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)
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