Still Gay, Still Christian

It’s been a few years since I came out publicly on social media. I was out in my close relationships and the local community, but I was terrified of losing all credibility in the circles of faith. I was scared of being found out and ultimately cast aside. You can find out about that journey here and here.

Since then, a few things have changed. I am now in a long-term committed relationship with a wonderful woman. We’ve been together for over a year and I’ve never been more at peace with myself or my sexuality.

I’ve had the privilege of mentoring youth and young adults who find themselves in the crossroads of having to choose between the faith of their family and the truth of who they are at the very core of their being.

There is a shift taking place within the church. Many denominations and theologians are reevaluating old proof texts with fresh eyes. More and more conservative-leaning church leaders are landing on the side of inclusion. Q Christian Network and Generous Space Ministries have many resources for anyone open to learn.

This past month I read Vicky Beeching’s Undivided and realized how similar our stories are. The rhetoric of sexuality being a choice or something a person can change (or should change) is damaging and people are literally dying because of it.

Though I’ve not found an affirming church in my remote location, I have found a community of Christians (mostly straight allies) who welcome me, love me, support me, and stand in a posture of defence and protection for those like me. If Jesus’ teaching are life-saving and God’s grace unconditional, then why are so many advocating hate and violence in his name?

I see you. I stand with you. You are not alone.

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When ally pastors get it wrong

Dear Christian Allies (esp leaders),

Stop sending youth and young adults away to the LGBT faith community out of fear that you’ll screw up. Those of us outside of church often don’t feel close to Jesus, have no idea what we believe about God’s love, are bitter towards the church, hesitant or unable to pray outloud, and have no real answers to their deep questions aside from “you need to decide what YOU believe”. 

The BEST thing you can do is let these young folks know that you love them. That YOU believe there is nothing wrong with them. That YOU are there to pray with them. That YOU are there to hold them when they cry and jump up and down when they rejoice.

Put in the WORK and find the many, many, MANY resources on inclusive LGBTQ+ theology and LEARN it like you learned the tenants of evangelism. Dig into the Bible and decide what YOU believe. 

Sending them away from you speaks so much louder than “I love you, talk to this stranger you don’t know because they are also LGBT and therefore can magically relate to you.” 

They will NOT feel welcome without being welcome. They will NOT feel whole without being celebrated.
They will NOT thrive without being championed.

For the love of all that is holy stop being afraid to make a mistake and publically love the LGBTQ kids you’re sending my way. I don’t have the answers for them because I am still not welcome in most places of worship, if I am, I am not allowed to lead, or not able to be married, or teach Sunday school–how is that welcoming? Where is the hope for the LGBTQ youth when being gay is OKAY but you can’t participate in anything in case “people get the wrong idea”? About what? 

As my grandma would’ve said, take a sh*t or get off the pot, you’re stinking up the place.

Brokenness: LGBT Christian

Broken: adjective

1. reduced to fragments; fragmented.

2. ruptured; torn; fractured.

3. not functioning properly; out of working order.

Broken: no longer part of the whole. Unable, incapable of being complete. Beyond repair.

Broken: forces outside of an object render it torn, threads of it’s being separated by violence.

Broken: as a result of over burden or neglect, an object fails to do what it was designed for.

I have been removed from the whole. Felt beyond repair—broken. Believed I would never, could never be complete. I’ve had people I love, and respect be at odds with where the Spirit stirred me and been violently pulled in two; Gay and Christian, but never both—broken. I have carried a weight that was never meant to be mine, hidden my deepest self from the world (including myself), and been cast out by those who were charged with the duty of my protection. Neglected—broken.

My experience of brokenness in its literal definition has used what first separated me from Christ to draw me closer to Him. “I was broken for you.” Takes on an entirely new meaning to my soul after experiencing my own spiritual destruction. I’ve been trampled on, pushed, bruised, mislabelled, and misrepresented, and so has Jesus.

He never, and I mean never, retaliated against his oppressors and abusers, but neither did he stay silent. His rebellion, after rising from his brokenness, was to deeply love and radically include. He did so regardless of the amount of faith those around him had, and that’s my mission. To deeply love and radically include regardless of a shared faith, ethnicity, orientation, or worldview. I will break the system with my brokenness. He was broken for me, and I was broken for them—they that do not yet see their value.

What I didn’t know was missing

Sitting, rather, laying on top of my patchwork quilt yesterday, I said, “Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you have it.”

I’ve always been an independent person. I was the strong-willed child that knew what she wanted, the edgy teen who didn’t take flack from anyone, and the travelling idealist looking for a place to put roots down—in her own time.

Over the past few years, I’ve begun to do just that. I’ve met more amazing people since moving to Vancouver Island than I was prepared for. I’ve had the privilege of working with non-profits and social justice warriors to invest in the community and better the lives of lose less fortunate. I went back to school to pursue my passion, became established in the local writing community, started working full-time for the first time ever, and have a strong support network.

I was happily single. Free for adventures, late night talks, random road trips, and content with it.

Then, I was happily single and crushing hard on someone.

For all my bravery, moving to other countries with my clothes on my back, coming out as bisexual in a Christian church (subsequently losing what felt like everything), and coming back from nothing countless times—it was the single most terrifying experience to put myself out there.

I’ve had a history of barking up the wrong tree. People are beautiful. In my life, I’ve known some rare gems. They don’t see their potential, their impact on others, or their sheer brilliance. As an observer with my heart on my sleeve, I notice those individuals with the capacity for great love right away. I sat on it for a long while. I thought, this will pass and then I can carry on with my plans of graduating and work towards publishing.

Then, my good frenemy tequila intervened and I sent that notorious drunk text. Now, thank GOD drunk Cheryl isn’t an idiot. I didn’t say anything regrettable. It was literal liquid courage. I told her that I liked her.

What happened between now and then can only be explained as a miracle. Like, finally all the good karma I’ve sown is coming back to me. I didn’t know I needed to feel safe like I am with her. I didn’t know that I needed to feel beautiful even when my hair is standing straight up and I’ve got last night’s glitter and camping dust stuck to my face. I didn’t know that I needed someone to hold my hand while my heart broke for the pain of a loved one.

It’s funny how you don’t know what you’re missing until you have it.