By Tina Seitz
Christian Transgender Woman and Advocate Author
I have been reflecting on the effect religion has on society’s treatment of the LGBT community. Many (not all) organized religions teach society that all LGBT people are sinners, abominations, are all immoral, and we should not be afforded the same rights as a "moral" society due to the we were born. It is exactly these teachings, these exclusionary policies that causes society to consider the LGBT community to be second class citizens whose lives don’t mean as much as that of the "moral" society. Here is how society reacts to these church’s teachings:
40% of the homeless youth living on the streets are LGBT, most of them there because "moral" parents kicked them out.
30% attempted suicide rates among gay and lesbian youth. Why would anyone want to continue living as an "abomination" that the church teaches them that they are, knowing they will never be able to change?
Over a 50% attempted suicide rate for transgender teens, for the same reason listed above. (These rates do tend to be cut in half for those that actually live through their teen years.)
It is these same "moral teachings" that lead to minimal jail time for the many murderers of transgender, gay, and lesbian people. There are many people of LGBT people, trans people in particular, that serve minimal sentences because "the victims were at fault themselves obviously by merely being LGBT".
When taken to the extreme, there are some who believe that it is right to kill us because of who we are as was exemplified in Knoxville earlier this year.
Why doesn’t organized religion address these travesties of justice? It’s obvious that many "religious people" would rather hide these outrageous statistics rather than admit that their teachings are causing them to occur. To those people I would like to ask; are you ready to tell God that you did your best to make the world a better place by ignoring the suicide rates of LGBT people because "they are abominations and their lives really don't matter?
Are you ready to tell God that you made the world better by excluding LGBT people from the basic rights afforded to the rest of society, like same sex marriage? To tell God that by making it easier to discriminate against "those sinners", that the world is better off?
Can you look upon God and tell him that "I rejected LGBT people just like the Bible told me to, I wouldn't look at them, I turned away from them and let everyone else know that are an abomination. I helped society reject and discriminate against them."
Anytime that we are excluded from any aspect of society, the people that took part in our exclusion told society that LGBT lives don't mean as much. They told society that it's OK to reject us. It's OK for parents to kick their LGBT children out. It's OK that LGBT people kill themselves because of the message these "moral people" espouse. The same message of hate that caused a transgender woman in Greeley Colorado to be beaten in the head with a fire extinguisher until the killer said he "thought he killed it" but then he heard a gurgling noise, so he hit "it" again. I always thought that the Bible was a book of learning, yet what I see in society is the Bible being used as a weapon again and again. When you decide how to treat others different than you, ask yourself if God really wants your actions to result in the death of so many. Should you be their judge, or leave it to someone with a higher authority.