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Anti-LGBT Counseling

If you have been following the news since lately, you would have probably noticed a string of anti-gay laws popping up around the country, which gets really scary for LGBT people living in states like Tennessee, Colorado, Mississippi, North Carolina and so forth…

Not to say that here in the ‘north’ (in Massachusetts and Connecticut for example) it’s all well and hunky-dory.

Of course we get our own share of antigay hate in our schools and supermarkets, at gas stations, in public parks and in communities that are so homophobic you would probably think that you are in another country.

But the new laws that we are now learning about puts LGBT people in a very peculiar place… you are neither safe from the general public nor the government.

One of the most heartless bills that has been proposed and that also targets young adults comes out of Tennessee…

Here… if you are LGBT, a therapist can refuse to provide counseling to you.

Now, I don’t know which is more devastating…
…the ordeal of coming out to someone who means judgement, who has no regards for your feelings and who refuses to even consider you for counseling
Or
…Knowing that you were denied service because something ‘might’ be wrong with you, an idea which your own government agrees with

In the first place, LGBT people who feel victimized would rather not speak to anyone… if a single therapist or the rest of society denies their value as human beings, then its best if they keep their true feelings to themselves.

…That doesn’t help the kid who is being bullied in school, by his parents or by his church… instead it forces him to find a very quiet room, where he begins to have negative thoughts, that could very well lead him to hurting himself.

Should that bill gets signed by the governor in Tennessee, more religious conservatives could get their way in picking what group of people in society they think is normal (taking us back many years)
While
Thousands of LGBT youth are being shun from the counseling and therapy that they need.

What good does that do?

I’ve met people here in Connecticut who still aren’t sure where to go to school or where to live. Their whole lives turn out to be a political message or a constant riot.

In North Carolina you could be told to leave a bathroom because you just don’t fit in or in Atlanta, a store owner could shut you out of his store…

But regardless of what’s happening in the South, I still think that hate is anti-American… we just need to reunite, rethink and begin to understand that we are all people who cry, bleed and sweat the same.

CCAR Young Adult & Family Program Open House

CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery) welcomed dozens as they celebrated the opening of their new location in Bridgeport for their Young Adult and Family Program. TurningPointCT.org, along with several other young adults, mental health organizations (DMHAS, Facing Addiction, etc) and outreach programs, shared in conversation as project manager, Carol Cruz, excitedly toured us around the space. This center is dedicated to providing recovery support services and resources to young adults & families utilizing Telephone Recovery Support and Recovery Coach Training.  Parent and family support is provided through education and peer support networks that also emphasize empowerment and advocacy skills training.

For more info and photos on this feature, check out our Featured Events section on the website – Explore Featured Events

Myths that Religion Taught Us

Too often LGBT youth are reminded that the church or whatever it may be is not the place for us to be who we are.
For some of us, our stories with religion end with rejection, abuse, trauma, just to name a few.
And I can understand the frustration and anger because quite frankly, a lot of us feel betrayed by society and our religious intuitions.

Just Monday another case was brought before the Supreme Court in New Jersey by conservative Christians to challenge the ban on conversion therapy in the state. Luckily the Supreme Court rejected this case which of course is a big win for the LGBTQ youth who may not have a voice when faced with gay conversion therapy.

Growing up, going to church seems ever so normal until we begin to realize that popular theological interpretations of religious doctrines do not view us as moral people.

At some point, I stopped believing… wasn’t sure if I was an atheist or not… but I was very angry, not only at Christianity but at all religions that perpetuate societal violence against LGBT people.

Somehow, I had absorbed a lot of damaging lies. For a few years I had no intention to renew my faith because the message I received and the people who embraced it didn’t make much sense.

I was forced to accept that being gay was a choice and conversion therapy was effective. In my perspective, back then, there was just no logics, no rationale for the lies that I was told.

Among the lies:

You can’t be christian and gay

The idea that the Bible, as it is, condemns homosexuality is an old age rhetoric that was never true.
“You are a reprobate and you are going to hell!”
Leviticus 20:13 and 18;22 are all too familiar like the beating stick that was meant to make us straight. Religious fanatics who are only as religious to the extent that they hate gay people, based on their standards, stoning a man to death can divinely resolve one’s sexuality. Needless to say, it was taught that gay people are not welcome in the faith.
What the pastors failed to tell us was that the Bible does not address the subject of homosexual acts between committed gay couples, because the ‘concept’ of a person being homosexual did not even exist at the time the Bible was written.

God hates the sin but loves the sinner

First and foremost, according to many theologians, this saying is not found in the Bible in so many words.
Many religious conservatives believe in a magical spell that could remove the sexual orientation from the person.

The implication here is that the ‘gayness’ and the beholder are two different things.
Not True!

“All Religions condemn homosexuality”

Notwithstanding that Christianity does not explicitly reflect the bigotry of many of its followers, and bearing in mind that both reform and conservative Jews are usually accepting, there are still many other religious groups that are affirming or accepting of gay people… such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, among some of the most popular.

Altogether, we all have different faith and we are entitled to our beliefs but it’s ungodly to use God in the name of bigotry. It’s senseless to believe that the intention of a loving God, for this world was to punish humans for things beyond their control.
Not true!

If there was a cure for depression

a figure with a head that is shaded out
For months I struggled with depression hardly knowing what I was going through…

For the most part I knew that I was often anxious and I had this empty feeling that I just wanted to go away.

I am a very pessimistic person, which means that I still am… I worry about the simplest things – sometimes within my subconscious.
Maybe I have always been this way. I remember being in high school… I couldn’t go through a weekend having not looked over what I had done in class all week without feeling worried that something could go wrong. For one, I cared deeply about my school work but I was a little on the extreme. I studied, it may not have always been the best approach but I had a weird attachment to books. It was very natural for me to run though my notebook or I would just end up starting another week feeling some struggle or disappointment. Too bad, I’m now in my adult years and I’m beginning to realize that it’s not just the books; I really have an overbearing fear of failure which gives way to occasional panic attacks.

It’s that feeling you get when you think that you have not done enough or there has got to be something else to do… that restless feeling.
Every day I have been in the habit of reading a chapter or so from a book, running through a Spanish lesson or doing some form of workout. If I have something planned, I immediately get to it but if I procrastinate, I begin to develop anxiety.

But there are those days when I feel so down that I can’t get to anything and quite frankly, it makes matters worse.

I develop a feeling of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness. I have difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions.
When I was 20 years old I was diagnosed with major depression. It was really hard for me to sleep at nights – it still is. If you knock at my door at 3am in the morning I’ll probably answer it immediately. I started medication and for some time it helped but the true antidote were the things that I do when I am feeling down or when I begin to have negative thoughts. I write poems, I paint and I take photographs.

But that doesn’t mean that life eventually became perfect and my depression went away. These things don’t really cure ‘losing my family’, ‘being jobless’ or ‘homophobia’ so the only thing that has really changed is that I have developed better coping skills. I don’t have as many suicidal thoughts as before and I feel a bit more interested in my hobbies and life altogether.

Now and then I have a rough day and I sleep it out; I try not to get into the negative thinking. But I have to admit, it can be hard at times… if that doesn’t work I turn to my music, if that doesn’t work, I take a walk… I just keep trying.

Check out these uplifting stories:
http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/all-stories/7