The Hidden Epidemic

Religious Studies 200

The Hidden Epidemic

Youth and adults of all ages should not be ashamed and afraid to tell their loved ones that they are gay. Religions around the world condemn words like gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual. They are looked upon unfavourably and are perceived as something that is broken inside the individual and needs to be fixed. Jackie, Ben and many other youth like them were forced to seek refuge on the street because they had no other choice. The very people who brought them into this world asked them to be something they are not-straight. The word of God teaches society to love all children in every form and that everyone was made to be just the way they are, but when faced with societies pressures of coming out, LGTB youth are often rejected and told they need to be fixed. The idea of religion and a higher power is there for healing, to make you feel a part of something, but instead it is abandoning the youth in their most difficult times and making them feel like outcasts in society.

According to statistics 40% of the homeless youth population are among the LGTB, but yet the LGTB only make up 5% of the youth population. Some of this is largely in part to do with highly religious parents rejecting their own children and choosing religion over blood. Highly religious parents are statistically more likely to reject their children than their less religious counterparts. These youth are left in the cold with nowhere to go and nothing to eat. Often they are not equipped for the severity of life on the street and end up freezing to death, being beaten or are taken from a drug overdose. Some community organizations attempt to help, but LGTB youth are often picked on at homeless shelters. Church organizations are getting more funding for homeless youth, but LGTB often do not feel welcome at these shelters as it was those beliefs that forced them out of their homes and into the cold. The next real plague is these youth who are dying on the streets daily, forced to oppress their thoughts and feelings. When asked, some of the youth still believed in God even after their parents chose religion over them. The faithfulness these scared and alone teens still possess after every hardship they went through is truly inspirational.

These youth have nowhere to go and are cast out onto the streets. It has known to become the “hidden epidemic” with parents casting out and rejecting their own offspring. Innocent youth and citizens are dying and for what reason? Just because they chose not to fit into what society has deemed as “normal”; kicked out to please the church in fear of being talked about or ridiculed. Religion should be about acceptance and love, love in any form through good times and bad. It does not need to have rigid rules but should provide assistance so that every day we do not have innocent youth dying because of rejection and oppression.

C.R. #uwreligons #uofc


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