Last fall, Generous Space partnered with a Christian agency, Shalem Mental Health Network, to put on a one day conference entitled, “LGBTQ+, Mental Health, and Faith.” After many months of planning, we were excited to offer a co-learning experience that brought LGBTQ+ individuals, parents, practitioners, pastors, social workers, and educators together to address the stigma, assumptions, and stereotypes that impact LGBTQ+ people in the arena of mental health in a faith-based context.
As the evaluations came in, it was clear that the highlight of the day was the panel conversations held with LGBTQ+ people from the Generous Space community. In the following video, you will meet five different individuals, each with very distinct experiences, lessons learned, and wisdom to share.
These are the questions that our panelists considered …. Watch the video to hear their responses!
John, for many years, you tried everything you knew to shift your sexual orientation. How did those efforts impact your sense of self and your mental well-being? What are some of the ongoing assumptions and stigmas about LGBTQ+ people that you continue to encounter within the church?
Winnie, you had an interesting experience with your Christian counselor regarding your sexuality – can you tell us about that? You identify as bi-sexual, what are some of the common misconceptions about bisexual people?
Mary, there was a period in your journey where you were both coming out and experiencing significant depression. Can you tell us more about how those two realities did and did not intersect? More recently, you have become increasingly attuned to the complexity of grief work that many LGBTQ+ Christians need to do – can you tell us more about that?
Ashley, how did your Christian upbringing impact your ability to come out to yourself and to others, and to accept the reality of your mental illness? You have embodied incredible self-advocacy and advocacy for others dealing with mental illness in our Generous Space community. How could the Christian community better support LGBTQ+ Christians living with mental illness?
Eric, many LGBTQ+ Christians have “the good, the bad, and the ugly” aspects of their experience with Christian counselling. What are some of the things that have impacted your journey – and what do you most hope Christian therapists will take away from today’s learning experience?
What did you relate to in the panelists’ stories?
What insight will you take away from their reflections?
How can you be a more vocal and supportive ally for those navigating mental health challenges?
Note: Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we do not have video footage of the panel of trans individuals from that conference. We are, however, just days away from the release of our new video resource, “Belonging in the Body: Transgender Journeys of Faith”. Pre-order today!