Know Our Stories: Damaged & Unworthy

Over the last two years, nearly 200 LGBTQ+ individuals have honored me with their stories, unpacking their experiences with church and family. 

This 35 year-old gay man grew up as a pastor’s kid in a Southern Baptist church. As a young child, church was always a positive experience. 

Yet when he realized he was gay, he felt no one could find out for fear of putting his father’s job and their family’s livelihood in jeopardy. 

[Imagine that weight on your shoulders as a child.]

A self-hatred developed that consumed his life for years, as he believed he was damaged and unworthy. 

At age 30, he came out to his parents. As he shared, “They don’t ever discuss it, and pretend like it’s not real. My mother has come around to saying she’d like to try to understand and that has given me hope.”

Dad has been a different story. “When I told him, he said he would try to find me help. And that if I ever date a man, that I should not tell him. He makes one line comments in his sermons about the sin of homosexuality whenever I attend his church – which is now extremely rare.”

Such are the stories of LGBTQ+ people growing up in church. 

We can do better. 

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