(Gay) Mormon Guy recently has an interesting post up today about chemical or situational depression. Take a moment to read it and then my response to him.
I definitely think that there is an abundance of introspection in the LGBT Community. Largely because coming to the realization and acceptance of one’s sexuality necessitates introspection AND because once someone has realized it themselves, often times they feel they can’t or simply don’t talk to anyone about it leaving LGBT members to live in their heads as both you and I do.
I do disagree (naturally) with your characterization of gays. Granted that may be the stereotype, but there are LGBT members of every color and creed that do not reflect the camp culture you described and as for the activist component (which I argue is a little – only slightly though – more mellow than you describe), that is found in nearly every minority culture on earth. Cultural repression gestates feelings of solidarity that is seen in activism, don’t believe me? pretend you aren’t a member and ask someone on BYU campus “Why don’t you believe in Christ? Why aren’t you Christian?” While you will get rational-minded answers, you will cultivate a feeling similar to the “passionate hate” you attribute to the LGBT community. Except that we hear it over and over again, “Gays are an abomination”, “God Hates Fags”, “You should burn in Hell”, and “You are trampling on my freedom” and because these viewpoints are based in a mix of ration and religion, sitting down and calmly talking about the issues fails more often than not. This builds and creates a culture of repression that fosters animosity towards those who don’t understand.
As a religious, faithful Mormon have I been embraced with open arms? no. But I have been welcomed and enjoined in a community wherein I am able to help spread civility. My biggest frustration with the LGBT community is that we seemingly can’t be accepting of other view points, even when we are asking for acceptance of our own. This hypocrisy frustrates me to no end. I tell you this because while you may not have this (again I dispute the degree) “Strong negative emotion” towards non-supporters, you can be a part of the LGBT community and in fact you are simply by having this blog.
Having both dealt with depression we both know that it can be chemical, but also situational. I am on board with you that depression leads to suicide and substance abuse and even promiscuity (as a form of substance abuse) that leads to HIV because I feel that all three of those are coping mechanisms for depression. In talking with you and getting to know you I assume that you already recognize and know your own coping mechanisms for depression. Running, playing soccer, searching the scriptures, prayer, service, etc. In my experience in the LGBT community I see that abusing alcohol, smoking, drugs and sex comes directly from a persons attempt to “feel better” about themselves and a smaller portion from an alignment of LGBT issues with the Liberal/Democrat agenda that often applauds recreational drug use and promiscuity.
But this you already concluded. You proscribe 3 potential reasons why tis depression might not be a brain chemistry thing. In your first 2 examples I think you have over-simplified the acceptance of urban metropolis and Lawrence v. Texas (2003). Why? Because the depression often starts much earlier than a publicly out life (again as we can both attest to). Which brings me around to your third option (which is discussed far more often than you realize just maybe with a different slant). An oversimplified version of your 3rd option goes something like this: Doing good -> feeling good, doing evil -> guilt -> depression thus to be less depressed do more good. If I have mis-characterized this let me know and I will revise. My question for you is this, when were you first depressed? In our discussions you have made mention that you have been depressed for a LONG time. The follow-up question would be, when was the first time you sinned in regard to the behaviors associated with homosexuality? While you certainly don’t have to tell me publicly on this comment thread I suspect that there will be a discrepancy and, gathering from our discussions I don’t think you have ever even held another man’s hand let alone been involved sexually.
Given this assumption (which may be wrong in your case) that you were seriously depressed before you were involved in homosexual behaviors that means that the guilt that led to your depression had to come from a different sin (under the rules of option 3). I posit that that the only conclusion is that the sin that led you to be guilty that led to your depression was simply your sexuality and not any behaviors associated with it. This leaves us with two choices. 1. That same-sex attraction, in and of itself, is a sin or 2. that the guilt that leads to depression can come from something other than sin. I think we are clear to say that 1 is false leaving us to look for the source of the guilt and, while there may be others, the highest probable source of that guilt is a societal and cultural normative that your sexuality collides with and has been for many, many years.
This is the more commonplace understanding of your option #3 in discussions both the LGBT communities and scientific literature, that cultural repression of non-normative roles leads to guilt. Sadly this is also the cause of so many LDS/LGBT members who take their activism over the line that divides being pro-gay and being anti-church. This is the cause of the militant activism you discussed earlier, a rebellion against the “hetero-normative” that sadly contributes to promiscuity. I truly and honestly believe that if the culture of the Church was able to equalize and normalize the sexual identity of its LGBT members to the point at which their was a cultural feeling of equality and embracing fellowship, that LDS/LGBT youth could grow up and, when realizing their sexuality, say “looks like I am on path B instead of path A” and intrinsically know that both were equally good, equally accepted, and that no option was superior to the other and not feel the guilt and depression that you attribute to a knowledge of sin from the light of Christ.