Category Archives: Role Models

Equal (even if the law doesn’t know it)

obama20_sq-6f9b96594e0aed00c1be3884cd0f8266508ee364-s6-c10-2‎”Our Journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated equally under the law.” – President Obama, Jan 21, 2013 in his inaugural address.

“Fortunately, God sees you as equals whether the law does or not.” – The Apostle Paul (paraphrase)

The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. – Galatians 3:24-29

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Dear Facebook… I’m Gay.

I know I often sound like a broken record, saying things I’ve said dozens of times before.  (fyi – I also know the “broken record” simile is totally 1972 and doesn’t work anymore, but I can’t think of an mp3 equivalent.  I would welcome suggestions…)

Regardless – I believe it’s important for us to share our stories.  They show us that our ideas aren’t weird and that we’re not the only ones who have felt/thought/believed something.

A good friend of mine – the talented artist who designed the “Stillforus” header you see above – recently came out to her dad.  It was a pretty gutsy move and she’s currently navigating the aftermath.

Three days after she told her dad, my friend posted the following status update on Facebook.  It’s brilliant.  When you read her “things I have believed in chronological order” list, I think you’ll find yourself nodding your head and sympathetically  mumbling “mmmmhhmmmm” a lot.  Enjoy.

(If you’d like to send my friend an encouraging thought to help her through a pretty sh!tt% time, feel free to post it in the comments.  I’ll be sure she gets your note…)

Dear Facebook, 

I finally told my dad, so now I can tell you what some of you know and what most of you don’t care, and that is that I’m gay. Things I have believed in chronological order:

  1. Gay people go to hell.
  2. Gay people don’t really exist–they’re just behaving gay.
  3. Gay can be fixed and changed through prayer and hard work.
  4. You can adopt traits of your own sex and learn to be more of a girl.
  5. This will bring forth a man.
  6. Homosexuality is the same as being predisposed to alcoholism.
  7. God loves all of us.
  8. God made us exactly as he wanted us to be.
  9. The Bible shouldn’t be read literally.
  10. The idea of God becomes bigger when you don’t read the Bible literally.
  11. I don’t believe in God.
  12. I don’t believe in the Bible.
  13. I’m too old for this crap.
  14. I’m tired of hearing about kids dying or getting picked on for being gay.
  15. I’m tired of hearing people called fags or dykes.
  16. I’m tired of feeling at home in Brooklyn because it seems to be the only place that feels safe.
  17. God doesn’t exist.
  18. Love the sinner, hate the sin isn’t actually love at all.
  19. I am gay
  20. It’s the only thing that has ever made sense to me.
  21. I lost my ability to pray.
  22. I’m studying the Bible.
  23. I’ve placed membership at a church that has a little bit of everybody.
  24. Sometimes I can see God.
  25. God is patient and hangs out anyway, even if you can’t always believe in him.
  26. I only want people in my life who are good and who will make me a better person.
  27. I’m gay.
  28. It wasn’t an accident.
  29. It’s not a sin.

I’ve lived in many places and met all of you somewhere along the way. A lot of you I know from home and from college. Those, I imagine, are the people who will have the hardest time with this news.

I come out for the kids who haven’t or can’t or don’t yet know why they’re so different. To them I say that you are loved and you are perfect.

If you find yourself so repulsed by this news, please unfriend me. If you feel God has put it on your heart to talk to me about my sin, he has not, and you should also probably unfriend me.

I am the same person today, as I was yesterday–only with a longer status update.

If you are shocked or surprised by this news, please do come forward as I have a trophy to give to the only person who didn’t know.

-S.

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Love is love and there can never be too much…

“By this they will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Back in 2000 – as the world refused to shut down for Y2K – a singer named Fiona Apple topped the pop charts.

One day, after a concert, a fan named Bill Magee approached Fiona and handed her a letter.  The letter was about his school’s gay-straight alliance and asked Fiona if she would mind replying with a sentence or two of encouragement or support of the group.

Keep in mind that this was before Lady Gaga – and other name-brand celebrities – made it trendy to support the LGBT community.

The next week, Fiona sent Bill an amazingly beautiful letter.

Hello Bill,

I got your letter a few days ago, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write (it’s my day off)

Of course, I’d love to help — sign me up. As far as a few sentences go, here’s what I’ve got — I hope it’s OK:

It’s hard to conjure up some new profound way of commenting on this issue — I’m so tired of it being an issue at all, and I suppose I’m lucky, because I see the truth so clearly. All I know is I want my friends to be good people, and when my friends fall in love, I want them to fall in love with other good people. How can you go wrong with two people in love? If a Good boy loves a good girl, good. If a good boy loves another good boy, good. And if a good girl loves the goodness in good boys and good girls, then all you have is more goodness, and goodness has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A person who loves is a righteous person, and if someone has the ability and desire to show love to another — to someone willing to receive it, then for goodness’ sake, let them do it. Hate has no place in the equation; there is no function for it to perform. Love is love, and there will never be too much.

Fiona Apple

P.S. Right on for doing this, Bill

click here for a peek at the original letter

What a graceful definition of love.

If you have a tendency to skim over extended quotes – as I do – let me re-emphasize part of Fiona’s letter.   She said, “…goodness has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A person who loves is a righteous person, and if someone has the ability and desire to show love to another — to someone willing to receive it, then for goodness’ sake, let them do it.”

That’ll preach.  In fact, it once did…

Jesus taught us that “by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

Dear friends, let us therefore love one another in the full freedom that comes from knowing our homosexuality can also be holy sexuality.

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Right / Wrong < Love

I know, I know.  I haven’t posted anything if forever.  I’m sorry.  I was being so faithful.  Then I fell off the face of the earth.  Ah, life! Why must you take so much time?

During this season of political sound bites, I offer you this gem from Mother Theresa.  It reminds me that “right” and “wrong” are seldom the most important issues…

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” (-Mother Theresa)

Pass it on.

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“Coming Out” at a Christian College

Todd Clayton “came out” at a Christian college.  Geesh.  The nerve of some guys.

He says…

The shrewdest, loudest, most violent lie that LGBT people at Christian colleges and universities carry is this: that no one else like them exists. More important, and more enduring than the stares and questions and assaulting prayers, are the stories of the 70 current students, and 130 alumni who contacted me to say they had the same kind of dreams I did…

As a graduate of a Christian college, I admire Todd’s moxy.  There’s really no reason for me to comment further.  I mean, the story of how I didn’t come out at a Christian college is pretty boring.   And why would I waste valuable space on the internet commenting on Todd’s story when you can read it for yourself…

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God doesn’t need a facelift.

Anne Lamott – an author I really enjoy – once said, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

Can I get an amen?

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Some of my best friends are gay…

If you’ve never met my boyfriend, you’d like him.  He’s good people.

Jeremy’s starting a new project called “The Allies Project” that helps gay folks see that there are tons of straight people who love and support LGBT folks.

Basically, he’s asking LGBT people to share a story about how a straight ally has helped make their journey easier. The idea is that “When you share a story about how a straight person has made a difference in your life, your ally becomes our ally.”  Pretty brilliant, right?!

Read a story written by an LGBT person about how an ally has made a difference in their life.

Read a story written by an ally about why they love and support the LGBT community.

When LGBT youth “come out,” they already know that the gay community will love and support them.  Duh.  What they don’t always know is that there are TONS of open minded, loving, compassionate, straight people who will support them as well.

These kids need to know that not all straight people are against them!

If you’re LGBT, share a story with The Allies Project about how a straight person has made a difference in your life and make your ally our ally.

If you’re one of our straight allies, tell a story about why you love and support the LGBT community.

Help LGBT youth know that they’re not as isolated from the straight world as they sometimes feel.  Support The Allies Project!

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Gay Christians: We’re Not Just In the Pews…

…some of us are in the pulpit, too.

The Huffington Post just published a pretty nifty list of “15 Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders.

Reflecting and shaping the culture in which it is embedded, religion has historically been hostile to LGBT-identified people and communities. However, over the last three decades more denominations, congregations and individuals have come out in support of honoring the full humanity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people. Today, hundreds, if not thousands, of religious communities are truly places of celebration, healing and hope for all people.

This initial list of 15 ground breaking individuals is just a sampling of the many LGBT religious leaders who have reclaimed religious traditions and communities.

The list includes Christians, Muslims, Jews, and spiritualists from across the globe.

Of course, not all of us can be great faith leaders… but being a dedicated follower is as important as being a passionate leader.  I pray that the doubts, fears, and injustice often experienced by our community don’t keep us from being committed people of faith.

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A Letter to Parents of LGBT Youth… It MUST get better.

Even though Jamey Rodemeyer found the courage to make an “It Gets Better” video encouraging his LGBT peers to “hold their heads up,” things didn’t get better.  Last week Jamey committed suicide.

Our friend Kathy Verebiest of Canyonewalker Connections said this about Jamey’s video (which you can watch below):

…too bad he was not saying “I am getting so much support from my youth leaders at church who just love me” …where are the positive role models of healthy living for our gay youth in churches? I MUST get better. It MUST. And now he is dead.

Jamey’s parents chose to bury their gay son in his favorite outfit – including a t-shirt printed with the Lady Gaga mantra “Born This Way.”

Amen.

Jamey was lucky to have parents who accepted and supported their gay son.  Not all LGBT youth are this fortunate.  It sometimes takes moms and dads a while to understand what it means to have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or tansgender child.

Kathy Verebiest – one of our straight allies – has written a powerful letter to the parents of Christian LGBT youth.  If you know a kid who’s struggling to survive because his parents are struggling to understand… send them this letter. Our kids need all the support they can get.

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Gay Christian: Fact or Fiction?

I love fiction.

While many of my smart and sophisticated friends keep their noses stuck in the latest biographies and watch the trendiest documentaries, I’m a sucker for novels, dark comedies, and superhero movies.

My boyfriend and I had a great conversation about the value of fiction this weekend.  He’s reading a book about the importance of being a good listener.  I proposed that one of the best ways to learn how to be a good listener is to read a great novel.  After all, listening is simply learning how to hear a story… how to engage yourself with a  narrator… how to read between lines and ask questions when the story stops.  What better teacher for this art than Steinbeck, Tolkein, and Stephen King?

What’s my point, you ask?  Why waste valuable internet space on a blog about gay spirituality to promote getting a library card?  Well…

As LGBT people, I think it’s desperately important for us to do the theological, ethical, and exegetical (Bible study) work necessary to find peace with both our sexuality and our spirituality.  I think it’s invaluable for us to examine our gay, popular, and Christian cultures to find how each of these worlds affect the others.  In the midst of all this “smart talk,” however, we can’t underestimate the value of both telling and hearing a story.

Our stories connect us to each other… they allow us to learn from each other… they help us encourage each other…. they remind us that we are not as weird or alone as we sometimes feel.  (sound familiar?)

Plus, they’re just plain entertaining.

The writer of the Biblical book of Hebrews seems to agree.  After rolling through a long list of the Old Testament’s most faithful folks, s/he says….

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  (Hebrews 12:1)

My friends, as gay Christians, we are also surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who remind us that we’re not alone.  So, in the midst of all our arguments and activism, let’s take a minute to sit around an online campfire and listen to one of our gay brothers tell his tale.

It starts with “I was once a proud Evangelical, African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Christian, the son of an AME Zion preacher, and ready to answer the call on my life to ministry…”

Read the rest – including this brave Christian’s revelation that “after struggling with a four-year addiction to gay porn, in my senior year of college I was forced to acknowledge that this must be more than a mere phase” – here.

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