Elephants in the Room Part 2: Responding to LGBTQ+ Friends & Loved Ones with Celeste Lecesne

Episode 02

When it comes to addressing the elephant in the room, many of us really want to shy away and say “what elephant?” and whisk whatever the pesky and uncomfortable topic is under the rug. But, in the grand scheme of this life, addressing hard topics and working through difficult conversations is so important as we try to move forward and create a brighter and more accepting world for all people. One elephant we’ve tackled many times here on For the Love (as gently as possible–no elephants are ever harmed in the making of this show) relates to shining the light on the issues and struggles our LGBTQ+ friends & loved ones have faced. And while it is 2022, it remains unbelievable to us that we are still fighting for equality for our LBGTQ+ peers. Yet, in our culture, in our churches, that struggle is real. And what, as sensible, compassionate people and perhaps even as Christians, should our response to our LGBTQ+ counterparts be? Celeste Lecesne, one of the founders of The Trevor Project, is our thoughtful guide in this episode where we talk about that very thing. The Trevor Project started as a crisis hotline specifically for the queer community, offering them comfort and solace when they had nowhere else to turn. Celeste has fought for years to create a brighter tomorrow for LGBTQ+ youth, and we’re pleased to share this conversation with Jen to tell the story and shed some light on how we can all respond and understand the individual journeys of people in this community. Celeste uncovers some hidden parts of the LGBTQ+ history, tells us how young queer kids are coping today, and why acceptance and love can be a path forward for us all. 

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody. It’s Jen Hatmaker here, welcome to the For the Love Podcast. I’m so happy to be your host and I am absolutely thrilled you are here today of all days and you are going to be too. Because right now we are in a series called For the Love of the Elephant in the Room.

What we wanted you to know when you saw the name of the series is that we are talking here about things that have either historically and/or currently made us uncomfortable, maybe some more than others.

We are talking about race and racism, we’re talking about menopause, grief, just to name a few, things that are difficult to talk about, that are challenging to talk about. But guess what? We are not holding back here.

I think you know this show and you certainly know me enough to know that when something is hard I tend to steer into the curve. This needs to be talked about and we hope that you take our word for it that this series is going to give us a lot to think about and it’s worth our time and it’s even worth our discomfort.

So, I know for me there were just some things that we simply did not talk about growing up. Either it was completely invisible and neglected and sort of left out of the conversation, or when it did find its way into discourse, it was with disdain, it was with judgment, even hatred. And so what now?

I have been handed whatever influence I have, whatever this is, it’s what I have. It’s what I have to spend. It’s what I have to use and it’s what I have to offer. So, hence this series.

So, let’s dive into what we’re chatting about today in this series. We’re talking about the LGBTQ+ community. Now you know my history here and here’s what I want you to know. Our brothers and sisters and siblings and friends in this community, they need us to tune in here. They need us to listen, they need us to learn, and they need us to be absolutely unequivocal fierce allies for them.

You know that I have done a lot of personal work around this just in my own life, in my own family. You know that my daughter Sydney is gay, and we’ve had her on the show here when she got to tell her story in her own words. She is my beloved and I love this about her. I love that she is queer. I love that this is how she is made. It’s made her special in the world, I wouldn’t change one molecule of her, she is my beloved.

And I owe it to Sydney and I owe it to all the Sydneys to continue to talk about something that has historically brought so much trauma and so much rejection. But things are changing, they are. They are changing in real time as we are watching, and oh you guys, today is so good. It is so good that I could scream. You know who’s going to lead us in today’s conversation? A true trailblazer, a true pioneer.

I cannot wait to introduce you all to Celeste Lecesne. Now if you don’t know, Celeste is one of the founders of The Trevor Project. And if that is also new to you, The Trevor Project at its conception, is an unprecedented, incredible lifeline for young people who identify as LGBTQ+ or questioning.

They provide a ton of things, but kind of central to their work is they provide a free helpline and all the resources wrapped around it to show young people in the queer community they are loved, they are needed in this world, they are supported, and that this life is worth living.

It is truly an organization that needs to be shouted about from every rooftop. And Celeste was one of the brave organizers that made this possible. So, we are talking all about Celeste’s journey through life as a queer person, their new venture, what they see in the world right now, what we can learn, what we need to be paying attention to, The Future Perfect Program, which we’ll discuss and I loved every word of my conversation today with Celeste.

But I know a lot of you listen to the show, you listen to it just in your air pods. But I want you to know that we also video record every single interview and we upload it over on my YouTube channel and this is a good one to watch because Celeste is wonderful, everything, body language, facial expressions, this real magnetic, electric smile.

Celeste is just genuine to their core, and I knew that right away. And this is a beautiful conversation, it is challenging and it’s important. And so I’m hoping this is one that you’re going to share, that you’re going to listen to more than once, that you’re going to send to the people around you that you are in conversation with, that you were in dialogue with. And so lucky me. I am so pleased to share this conversation with you, with the absolutely wonderful Celeste Lecesne.



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