Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oh dear God, how many times will this horror story repeat itself before people start getting a clue?

I was over at Pam’s the other day and she had a link to a discussion thread titled, My son killed himself! The site hosting this thread was called Jesus Christ Forums. (Have you guessed where this is going yet?) Unfortunately, I clicked myself on over to the site and read just enough to get sick to my stomach and genuinely depressed. And I’m still so haunted by what I read, I wish I’d never gone over there.

The mother of the young boy who killed himself describes herself this way:

"I am a mother of two and I was raised a Christian. I love Jesus and follow him.”

That’s when the chills started creeping up and down my spine. It should’ve also been my cue to get the heck out of there. But no, I felt compelled to keep reading.

Mother of gay son who committed suicide:

I'm so distraught; I can't stop crying! What did I do wrong? Is my son in Hell now for killing himself??

To which several people offer heartfelt condolences and one person even says he doesn’t think her son will go to hell for committing suicide.

Okay, so far so good. I’m seeing some compassion that I didn’t expect to see. But now distraught mom starts baring a little more of her guilt-ridden soul:

But wasnt it my fault for not accepting him?

And then this:

He had been upset with me because I told him that being gay was wrong.

And then a self-described "former" gay enters into the fray:

How did you "not accept" your son? Don't buy into the hateful and totally erroneous propaganda coming from the gay activists who blame Christians for every problem in the gay community and every gay teen suicide. This is simply a fallacious argument designed to make parents of gay teens fearful of what a few gay teens do. (emphasis is Seething Mom's)

Ok, now my blood pressure is starting to rise and I’m starting to mumble through clenched teeth: You self-righteous idiot! One of those “few gay teens” you so blithely refer to just happens to be this woman’s dead child – you heartless, thoughtless, completely devoid of brains b*stard! And maybe if this woman had been a little more fearful of what her gay son might do, he’d still be alive today.

But do I quit reading now and leave before I blow a gasket? Nope. I’ve got to hang in there and torture myself a little more.

Besides, Mr. “Former-Gay’s” not done spouting words of wisdom:

Have you ever told your son that other behavior is wrong? [emphasis mine] If you can answer yes to this question why didn't he [commit] suicide because you told him other behavior is wrong?

You are not responsible for what you son did

Blame gay activists who lie about the psychological roots of homosexuality in some, blame the homophobic idiots who call themselves pastors and the teachers of God's truth, blame our society that has turned homosexuality into a political football, but you don't have to blame yourself.

My mother blamed herself when her youngest son died of AIDS and I have never understood why.

To which distraught mom of gay son replies:

But if I had been nicer [emphasis mine] and said I didnt mind [didn’t mind???], he probably wouldnt have killed himself.

This discussion goes on a bit longer with everyone a little too eager to ease this woman’s conscience and maybe their own too. But unfortunately I don’t think anyone is going to relieve this distraught mom of her guilt, no matter how hard they try. I think she knows damn well she owns a big share of the blame for her son’s suicide. And as angry and repulsed as I am at her ignorance and criminal stupidity, I can’t help but feel genuine pity for her too. It just seems that to feel anything more would be overkill. She’ll punish herself more than anyone else could. And the punishment will last far longer than any punishment we could impose.

And then there is the self-loathing “former-gay” telling this woman that her son chose to be gay, that being gay is a behavior. What a load of cr*p. And he knows it. He also knows that poor kid killed himself because of his mother’s rejection of something over which that poor boy had no control, and certainly no power to change. So it’s really hard not to feel complete revulsion and contempt for this “former-gay” guy. But again I think he feels enough revulsion and contempt for himself that we don’t need to even waste our emotions on him.

But good lord, how many times does this tragedy have to play out before we start holding people responsible? How many more desperate children will end their lives before parents start realizing how wrong these bible-beating homophobes are? And how many more parents will live their lives with profound regret and guilt because they realize too late how wrong they were about their children? And what about all the churches and preachers who dedicate so much of their time screeching about the evils of homosexuality? When are we going to start holding them accountable for the tragedies they cause with their words of hate and messages of rejection? I say tomorrow is not soon enough. Share


Jarred said...

From the testimony page you linked to:

My emotions and desires have not changed...

Sounds to me he's not a "former" anything. He's just a celibate gay man. If that's his choice in life, more power to him. But to represent celibacy as an actual conversion to heterosexuality is dishonest.

As for this mother's story, I feel pity for both her and her deceased son. Truth be told, I suspect that a great many people failed this young man. As such, while her being more accepting may well have helped her son, I'm not ready to say that change alone would've ultimately affected his decision to commit suicide.

I only started accepting my own sexual orientation after spending half an hour laying in bed one night visualizing my own suicide plans down to the last detail. All I can say is that it was a very dark time in my life, and there were a lot of emotional factors that pushed me to that point. At one time, if I had made a list of people who I could "blame" for failing me so badly that things got to that point, just about everyone I knew at the time would have been on that list. I suspect that if we were able to ask him about it now, this young man would probably say the same thing.

I agree that we as a society need to start working to stop this sort of tragedy from happening as much as possible. I also think that this will take a great deal of work. One of the things that I'm personally working on is a project to record my personal struggles through growing up and coming to terms with my sexuality so that I can share it with others. After all, I think one of the greatest problems is the sense of isolation created by a sense that no one else has had the same kinds of experiences.

Seething Mom said...

Jarred, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your perspective is so personal and so invaluable. You do such a great service to others who may be reading this and going through the tough times you went through. You are truly an inspiration to those who may not quite be at that place of peace and acceptance to which you have gotten.

I suppose the sheer magnitude of this tragedy blinded me to the fact that there were most likely quite a few other major factors in this young man' life besides his mother's rejection that ultimately resulted in pushing him to such an extreme but final solution. And as a mother of a gay son too, I simply cannot wrap my arms around any parent rejecting their own child. It just does not compute. So my tendency was to come down hard on that poor woman.