5 octobre 2009

My gay brother wants to die

what do you do when your brother is gay, but wants to die because your religion condemns it?


Hello Jasmin,

Thank you for writing to AlterHéros.

You say that your brother's homosexuality and your religion are at odds, causing him to think about suicide. Unfortunately, gay youth are much more susceptible to thoughts of suicide because of the perceived lack of tolerance towards homosexuality. Contrary to some beliefs, homosexuality is not a choice. Biological evidence supports the differences between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Perhaps some of this evidence would show your brother that he is not “unnatural”. The only choice gay people have concerning their sexual orientation is to live an openly gay life, or hide it and deny their feelings. This is why many people who are married and have children only come out when they can no longer live a “lie”, if you will.

The fact that you mention that your brother is gay indicates that he has come out to you. Has he come out to others as well, your parents or his friends? How did they react? What are your parents' views on homosexuality? Their reactions may have something to do with his feelings as well.

Now, I don't know what your religion is, but it is true that many religions are interpreted to condemn homosexuality (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc.). However, if I am not mistaken, these religions promote love as well, love for one's neighbour and one's family. The best thing to do for your brother is to support him through this difficult time. If he has a friend and confidant in you, or in any of his friends, it will make this obstacle a bit easier to overcome. There are many sources that address the relationship of religion and homosexuality, which you and/or your brother might find interesting to look at. Some are on the AlterHéros website (https://alterheros.com/english/dossier/dossier.cfm?ss=p&d=2) and I invite you to look at the specific sources of these articles concerning your religion. Being gay does not mean that one cannot be religious or continue to practice his or her religion. Many very devout people identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and have written books on the subject.

Concerning your brother's thoughts of suicide, they are to be taken seriously, and I commend you for asking for help. Feelings of hopelessness are very difficult to overcome without help from others and your help is already a big step. However, it would be helpful for your brother to talk to someone else as well if he cannot overcome these thoughts of suicide. Maybe there is a helpline, or counselor he can talk to. Even if he could consult AlterHéros articles or sections on the subject (https://alterheros.com/english/dossier/?ss=j), it would be helpful to realize he is not alone in this struggle. I recommend Mental Health professionals because they are the best to help him work out his thoughts on suicide and accept that homosexuality should not be a “death sentence”. Once he can accept who he is and reconciles it with your religion, he should be able to live happily. I wish you and your brother the best of luck in overcoming this difficult time, and invite you to write again should you have more questions.