We Have To Make This Stop

You do not have to watch the video.


Others I’ve spoken to have watched it and have wept. Others have had to shut down for a few hours. And others hit X when they simply could not stomach anymore of it. So no, you don’t have to watch it.


If you’re considering watching the video, think hard about how much you can take.


When I watched it I had a hard time breathing for a few minutes. My faith in the inherent goodness of people was swallowed up in the darkness because- My God- there is such darkness out there. Such terror and coldness and heartbreak out there.


Oh, and by “out there”, I mean in Fundamentalist world.


In the video, a nineteen-year-old kid has been called into (presumably) his mother’s living room for what he understands to be an intervention. He says he recorded the whole thing on his phone so he would have a record, should anything bad happen.


Present are his grandmother, stepmother and father. The kid is told that he must leave the house because of his chosen path; they can’t be seen by the community as tolerating that kind of life. He has to go. The kid turns to his stepmother for mercy, which leads to her becoming furious and then, she charges him, punches him. As he scrambles to his feet, his father, who has been silent all this time, is heard calling him a “queer!” and then the most heartbreaking thing.


It all settles into a quiet for a second, and then his dad says:


“You’re a disgrace. You are.”

If you watch the video, do not read the comments. I have not read them, but I’ve heard, as usual, they are abhorrent.


Justin Lee writes over at his blog:


“This video of a 19-year-old being kicked out of the house (and physically assaulted) for being gay is extremely disturbing to watch/listen to, but it is the kind of story I have heard many, many, many times over the years.

This is why I do what I do and the reason I’ve worked so hard at The Gay Christian Network for so many years, giving up free time and a social life, donating everything I can back to the organization I work for. THIS HAS TO STOP, and we have to be the ones to make it stop.”


We have to be the ones to make it stop.

40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ.

We have to make it stop.


First, if you are kid who has lost your bed because you were brave and honest and followed Jesus in a leap of faith, please read through the above letters, the “Love Letters.” Sit with them. Let my friends speak truth to you.


Second, if you are a person who has abandoned your child or is in a struggle with your child or a parent at all (no parent knows their kid is LGBTQ until they tell them) then please read this piece I wrote.


Furthermore, I have been asked, often, by fellow Jesus followers who love their LGBTQ friends and family and want to make a difference in the greater scheme of things where, exactly, they can turn to make that difference. Below are some doors. Some immediate actions you can take right now. Right this second.


Donate to the Gay Christian Network.

GCN does so much and I’m so indebted to them. They’re a nonprofit that relies heavily on donations. The work they do spans many areas in the LGBTQ community (though the title is less inclusive, it reflects more the beginnings of the organization, which was started by a gay Christian.)


Donate to the Marin Foundation

Not everyone at the progressive end of the room agrees with them. I have some disagreements as well. But apart from being bridge-builders bringing together LGBTQ Christians and Conservative Evangelical Christians, they do a hell of a lot of really good work with parents of LGBTQ kids. They made a huge impact in my family. I would also encourage you to buy founder Andrew Marin’s book, Love is an Orientation. Such a great book to start from.


Donate to the Reformation Project

The Reformation Project was founded by one of the most promising voices currently in Christianity. Matthew Vines published on youtube a sermon he gave to his church in Wichita, Kansas about why same-sex relationships are not immoral, but should be celebrated. The video (which can be watched here) went viral. Matthew followed this up by not only penning his own book (which can be bought here), but also by starting the Reformation Project. This group of young activists meet together to study the Bible, LGBTQ issues, and return to their churches equipped and empowered to enact needed changes in their communities to make them more welcoming, loving and inclusive.


There are also a number of other organizations to donate to:


Avenues for Homeless Youth (a local shelter here in Minneapolis)


The Ali Forney Center has a list for LGBTQ Shelters in every city


Parents should be following Susan Cottrell’s blog and Linda Robertson’s and for parents of trans kids should be watching this video by Debi Jackson


Other resources such as books and blog posts can be found under the “Resources” tab.


We need to make this stop. It is the test of our time. And it is happening every damn day.


“We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.” – James Baldwin

  • Lydia Yoder

    dear Lord Jesus… I’m so sorry that we treat your kids like this. listen, please let that boy know HE IS LOVED. I love him. I’m a straight step-mom, it’s the biggest responsibility in the world to love someone else’s kid. I’ve gotten pretty decent at it. he can come live with me.

  • http://benirwin.wordpress.com/ Ben Irwin

    I disagree with you about one thing, Ben. We DO have to watch this. By which I mean to say… I needed to watch it. Those of us who have no idea what it’s like to experience this kind of alienation and undiluted venom from their own family… we need to watch this. (I’m sure that for those who DO know what it’s like, watching a video like this can reopen deeply painful wounds. So your counsel at the beginning was, in fact, very wise.)

    Anyway, it’s hard to know what to say in response to this, other than what you’ve already said. We have to make it stop.

  • http://neyhart.blogspot.com/ Jennifer Neyhart

    I do not understand how anyone claiming to be a Christian can be okay with the abuse… how do we get from Jesus saying he does not condemn the woman caught in adultery, to “Christians” abusing other human beings in this way? It makes me angry, it breaks my heart. I want to stop it. This is my heart. Thank you for sharing this post, Ben.

  • http://reshapingreality.wordpress.com/ Aidan Bird

    These people are not showing love at all. They are so full of hate that it’s spilling over and damaging their loved ones and themselves. They’re blinded by it. That’s both sad and terrifying.

    I really, really wish everyone would stop and think before they say anything to us LGBTQ+ folk. First, we are trusting you enough to tell you about our authentic selves. That takes a heck of a lot of trust in our current hostile society. Second, when you react badly as in throw us out of the house or tell us we’re a disgrace or tell us you’re sad and need to mourn who you thought we were or that we should ‘change ourselves’ for you, what you are essentially saying is that you loved our mask more than you loved us. When you ask us to go back to that mask, you are rejecting our authentic selves, and we are left in darkness, pain, and shame. We’re now afraid to come to you again, and you are no longer a safe person.

    Don’t do that please.

    And that’s really all I have to add. (Definitely couldn’t watch the video. Too painful. Thanks for the warning about it and the description.)

  • Nancy Le

    physical abuse is traumatic, but when it’s done by a family member, it changes you forever; God forgive us

  • Addie

    This just broke my heart… I hope he is ok… I wish more people could just love and let the rest go….

  • Lindsay

    I just wept as I watched it. All I could say was, “Lord have mercy”. When I came out to my parents the discussion was difficult and hard. However, my parents have never once called me a disgrace, a fag, nor a queer. They have made clear they will never ‘cut me off’ nor abandon me even as me coming out has been hard for them to process. Sure, I thought our conversation was hard, but I realize as I see this video and hear other stores: this shit DOES happen. It’s absolutely crazy to me. Lord have mercy.

  • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

    I haven’t been able to watch this video. I’ve seen it posted a million times but can’t push play. I have a hard enough time stomaching people saying something stupid on video, and this would make me want to punch the world. Fighting for you and everyone else! Grace and peace.

  • http://allmydeamsarejellybeans.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for this post. It was awful to watch. What a ghastly sight to watch a family to say they “love” their son, but then do the apparent opposite in this video and use abusive language and more.

    It’s close to home because my girlfriend’s family disowned her for being gay and saying she was in love with me; her father did kriah(when Jewish men tear trousers in mourning) so she is ‘dead’ to her family.

    My heart goes out to all who have put in this situation of whatever religion, race,creed, colour, sexuality or gender.

  • Mark Ostlund

    Here is another organization that helps LGBTQ kids in the Twin Cities, especially those that have been kicked out of their homes –


    Thanks for your words Ben! I really enjoy your blog.

  • Kat Pannell

    I really shouldn’t have watched the video. My grandmother, who was my guardian at the time I realised that I was gay, was very much like this. Her reaction to my even mentioning anything to do with any kind of sexuality other than dead straight was the main reason I stayed firmly closeted until I moved away to another city entirely. And probably one of the reasons Christianity freaks me out so much today.

    It’s a big part of why I’m working my way through your blog now actually. It’s helping a lot to read the views of someone who is Christian but doesn’t take that to mean “I am authorized by God to hate everyone who’s the slightest bit different from me”. Not sure if you’ll see this comment since this is an older post, but seriously, thank you so much for not being terrifying. :]

    — Kat