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Pope and priests are pushing gay teens to suicide, survivor warns in mass letter

Pope and priests are pushing gay teens to suicide, survivor warns in mass letter

A gay woman and former Catholic has written thousands of letters to the Pope and his priests to stop LGBT teen suicides.

Kellie King, 40, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is sick of the discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people receive from the Catholic Church.

Over a five day span, she sent letters to religious leaders over the world in an effort to show them the effect they are having on LGBT people.

When King was 18, she tried to kill herself.

Explaining to local station WishTV, she remembered when her first relationship ended and her parents refused to speak to her.

‘I had nowhere to live, and had no money,’ she said, fighting back tears.

‘I was feeling so low at the time that I went to a church. When I went in the man at the church told me, and I’ll never forget this, “If you choose this lifestyle Kellie, you will burn in hell”.’

Right after she left the church, she then felt she had no choice but to commit suicide.

Now her aim is for today’s teenagers to not be told the same thing.

‘My goal is to hopefully save some lives, first,’ King said. ‘My next goal is to have conversations with people who hate us.

‘Not to try to change them, not to say that you’re wrong but let them see the other side of being gay.’

The responses King has received so far have been surprisingly positive.

A US archbishop told her: ‘Please know that I have read your letter with deep respect and reverence.

‘Thank you for allowing me to share in your journey as well as in the pain in which you have experience in your life at times. I also respect and appreciate the struggle with faith that you have had because of the issues that you raise in your letter.’

Earlier this month, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church had become too focused on homosexuality and abortion.

While King said the announcement was a step in the right direction, she hopes more change is coming.

‘It’s just love,’ she said. ‘It’s just two people loving each other. That’s all it really comes down to.

‘Believe me, it’s not comfortable talking about my life. It’s not comfortable being this vulnerable, but you have to be to change people.’

It is estimated gay teens are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. In California, that number climbed to eight times more likely.

King has now launched a petition urging for a conversation with Catholic leaders to solve the high rate of suicide among LGBT youths.

Check out the petition here, and her original letter to Pope Francis here.