On Being a Straight, Christian Ally

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Sunday, October 11th was National Coming Out Day.  At first I thought the day would pass by largely unrecognized, at least by myself.  I mean, I didn’t have any sort of coming out to do.  I’m a straight, 41 year old mom who’s been married forever, and I’ve been pretty open about where I stand on the issue for awhile now.  I fully support and respect everyone’s right to love who they want to love, to express their gender and their sexuality in the way they feel as right, and to be honored as the whole, unique, and perfectly imperfect individuals that they are.

But a “Coming Out” day?  It doesn’t really affect me.

Except that it does.   Especially as a Christian.  Because the thing about being a LGBT affirming ally as a Christian is that you often feel alone.. slogging uphill and constantly getting knocked down, spit on, and trampled by your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Never do I get such mean-spirited comments and/or passive aggressive Bible-verse-as-weapon condescension (which is often even worse) as I do when I write about this issue… which means it’s a conversation that needs to be had.

The conversation isn’t over.

The conversation is far from over, because that backlash I get?  The nasty comments, the arrogant preaching, the let-me-outline-for-you-why-you’re-going-to-hell judgement is not even a fraction of what the LGBT community endures at the hands of Christians day in and day out. It’s for those people that I write.

So, while I’ve written about much of this before, consider this my official coming out.  I stand with all of you as an ally.

I stand with you because the way that Christians treat the LGBT community is shameful and hurtful, and not okay.  I stand with you because it breaks my heart to see people using the name of the Bible and the God that I love as a front for fear, and hate, and bigotry, and discrimination.

I stand with you because of these poignantly and perfectly crafted words by John Pavlovitz:

All this “love the sinner, hate the sin” talk is just a pretty, painted, cheap facade nailed overtop a destructive, hateful, hurtful expression of fear, allowed to be called Religion.

It’s not fooling the LGBT community who receive the damage daily; who are driven to the very brink of hope (and many times well beyond it) by people claiming to follow Jesus; professing faith in a God of love, while speaking and doing violence to them.

I stand with you because I see your lovely and brave (you are so brave!!) coming-out posts on social media, and I see the hurtful comments. I see the supportive comments too, but those judgmental ones…. they stand out like a cancer.  I stand with you because I need you to know that you have another person in your corner, holding you up, watching your back, and absorbing some of the darkness so you can feel more of the light.  I stand with you because I don’t want you to forget that those comments, and the people attached to them, do not represent all of us.

I stand with you because 40% of homeless youth are LGBT.   Because 30% of gay youth attempt suicide near the age of 15.  Because almost half of gay and lesbian teens have attempted suicide more than once.   I stand with you because I cannot fathom how anyone can look at those numbers and not be horrified and filled with compassion.  I stand with you because I don’t understand how anyone can read those numbers and not just STOP.  Stop with the bible verses, stop with the “love the sinner” rhetoric, and just reach out a genuine hand of help and support.  Let’s be honest for a minute here: if the goal of the typical Christian’s response to the LGBT community is to show them the love of Christ…. it is failing, in a colossal, colossal way.

I stand with you because I know that as stressful and frustrating and lonely it is to be a Christian ally, it is all of that times a million for the young person coming to terms with his or her sexuality or gender identity.   I stand with you because I’m tired….. tired of seeing you mistreated over and over, tired of watching my fellow Christians using “religion” as an excuse for being damaging and hurtful… but most of all, tired of the ache in my soul from the knowledge of how tired you must be.

I stand with you because I strive to be more like Jesus, and Jesus would stand with you, too.  I need you to know that today, because too many people have gotten the wrong message from too many Christians, and for that I want to apologize.  Jesus stood for LOVE.  Love for all people, but especially for those who were ostracized in some way.  Those who were disparaged by others.  Those who were alienated by their family, by their friends, and by their churches (the very people that are supposed to be providing a safe refuge!)  I stand with you because:

… these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  (1st Corinthians 13:13)

 

I stand with you because as a Christian, and a human, I’m called to love.  Full stop.  I stand with you because true love and acceptance should never be followed with a “but.”  I stand with you because as another living, breathing soul doing this thing called life beside me…

you matter.

And I thank you, sincerely, for being you.

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I’m going to keep the comments closed on this one (and honestly, just the fact that I’m compelled to do that tells me how far we have to go).  I can handle your comments, negative or otherwise, but I don’t wish to allow my page to be a public forum for any disparaging remarks aimed at others… especially those who are young and/or questioning… and I regret having done so in the past.    This space is affirming and safe.

If you want to reach ME, I welcome and encourage your feedback, especially if you want to stand with me!  You can tweet at me, or find me on Facebook or Instagram.

For now, I leave you with the words to one of my new favorite songs, because Rachel Platten says it best:

Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open too
Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine ’til yours can open too
Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Much love to all.


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