosexuality was o.k. in Sunday School, it seemed like the 80's is when things were less awkward to talk about, and my childhood congregation ended up with a minister who was openly in a same-sex relationship. But I wasn't gay, so I can't speak from the experience of someone coming out during that period.
     
  15. BothWaysSecret

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    Yes it did. But know I have come to the realization that God loves me regardless, and there are far worst things I can do than be bisexual.
     
  16. Theo Weiss

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    I've had quite a difficult time accepting who I am at times. I was raised as a Roman Catholic all my life and I have always felt something a bit morally reprehensible about who I am.
     
  17. TigerStripes

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    I was raised Christian, and followed quite passionately for a long while. My church never gave any speeches on the "fire and brimstone for sodomites"... but it was kinda just something nobody EVER talked about. If anyone around me was ever lgbt, I had no clue. It was sort of like they concept didn't exist, or was being actively avoided. I'd definitely say it contributed to the length of my confusion/denial period, but I was fully prepared to reconcile my religion with being gay even if it was REALLY daunting to even think about talking to church friends about it.
    I left the church since, but it was largely unrelated.
     
  18. Ruby Dragon

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    My religion definitely played (and still does) a big role in how long it took me to accept my sexuality. But I know it won't change, no matter how hard I pray. I just feel that now that I've accepted it and my conservative Christian parents have accepted it (Or at least made peace with it), I am happy. I love how liberating it is now that I've accepted myself, and now that I see how accepting other people can be when they find out. I'm still the same person, I just happen to like men and women :grin:
     
  19. Glitters

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    No. I'm a Christian myself, in fact. The only time religion mattered with my sexuality, was when I was 12. I had a pretty good Muslim friend. I was 'straight' at the time (like...didn't realize I was gay yet). I would always roughhouse with her, so I guess that's what set them off. One day her parents just asked me to leave their house randomly, and then my friend told me it's because they thought I was gay. I was like "Wowwww, so interesting, why do they think that?"
    It turns out they were right, but I still don't think it was nice to ban me from seeing their daughter.
    It always hurt more because they were so nice to me before that. Like, these were the same people who invited me to stay for dinner, and treated me like I was welcomed, until one day I wasn't anymore.
     
    #19 Glitters, Dec 13, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  20. Cinnamon Bunny

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    It might be a start.

    "Torn" is really good because it's non confrontational. Instead, it shares a personal journey and the reality of being gay and christian. It's aim is to evoke empathy, rather than wrestle the reader into submission. It does dispell some myths about being gay (ex gay therapy, gay being a choice, gay is the result of trauma or rebellion, etc) and brings up passages, but it's focus is sharing the author's journey. There's a greater focus on empathy, grace, and living in peace. So it's a good start for getting away from "gay people can be changed" to "This is a very tough subject that involves real people and even if we disagree there should be love and we can live in peace."

    "God and the Gay Christian" is trying to make a case that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality, thus it will be more challenging. While not exhaustive, its the most comprehensive book I've read thus far on the topic and would be the one I'd give to others to help them understand why I'm okay with being gay. It takes the Bible seriously, it's academically minded, and makes a solid case. It won't change everyone's mind though, especially if the reader doesn't understand living by faith/grace, or have a very traditional and complimentary view men and women, or like all human beings we're resistant to change.

    So it could be a start. It won't likely solve all your problems, but it might start some positive changes.
     
    #20 Cinnamon Bunny, Dec 14, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017