Gay Amish

She emailed a few months ago with questions. I answered. Recently she emailed more.

"To be officially shunned you have to be a member of the Church, right?" she asked.
  • TRUE. But, while the Church may shun, the family might not. Read about Harvey in my last post. Then - with some - the Church may not but the family shuns their "wayward" child who left. That's been the case with many of my former-Amish friends and family.
I reminded my questioner of my shunning post - and it's complexities. "Read it," I advised. 

This inquisitive woman posed a hypothetical situation, "Suppose a young Swartzentruber person who hadn't joined the church yet did something the community considered really bad? Can they still be shunned?"
  • That's called a Bann - temporary (maybe 2 wk) shunning. Amish can be put in the bann for trivial behaviors the church leadership wants to correct (or control). When one is still Amish but, disobedient, the bann is put upon him/her in an effort to show disapproval and urge correction. I know one Swartzentruber gal who was threatened with the bann for . . . laughing in church! She's since left the Amish.
Her next curiosity was on sexual preference. "If a young person left home and their family found out they were gay or something. Would they be shunned?"
  • BELIEVE IT or NOT leaving Amish is more serious to them than homosexual behavior. Leaving Amish IS the sin. No hope of heaven! Shunning is the Amish way of correcting errant behavior. They believe shunning might woo the wayward back to home to Amish.
She added, "I would imagine homosexuality would certainly never be accepted, and I wonder if the community would shun, or would keep trying to convince the person to change."
  • GOOD QUESTION. No it's not condoned but, just as there are Amish who struggle with alcoholism, spousal abuse, incest, or adultery, it's swept under the rug! Amish - for the most part - never speak of anything sexual or of human sexuality. If you think the Church would publicly confront a gay person (if they found out), and demand for confession, I have no examples.
    I know one man who sexually abused his daughters - nothing happened. After he and the daughters left the Amish, he became a Christian, changed, found a church to attend, confessed to our legal system, and was incarcerated. He's now released, and has a healthier relationship with his children.
  • If you want to read personal stories of those who were gay as Amish try this site.  
What about you? Got a question about the Amish? Leave it below in Comments section or, ask me privately at speaker2parents@ juno.com (delete space).

Want more insights and shocking facts about the strictest Amish orders? Get a copy of Beyond Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish now! Available in Kindle ($6.99) and Paperback ($14.99).

(c)Copyright, 2014, Brenda Nixon.


  1. I have one gay friend, I am not naming names without permission, but this young man was not Amish till about a teen, and ran away, stopped at an Amish home for some water, and the Amish guy would not let him leave. The kid was trying to go to his grandparents 40 miles away. He later left.

    1. That's an interesting story! Sounds sort of like kidnapping and forced religious conversion. I'm wondering about how such a thing could happen.

  2. Thanks for the post and answering questions, Brenda! :)