Last week, the Human Rights Campaign released a new study showing that LGBT teens face unique health challenges because of the bullying and family rejection that impacts their lives. Focus on the Family’s Jeff Johnston reacted to the study by claiming that homosexuality itself was the source of these kids’ depression and that the church should intervene to save them with ex-gay therapy:
JOHNSTON: There’s lots of kids who are confused about their sexuality and their identity. And for years, groups like HRC and other activist groups have encouraged them to self-identify as gay or transgender. That’s just not good or healthy for these kids… They’re confused about their sexuality and identity, and Jesus came to seek and save the lost, including kids like these.
Listen to it (audio courtesy of Good As You):
Johnston’s remarks could not be more wrong or more dangerous to these young people. Studies have consistently shown that people are happier when they come out and healthier when supported by their parents. They also perform better in schools with gay-straight alliances and LGBT-inclusive curricula, which aligns with studies that show people who are out at work are more productive and increase the productivity of their coworkers as well. By encouraging parents and church communities to reject these young people and coerce them with harmful and ineffective ex-gay therapy, Focus on the Family is adding to the very depression and confusion it’s feigning concern about.