Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Young Student speaks out about Homosexuality

"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?" – Mat. 21:16

The next time someone seeks to demonize gays please refer them to Bianca Reátegui.  So what makes this young gifted and wise 17 year old Catholic student an expert on this very controversial subject?  The simple answer she is someone with a very obvious and profound understanding of God’s love.  It is often someone like this who serves to remind us that homophobia is a sure sign that we lack a complete trust in Christ’s unconditional love and are therefore acting woefully un-Christian.  For those who, through plain ignorance, continue on this mistaken path Bianca further reminds readers that medical science upholds that homosexuality is not a choice and cannot be reversed through conversion therapy.  In fact such therapy has proven to be even more detrimental to the physical and mental health of its innocent victims.  Homophobia, particularly when used to bully gays can even result in suicide.
Bianca’s profound thoughts on the subject, which you will find below, accurately reflect the words of Pope Francis spoken in July 2013 when he said"Who am I to judge them [gays] if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?"  With these inspired words let us hope that the extremely negative references contained in the present Catechism of the Catholic Church will soon be a thing of the past. 

Finally, I am sure that Bianca would agree that ignorance about homosexuality can only be eradicated through education and opening ourselves to the gift of God’s unconditional love for all creation and humankind. Here follows her excellent article Conversion Therapy is unlike Christ as contained in the most recent edition of the Catholic Register:

By  Bianca Reátegui, Youth Speak News
Four years ago, a priest gave a homily that has stuck in my mind ever since: “God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” He continued to say that there wasn’t a single thing a person could do, nor was there a single thing about a person that would make God stop loving that person — not his or her gender, race or sexual orientation.
The priest’s words were comforting, but also somewhat surprising to me because though God’s unconditional love is the essence of Catholicism, the homophobia and transphobia I had seen from some Christian groups didn’t testify to that love.

One of the more infamous examples of such discrimination is conversion therapy. Conversion therapy (also called reparative therapy) operates under the premise that homosexuality and transgenderism — the state of not identifying with one’s biological sex — can and should be changed. The therapy attempts to make those who are gay heterosexual and make transgendered individuals cisgender (gender that applies to a person’s biological sex).
Conversion therapy opposes current scientific thinking. Science upholds that homosexuality and transgenderism is not a choice. The effectiveness of conversion therapy has been disputed, but there is evidence that it can cause emotional and psychological harm. In 2009, the American Psychological Association released a list of the risks of the practice, which included depression, guilt, social withdrawal, increased suicide rates and a loss of faith. 

Young people who may already be at risk for mental health issues are very vulnerable when exposed to conversion therapy. A Canadian study titled “Gay and Lesbian youth suicide” estimated that the risk of suicide for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youth is 14 times higher than that of heterosexual youth. As well, a study done at San Francisco State University for The Family Acceptance Project showed that, compared to LGBT youth that faced little or no rejection from their families, highly rejected LGBT youth were more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide, and nearly six times more likely to report high levels of depression.
In response to the suicide of a 17-year-old American transgender teen on Dec. 28, an online petition was created by the Transgender Human Rights Institute to enact “Leelah’s Law,” a ban on transgender conversion therapy in the United States. Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note (originally published on her Tumblr blog) described the parental rejection she faced for being transgender and her subjection to faith-based conversion therapy. Alcorn writes, “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.” She ends the note with a plea: “Fix society. Please.”

A person never stops being a child of God, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity may be. God made His children the way they are and humanity was commanded to love one another as Jesus loved us.

(Reátegui, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ont.)

Recommended Reading:

 Homosexuality the real cause . . . . 

Conversion therapy:  . . . .  

Bullying: . . . . . 

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