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GLBT PG-13
How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager? (karma: 1)
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 05:18 AM
Edited by SiyoNqoba (34789) on 2013-07-05 05:20:04

My friend's little brother (from an extremely religious family) has recently come out, and has had some awful comments from people about it. This actually all happened a few weeks ago, but my head has kind of been in the sand since having my baby 4 months ago. I'd had a feeling this was coming, though, so I asked my friend about it, and she told me what had happened.

He's deleted almost every Christian from his friends list on Facebook, including me. We used to have 200-odd friends in common. We now have 10, and that includes his mum and sister. His sister, myself, and a few of our friends, are Christian youth workers, and he says our job is to brainwash kids.

I feel devastated that he would think I'd judge him. Utterly devastated.

I want to let him know that I don't hate him or judge him at all, that I think he's awesome, and that I support him. I thought about sending a message, but I really don't know whether I should, or how to go about it, or anything, really. I just feel so sad for him to have faced such negativity, and so sorry.

Any words of wisdom?

(If you have anything religious to say, please just PM that part to me, because this isn't the Religion board :) )

22 Replies to How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?

re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By Tishwah Comments: 586, member since Sun May 17, 2009
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 06:32 AM
Can I suggest having a look at Freedom2be
www.freedom2b.org

I know it is an Australian website, but I think the messages are pretty universal (maybe send it to him?)
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11592, member since Thu Dec 16, 2004
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 07:04 AM
I don't think you need any advice. I've read plenty of your posts about gay issues, and you have never seemed judgmental. It's great you want to reach out to this guy, and I have no doubt that whatever you want to say to him is completely appropriate. But just be honest. Let him know you support him. Basically, just say what you said here. I think that's very nice of you, and I'm sure it will mean a lot to him.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 25878, member since Tue Jul 16, 2002
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:06 AM
I agree with panic. I think you're a very kind and non-judgmental person. What you said here was great. I think it would mean a lot to him to hear from you and know that someone is on his side.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By SaraTheGrouchmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 8600, member since Thu Apr 17, 2003
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:07 PM
I agree with Panic, too. May be the first time ever? Hah.

Tell him all that you told us, just don't address his brainwashing comment. I feel like that could go off into a direction that you arent wishing to go right now.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6817, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 07:41 PM
If you can't contact him via facebook, how about good old fashioned snail mail?

I'd send him a "thinking of you" or "miss you" card with a short handwritten message that says something like, "I love you just the way God made you...which is just the way you are."

I think it would be very kind and caring of you to let him know that although some Christians think it is ok to hate, you are clearly not among them and want to share your love with him.

I hope this all works out. Please keep us informed on this young man's progress.

Hugs to you

Keep On Dancing*
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:05 PM
Wow, thank you all so much for your encouragement! I really, reaaly appreciate it.

I have a friend who is gay, and he's said I can give the kid his contact details, incase he'd like to talk to someone who doesn't know him and has been there, which is really kind of him.

And no, addressing the brainwashing comment is not at all on the agenda. I just mentioned it here so you'd get an idea of how he feels about people like me at the moment :)
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12956, member since Wed Mar 17, 2004
On Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:28 AM
When I see posts like this it makes me so sad for everyone involved. I do think sending a message is a good thing to do and I hope he doesn't delete it before he reads it, because I do think that a compassionate person like you could be good for him to have in his life. I think it's especially tough for gay kids who are also religious or grow up that way because of all the conflicting messages they end up receiving. But all you can do is tell him what you told us, essentially, and hope that if he needs to talk someday (especially about the religious stuff) he'll remember that you are someone with whom he can do that. I know a lot of gay men who grew up very Christian who would have loved to have someone like you around, because coming out doesn't mean you automatically become non-religious and it can really hurt to feel not accepted by your old religious community.

Good luck. I'm not a Christian myself, nor gay, but many of my dearest friends are one or both and so I did want to offer some comments from what I've seen. One of my best friends growing up was a strong Catholic until he came out, and the way his friends and family treated him was so awful that I have to say I understand why this boy is pushing his religious friends away. Less risk. Poor kid.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By J1ll Comments: 2344, member since Wed Oct 14, 2009
On Sat Jul 06, 2013 05:18 PM
I agree with the others. If he is feeling ostracized and judged sometimes a person stepping in and saying I'm not judging you can be incredibly powerful.
It's thoughtful of you to want to reach out. I hope you do.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By DeStijlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7023, member since Sat Jul 17, 2004
On Sun Jul 07, 2013 06:57 AM
I'm with everyone else here, I think you should send him a message and let him know it isn't something that makes you want to know him any less and that you don't judge him at all. Maybe leave anything religious out of it, considering his take on that. You don't want him to mistake your genuine intentions as an attempt to get at him from a different angle.

When you're feeling like its you against the world, someone reaching out and letting you know its not can mean so much. I think you'd regret it if you didn't.

Best of luck. :)
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3627, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Sun Jul 07, 2013 09:06 AM
For all sorts of situations where you don't know exactly what to say there's a greeting card which can express it. I wondered about a "Congratulations on Coming Out" card so I googled it and guess what -- lots of them!
www.greetingcarduniverse.com . . .
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Sun Jul 07, 2013 05:24 PM
How does this look?:

"Hey kid,

I've just had a chance to catch up on a bit of what's going on with you. Looks like you've had a massive past few weeks!

I don't know if you need to hear this, but I support you and accept you for who you are. You're still the same amazing [name] you've always been, mega talented and one of the most selfless young men I've ever met.

Hope you're doing good,

Courtney"
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By DeStijlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7023, member since Sat Jul 17, 2004
On Sun Jul 07, 2013 09:25 PM
^ Perfect. I'd even add something like 'I'm here if you need a friend' or whatever to the end, just so he knows he can confide in you if he needs to - but i guess that depends on how close you guys have been in the past.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11592, member since Thu Dec 16, 2004
On Mon Jul 08, 2013 01:35 AM
NO! Not good. You have to explicitly say the word GAY or sexual orientation or something. Otherwise, he's going to think you're embarrassed by it, and that's going to make him question your sincerity. You're telling the kid he can talk freely to you - you need to set that example. And you can't do that by completely avoiding the topic. Be direct.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Mon Jul 08, 2013 02:27 AM
Edited by SiyoNqoba (34789) on 2013-07-08 02:30:30
^Oh, good point! How do I work that in? "Hey, heard you're gay"? Aforementioned gay friend said it was really special to know that people weren't his friend despite his being gay, or because he was gay and they wanted to save him, but just because they loved him. I want to convey that, too.

EDIT: Maybe, "I've just had a chance to catch up on a bit of what's going on with you, and heard that you came out"?
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By DefyingGravityPremium member Comments: 5265, member since Sun Jan 19, 2003
On Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:01 AM
^ I'd recommend not telling him you want to "save him." That comes across as creepy Christian freak. And you're very far from a creepy Christian freak. Kinda the opposite, actually. How about just, "I don't know from personal experience, but I'm sure that coming out as gay has been hard. I'm proud of you for being you. I'm here if you ever want to talk. Love you, kid." Or something along those lines.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Mon Jul 08, 2013 03:31 PM
Edited by SiyoNqoba (34789) on 2013-07-08 15:33:55
^Kind of the opposite of what I meant, haha.

Aforementioned gay friend said it was really special to know that people weren't his friend despite his being gay, nor because he was gay and they wanted to save him, but just because they loved him. In other words, his being gay wasn't even a thing they considered when deciding to stay friends with him. He was just their friend, and that was that. I want to convey that, too.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By LizDancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1140, member since Fri Jan 06, 2006
On Tue Jul 09, 2013 06:39 AM
How about something like this:

(my additions in bold)

"Hey kid,

I've just had a chance to catch up on a bit of what's going on with you. Looks like you've had a massive past few weeks! I know coming out must have been tough, and I think you're so brave for doing it.

I don't know if you need to hear this, but I support you and accept you for who you are. You're still the same amazing [name] you've always been, mega talented and one of the most selfless young men I've ever met. I just wanted you to know that your sexual orientation doesn't change how I feel about you one bit.

I'm always here if you need to vent, or talk about anything. Or, if you want to talk to someone who's been there, a friend of mine who's gay asked me to give you his contact details.

*Contact details of said friend*


Hope you're doing good,

Courtney"
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11592, member since Thu Dec 16, 2004
On Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:35 AM
^Those are good suggestions. Except I don't think you should give him your friend's contact info. That's just kind of weird, and I can't imagine he'd call a perfect stranger to talk about being gay.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager? (karma: 1)
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Sun Jul 14, 2013 06:34 PM
I did it! Literally just pressed 'send.' My heart is beating so fast...

I pretty much copied and pasted your suggestion, LizDancer, thank you :) Except that I didn't say anything about my friend, because I figured that would slip in better if he mentions struggling, like "Hey, well, I have this friend who has been there, and I know he would love to hear from you."

Thank you all so, so, so much for your encouragement and advice.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7417, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Sun Jul 14, 2013 07:22 PM
Did you send it through FB or e-mail?

I ask because I ad a FB message I didn't know about for the longest time because of some messaging whatnot...so letting you know that if it was sent through FB, if he doesn't see it it may be a few days before he finds it.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Sun Jul 14, 2013 08:20 PM
There are two ways to send facebook messages. A facebook chat and a facebook "email". The emails going into a separate folder that most people don't know about it. if you lick on messages you'll see an "Inbox" and an "other". The inbox is where facebook chats go, the other is what most people don't realize exists. It you be used if someone sent an email to your profilename@facebook.com If you sent it through the chat function you should be able to see when he looks at it.
re: How does a Christian youth worker reach out to a gay teenager?
By LizDancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1140, member since Fri Jan 06, 2006
On Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:43 PM
Glad to be of help!

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