|Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OH). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Terry Firma (Friendly Atheist) brings us the story of a Mormon anti-gay activist, Wendy Williams Montgomery, who said some truly vile things about LGBT individuals along with her husband. When the couple learned that their own son was gay (and suffering from depression), they began to recognize that their crusade of bigotry was wrong. Firma makes an excellent point with the following:
In too many other cases, the next sentence of an article like this would mention a suicide, a funeral service, and a circle of devastated friends and family. Gay teenagers are four times as likely to make a “medically serious” suicide attempt as their straight counterparts for reasons that certainly include widespread Christian condemnation.Yes, things turned out far better for Montgomery's son. His parents have realized the error of the ways. In fact, the family is not the subject of a short film which recently premiered at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.
Firma makes the connection from the Montgomery family to Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who gradually abandoned his anti-gay bigotry after his son came out. I find Firma's summary of these situations to be a near-perfect reflection of my own feelings:
I’m of two minds when it comes to people like Portman and the Montgomerys. Their change of heart is, of course, a wonderful thing — it protects family bonds, lets others know that there’s no shame in being gay, and possibly saves the lives of suicidal LGBT kids. But the selfish way in which these transformations come about does verge on grating. It’s only after their own brood turns out to be gay that the parents begin to see the wisdom of acceptance. Prior to that, they happily contributed to oceans of silent misery, to turning other people’s kids into bundles of doubt, depression, and self-loathing.Yes, that's exactly it. If I was gay and had been tormented for years because of it, I'm not sure how eager I would be to forgive people like Ms. Montgomery or Sen. Portman. If I was the parent of an LGBT child who committed suicide in response to this sort of hate, I'm not sure how forgiving I'd be. Even now when neither of the above apply, I'm just not sure.
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