Dustin Lance Black has admitted that he thought he’d go to hell if he fell in love with another man when he was younger.
Oscar winning writer Dustin Lance Black has spoken out about the fear he felt as a young gay man about falling in love with another man.
He revealed that, growing up in a military Mormon household, he feared he would go to hell, get bashed or killed if he fell in love.
He also opened up about the fear, sadness and suicidal thoughts that he had as a younger man as his church heaped negative messages about homosexuality on him.
Speaking to Huffington Post he said,
CREDIT: Dustin Lance Black / Instagram
“I was about 15 years old when I moved to the Bay area. At that point, for eight or nine years, all I’d had were negative messages from the church about going to hell. From the military environment, it’d been made clear that I was definitely somebody to be excluded and, being from the South, that I would bring shame to my family if any body found out.”
“So I thought if I fell in love, I would go to hell, bring shame to my family, be bashed or be killed. That removes the possibility of love from someone’s entire life and replaces it with shame. As a young kid, you start to contemplate solutions for making this living thing shorter, I certainly did, and I know I’m not alone.
“If you look to the LGBT organisations, they’ll tell you that LGBT young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide, and nine times more likely if they come from an unaccepting environment.”
“There were just no hopeful messages.”
“I’d heard about this guy creating a world where it was possibly to be gay. All of a sudden, I realised I’d never heard one thing like that in my entire upbringing,” he remembers.
“That wasn’t an idea that had existed in Texas in the 1980s. I’d never heard that, I’d just seen Rock Hudson on a stretcher, with the message that being gay will make you sick like this.”
However Dustin was able to find hope in his situation when he learned more about the historic gay iconic figure, Harvey Milk.
“I was very lucky to hear the story of Harvey Milk, it was life-saving for me. I wanted to share it in case it helped others, but the story of one gay man isn’t going to do it.”
“Until recently, Hollywood wasn’t there to support a production of easily accessible hero journeys for LGBT people. I think it’s incredibly important for young people who, as they come of age and might start hearing negative messages about who they are, that they also have a history of their forefathers and foremothers that they can draw inspiration from.”
HuffPost UK is turning Loud & Proud. Over the next fortnight, we’ll be celebrating how gay culture has influenced and, in turn, been embraced by all fields of entertainment, inspiring cinema-goers, TV audiences, music-lovers and wider society with its wit, creativity and power of expression.