LGBTQ Guide to Unlearning Religious Trauma

LGBTQ Guide to Unlearning Religious Trauma
Tanner James | Grace Schwartz

The article is about how to begin the process of unlearning religious trauma. An example of religious trauma could be described as the result of being taught in your faith that you’re in danger of eternal damnation due to human sexuality, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This can lead to low self-worth and intense feelings of shame. The article provides some tools for unlearning religious trauma including seeing the difference between belief and truth and dismantling rigid beliefs.

The psychological effects of being LGBTQ+ and growing up in a religious household can lead to a lifetime of harmful brainwashing and confusion for many people. There are ways to unlearn these toxic tendencies, but it takes time, patience, and self-compassion.

Healing: Seeing the Difference Between Belief and Truth

There is a difference between what we believe and what is true. For those recovering from trauma as a result of religion, it is important to understand that our beliefs are just thoughts that we assign power and authority. There's a saying that goes like this: "if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth." In a similar vein, being repeatedly told throughout your life that you will spend an eternity in hell because of who you love can easily become an anxious belief. It can take years for people to realize what was said to them by others about God or religion is false.

Dare to Doubt | Resources for LGBTQ Members & Families
If you or a loved one is a member of the LGBTQ community and you’re struggling with a crisis of faith, these resources are for you.
No matter where you find yourself on your journey in and out of faith, we hope you find support! Here are some resources to help you out...

Dismantling Rigid Beliefs

Many people struggle to break free of old beliefs and patterns. These people often find it difficult to unlearn a belief system that has been ingrained in their lives for such a long time. This rings true for those who have been raised in a religious environment, where they were taught from a young age to blindly follow the values and rules set forth by the religion. However, if these rigid beliefs are holding you back from living an authentic life, it is important to take steps towards changing them. Here are some tips on how to do so:

3 Tips for letting go of harmful ideologies:

  1. Be honest with yourself – If you find that certain harmful beliefs keep coming up over and over again, chances are there’s something going on inside of you that needs addressing.
  2. Ask for help – You may be able to get support from a friend or family member who has been through similar experiences in their own lives.
  3. Have patience and practice self-compassion – It takes time to heal the wounds inflicted by negative thoughts and feelings. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you need to feel without judgment.
Religion and LGBTQ+: Embracing Two Worlds | Vincent Mascarenas | TEDxMoreauCatholicHS
In his talk, Vincent discusses his own experience growing up gay and Catholic and the struggles that happened as a result of his conflicting identities. He talks about how he overcame the stigma surrounding being an LGBTQ+ Catholic and brings to light ways in which both groups can come together rather than against each other.

Does this mean that if you're in the LGBTQ+ community, you should not have a faith?

Not at all! It's clear the LGBTQ+ community has a challenging history with religion, generally speaking. But, it's important to remember that faith means different things to different people – it is a beautiful and highly subjective thing. For some, faith can provide comfort when they're feeling down; others find solace in prayer. Since faith is inherently subjective, doctrines and texts can be interpreted in several ways.

Resources to help you now:

1. This Little Light of Mine - Podcast

‎This Little Light of Mine - LGBTQ, Christianity, religious trauma, mental health on Apple Podcasts
‎Religion & Spirituality · 2022
Join me on my healing and recovery journey towards mental health, spiritual health and emotional health as I find my voice by sharing what happened in my life as a Queer Christian where I was taught that I was not allowed to love.

2. Here is a list of books about LGBTQ+ Religion & Spirituality

LGBTQ+ Spirituality & Religion Books
The UK’s largest LGBTQ+ & Gender Identity Shop. Proudly Independent & Gay Owned since 2014. Manchester City Centre based with 1000s of items in stock, including The Queer Book Shop, greetings cards, flags, jewellery, clothing, pride & LGBTQ+ accessories & parade essentials. Profits shared with LGBTQ…
Dare to Doubt | Resources for LGBTQ Members & Families
If you or a loved one is a member of the LGBTQ community and you’re struggling with a crisis of faith, these resources are for you.
No matter where you find yourself on your journey in and out of faith, we hope you find support!
Welcome - Believe Out Loud
“Believe Out Loud is for all identities, sexualities, faiths and denominations.”
Pride Counseling
Pride Counseling offers private, affordable online counseling when you need it from licensed, board-accredited therapists. Get help, you deserve to be happy!
Get matched to a licensed therapist. Communicate via phone, video, and messaging.
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