Trigger Warning: Discussion of suicide and depression
As our collective consciousness was recently focused on the themes of depression, suicide and suicide prevention, I wish to express what many of us in our community know: LGBTQ+ people are at an increased risk for dying by suicide. Here’s my story of self-destruction, spiritual obedience and renewal.
Over the last few years, I’ve been deeply engaged in work and research that centers on cultivating space where people of all faiths, sexualities, and gender identities can seek to both know and be known. I’ve seen so many people experience spiritual, systemic, and interpersonal harm and sincerely believe that fostering inclusive, equitable communities can help people heal.
In 1988, LGBT activists Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary established National Coming Out Day (NCOD), to be observed on October 11—the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.
Ten years ago if someone asked me to predict my future, I would have said that I expected to married with kids, and involved in some sort of Christian ministry. Ironically, that isn’t far from the truth, except that the specific confines of that prediction had a drastically different outcome than I (or any of my family) ever saw coming.
This article is for everyone who’s been kicked out.
When I worked as a youth leader, I had the pleasure of having a few of my youth come out to me. Having the chance to minister to them as a supportive, understanding adult was a blessing and a responsibility I did not take lightly. While it was certainly serious business, their coming out also led to some moments of fun and amusement between us.
I grew up in a Methodist Church in a small town in North Carolina. When I reached my pre-teen years, I moved from the children’s programming to Methodist Youth Fellowship, or MYF. Most of the time, I felt comfortable with the lessons they were teaching. Except for the talks about sex and sexual purity.
In her book The United Methodist Deacon, Rev. Dr. Margaret Ann Crain explains, “Because deacons are also ordained but usually do not do what elders do, we are challenged to think about ordination as identity rather than function.”
My daughter Kyndra Danyelle Frazier revealed to me that she was lesbian about 12 years ago. On that day, I was hurt but deep down in my soul I always knew that she was struggling with her sexuality.
Last night was my dad’s memorial service. I delayed my coming out because of his illness. I knew that he was already struggling with his own mortality and that trying to reconcile the daughter he was so proud of and loved deeply with the ideas he had about LGBT people would be too much for him.