In response to: ‘Jumping off the gw, sorry’ | The General Board of Church and Society

The following is a great essay addressing the Christian response to the rash of homosexual teen suicides.

‘Jumping off the gw, sorry’ | The General Board of Church and Society.

Every time I read/see another story about a homosexual teenager committing suicide, I remember one of my dear high school friends, Mark H.   Mark was a bright, inquisitive, creative and sensitive person w/ a wicked sense of humor and a quirky fashion sense  (His favorite pair of shoes were  miss-matched high tops).  While in  high school he described himself as a “try-sexual”, because he was  willing to try anything.  At the time, try-sexual was more socially acceptable than homosexual, particularly in the large southern high school we attended.  He relished his professed sexual ambiguity, and loved to flirt with and pick on me.  Many people assumed we were a couple, because of the way he treated me and the amount of time we spent together.   If I’d been wiser, I might have encouraged the misunderstanding, as it would have given both of us more breathing room. [ There were mistaken rumors about my own sexuality (Mel are you gay?— no, Melissa’s just my best friend), and a growing pack of young men who had difficulty understanding “no” (No, you may not touch me there…) ].

Mark’s struggle with his sexual orientation and an assundry of normal teenage angst lead Mark to attmept suicide at least two times, once at 16 and once at 17.  Thank God he did not succeed.  His suicide attempts lead me to question my own faith (Do people who commit suicide go straight to hell or heaven?), to struggle with how  best to handle the situation (what role do I have in preventing another suicide attempt?), and lead me into a life of social justice advocacy.   I learned that suicide is never an option for the young and healthy, and time really does heal most wounds, especially the emotional ones.     Hard lessons to learn as a teenager, but they made me more compassionate toward the struggles of others.  Fortunately, before his death, Mark had the opportunely to learn these lessons, and he grew into a well adjusted, professing homosexual with healthy relationships with a life partner and with his family.

Unfortunately, Mark H. died a few years ago due to AIDS/HIV  (God, I Hate that disease).   Mark was well loved, and he is still missed.   His impact on my life is still being felt.   I can only hope and pray that other teenagers and young adults who are struggling with their sexual identity will be able to gain enough breathing room free of harassment and abuse long enough to grow up to learn these lessons.  It is our job to see that these children are given that opportunity.


Dr. Mel

~ by sideseat on October 18, 2010.

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