Religious Trauma Part 5 : Pesky Abnormality

By Valerie Rice | December 28, 2020

Photo by Lachlan Ross on

Hello everyone, welcome back! We are getting pretty heavy and it just gets worse. Kindly get your blanket and comfort drink because we are going to go into the dark world of gender and sexuality. I know, I know, you think we covered this last time. But we did not. We discussed sex, which is not quite the same thing. But I see why you would think that. Gender is the construct of male and female, you can check that out here. Sexuality is about orientation, which is a matter of horror in a religious home if you are not straight, and an area of abuse if you have a toxic and traumatizing religion. Have you heard ”Love the sinner, hate the sin?” Well, that is toxic AF, and a huge red flag. So let us skip on down the path of merry discovery yet again.


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

Most, if not all, religions have some view on marriage and reproduction. The toxic ones are those that tend to define this in the strictest sense. Not only are there only 2 genders in their eyes (there are more) but there is a divine purpose of marriage and baby making. Not only does this serve to keep women subjugated, but it also perpetuates the previously discussed myths. It also has the devastating effects of condemning those who do not fall easily into acceptable categories. Anyone on the LGBTQ spectrum, for example, becomes sinful. As does any woman who prefers not to have children, use contraceptives, and opt for abortion. Ouch. So these individuals are shamed, reprogrammed, and told to renounce their sins to stay in the fold.


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It has long been established that the LGBTQ community is just as normal as the rest of the world, just a smaller group. So what are these groups doing? Marginalizing! And while it may seem like the people involved can simply walk away but this is not the case. If you are a child in a family that is toxically religious, you may be thrown out on the street and cut off, making you a homeless child. You could be sent to conversion therapy, which has been called out by the ACA as unethical, and is illegal in most of the developed world except the US, or you could end up killing yourself out of guilt. If you are “lucky,” you survive to adulthood with severe mental illness and unresolved trauma to pass on to your children in the cult that raised you. And very few escape to work on these issues and live free lives. Good for you guys, much love. I’m here for you. 


Do you still have your journal? Go ahead and write down as many terrifyingly toxic things you have been told about sexuality and gender. When you are done, go ahead and tuck it away with your list of other false beliefs. Now let’s breathe and try a little self care. Find an activity that suits you. What relaxes you and makes you feel good? Anything that boosts your sense of well being and happiness will do. No repeat after me : I am valid. I am loved. Nobody can take that away. It feels weird, right? Yah, but it is still true. I am not going to make you look in the mirror or even try and look yourself in the eyes yet, because I know how hard that can be. But I do want you to try and believe that will be able to. Look, we have had some serious discussion lately and I will say this again (and again later) but if these are hitting you hard you need a one on one counselor.


Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern on

There is more on this topic, and I hope you are able to take the time to click the links related to it. There will be more upcoming though, so please stay tuned. For today I want you to remember that the old rules written and preached by sanctimonious old men do not have to apply to you. Being born in the wrong body, being attracted to whomever you are attracted to, not fitting into prescribed roles, none of it is a sin or a choice. It is simply a natural variant and one that has always occurred. Only humans label and defile the natural world. I love you. Be well.

Published by vrice2010

A mother, an author, a nerd. After many years working in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities, graduating from the University of Phoenix, and pouring my talents into my local community, I decided to spread my wings and reach a wider audience.

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