I have been going back and forth on whether or not this post is a good idea. Don’t get me wrong the situation needs to be addressed and I really want to talk about it, it’s just that internet trolls are plentiful and this is guaranteed to ruffle more than a few feathers. See the thing is internet that the LGBT community loves Christ just as much as the next person, we’ve just been made to feel that we don’t belong at church and if we take the church I grew up in as an example if we do exist within in the church we are not given any position of leadership or even allowed to sing in the choir. Basically seen and not heard. Yes, church hurt is real and it runs deep.
I understand that the church as a whole has spent quite a bit of time setting up this gay blockade that no one ever took the time to learn anything about us, or how their actions effect us on a deep spiritual level.
John 13:34 (from the New Living Translation) tell us “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other”. This apparently does not apply to the gay community because we haven’t felt very much love in the place we are supposed to feel welcomed and embraced because we are sons and daughter of Christ, let’s just put the gay part aside, we are all the same, the same as you, we are believers who wish to fellowship, worship, and pray with you. As a fellow believer – how can you turn your back on us?
There is a lot that goes into the decision to wake up on that Sunday morning, get in the shower, get dressed, and get in the car and go to church. Just for the average person, but for members of the LGBTQ community this decision is even more complex. Understand that we are coming to you broken. We have been beat over the head with scripture and proclamations that God HATES us, or that we are going directly to Hell: Do not pass Go, Don’t even think about collecting $200. So a lot of us are left feeling – if I’m going to Hell anyway – why fake the funk?
These thoughts caused a crisis of faith in me that actually lasted every bit of an entire year. I honestly felt that since who I am is so wrong then why go to church, why study the bible, and why dig into my sinful bank account to give back to a religion who despises my very existence? I came to realize that religion is not what Jesus desires us to have but a relationship with him. That all these thoughts, the actions from fellow Christians, the words that hit me like daggers in the heart – these are the work of the enemy, designed to keep us from reaching our full potential and growing our faith. Let that sink in, by your actions you are doing the work for the enemy.
So you’ve stuck around for my ravings, let’s dig into how you should treat LGBT members of your church.
- We are not sick, we do not have a disease and do not need to be shown the light. Please stop with the scripture. Seriously, if we do not know any other scriptures we know Genesis 19:4-9; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. My main point is we do not require YOU to tell us about it. We love you but… JUST.. Stop.
- Our families are blessings and we are ever thankful for them, no our children will not be confused by having two moms, two dads, or any other variation. Please stop whispering about it. Gossiping is not a good look.
- I said previously that it took a lot for us to come to church, please be kind, welcoming, and inviting. It was a big step to take and we’ve been burned before… We are fragile. Handle us with care.
- Don’t ignore us either! We want to pitch in and help out, we want to plan events, and bring our expertise to the table for glory of Jesus. Don’t exclude us from the conversation or talk around us as if we are invisible.
- A little personal experience I have watched church members be dismissive of my fiancee and break their necks to be nice to me. Why am I different from her? Because she is a minister and they don’t feel like she should be. It breaks my heart every time I see it. To the point that they refuse to call her Minister Gilbert, but they have no problem calling the other female ministers by their given titles. I have seen people talk around her like she is not even there. I have witnessed the disrespect, the hurt in her eyes. Needless to say I no longer attend that church. Please don’t do this in your church. Give every member of your church the respect they deserve.
- Being gay does not equal sexually depraved. We are not abusers of children, or interested in you. Sorry honey, I love women as a whole but that does not mean I am trying to flirt with you when I am being nice, pleasant, or helpful.
- You can hug us. I promise you won’t catch “the gay”.
- Our partners are our family. It is important to us that you treat our family with respect. Don’t be all nice to one of us and, because the other party is more masculine or feminine than you would like to see, you treat them like garbage. That is not ok.
- Acknowledge Trans members by the pronoun they are comfortable with. For the love of all things holy do not call him a her or her a him. Respect their identity.
- Treat us like everyone else. We don’t actually ask for special treatment. We prefer our sexuality to not be biggest part of who we are. I am Erica, same Erica I was before I came out. The same Erica I will always be. Now with experience and growth I will be Erica 2.0 🙂 But I’m still me. I don’t want to be treated like the lesbian from church. I want to Erica from church. The same woman you fellowship with, the same woman you worship with, the same woman you pray with and for. All we ask is for a little acceptance, respect and love. The same love we give to you and the same love Christ gives to us.