There has been a certain confrontation going on this past week amongst different citizens of Orange City as well as students and faculty/staff at Northwestern. This conflict arises from books at the Orange City library that speak on the subject of the LGBTQ+ community, either for or against. One-hundred sixty-eight items to be exact, some of which are child-level reading material. The community conflict began when Dr. Terry Chi started a petition for the labeling and sectioning off of these materials as well as asking that Orange City’s majority Christian population’s beliefs and views about the LGBTQ+ topic be taken into consideration before acquiring more materials on the subject.
Along with this, a flier, which Dr. Chi was not associated with and spoke out against, was handed out throughout Orange City. This flier had Dr. Chi’s petition on one side, which is hardly problematic. The appalling atrocity came from the other side of this flier which had different “data points” whose purpose was to give voice to the reasons one should not associate themselves with homosexual or transgender lifestyle including: “Transgenderism has a 46% (men) and 42% (women) attempted suicide rate,” and, “Adult children of same-sex partners report on-going depression nearly triple that of adult children of heterosexual parents (51% vs. 22%).”
I would hope that these facts would be disturbing to many, but not for the intended purpose that the Sioux County Conservatives group used the statistics. The fact that these statistics exist in the first place should unsettle us. Now this is a situation where I can’t speak as an authority because of my lack of expertise as well as my own heterosexuality, but I would urge you as a reader to consider this rhetoric used as something that shows why people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are pushed in ways that make these statistics exist.
Do you really think that it is someone’s sexuality or gender identity that pushes them toward depression, anxiety or attempting suicide? Or are these statistics rather the outcome of how society and especially Christians have demonized this group and ostracized them to the edges of our civil society?
I would ask that we look at these statistics in the terms that they address: depression and attempted suicide rates. For the sake of justice and the flourishing of humanity which God seeks for all people, can we see how sickening of a standard we have created for how we should treat those who are different than us? How can we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God if we cannot see past someone’s sexuality or gender identity and look at their humanity as a whole?
The purpose of this is not to please everyone or be wishy-washy in any sort of belief, but to seek justice for people who have been wronged and who continue to be wronged in the world, the community of Orange City and on the campus of NW.
Once again, I’m no authority on this issue and I am always willing to talk about this subject in person because it is complex and is not discussed well in many faith communities, including at NW, but I hope a look at these statistics and their true meaning can shed some light on the society we exist in.