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Specific Issues Faced by GLBT People from Church Backgrounds - National LGBTI Health Conference 2007


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Over the last three decades, as GLBT people, we have seen changes in many areas such as social acceptance, legislation, policies and a growing, visible, GLBT community, with all it’s many subcultures. There is, of course, still much work to be done. The last bastions of homophobia, misinformation and even hatred of sexual minorities are and will be religious institutions.

Resolving the fact that you are not opposite sex attracted, like everyone else, usually causes a degree of stress and takes time to resolve. If you come from a religious background and particularly a strong Christian belief system, then the process and issues become much more complex. The dissonance between your reality (you are homosexual) and your belief (homosexuals are not acceptable to God) can be enormous. Fuelled by a sense of isolation, shame and guilt, this dissonance has driven most people from church backgrounds to thoughts of suicide, some attempts and others succeeding. Everything is internalised and if unresolved, results in other mental health issues, addictions and can even create physical illnesses.

Working through the maze of resolving faith and sexuality can take years but with support, information and an understanding of a few principles that process can be accelerated

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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Specific Issues Faced by GLBT People from Church Backgrounds - National LGBTI Health Conference 2007

  1. 1. © Anthony Venn-Brownwww.anthonyvennbrown.comHEALTH IN DIFFERENCEChanging Spaces Changing Faces6thNational LGBT Health Conference 2007“The Specific Issues Faced by GLBTPeople from Christian Backgroundsand How to Resolve Them”Anthony Venn-Brown
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  11. 11. © Anthony Venn-Brownwww.anthonyvennbrown.comSEXUALITYChristian BeliefsSexual AbuseHIV+Areas of ResolutionChristian BeliefsFamily
  12. 12. © Anthony Venn-Brownwww.anthonyvennbrown.comChristian Belief System1. Homosexuality is anabomination. Lev. 18, 202. Homosexuals can’t enterthe kingdom of God.1 Cor. 6:93. Homosexuality isunnatural. Rom. 1. God’splan is Adam and Eve.4. Homosexuals burn inlust for each other.Rom:15. Homosexuality iscaused by incorrectfamily upbringing and/orsexual abuse6. God answers prayer7. God can do anythingPerception/Experience/Reality1. I am an abomination in God’seyes. Death penalty.2. If I don’t become heterosexualthen I go to hell3. I must become heterosexual to benormal.4. My sexual addiction/obsession isbecause I’m gay. Demonic.5. I am flawed. God can heal me ofthis dysfunction/curse.6. God hasn’t answered my cry forhelp. I don’t have enough faith.7. For some reason God hasrejected me. I am not worthy.DISSONANCE
  13. 13. © Anthony•Self-loathing•Self-destructive behaviours•Obsessive/addictive behaviours•Mental & physical health issues•Depression•Attempted and actual suicideResults of Dissonance
  14. 14. © Anthony Venn-Brownwww.anthonyvennbrown.comResolution Options1.Live in denial2.Reject previous beliefs3.Adopt new beliefs4.Redefine beliefs5.Put beliefs on hold6.Hold several beliefs at once
  15. 15. © Anthony Venn-Brownwww.anthonyvennbrown.comThe Process of ResolutionDenial (I’m not gay)Rejection (I can change it)Suppression (I can control it)Hatred (I hate my gayness)Acceptance (Healthy & unhealthy)Celebration (I love being gay)
  16. 16. © Anthony Venn-Brownwww.anthonyvennbrown.comAmbassadors & BridgeBuilders