Religion and The LGBTQIA+ Community

Religion is quite a touchy topic in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Many people have experienced homophobia, transphobia, and general bigotry in the name of religion. These acts of hate often drive queer people away from religion and spirituality in general. However there are also a lot of people, me included, who actively practice a religion and are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

In my shoes, being gay and a Christian, I find it hard to find other people like me. You get push back from conservative Christians, and I get push back from people in the LGBTQ+ community who have had bad experiences with church. I wish the queer community was more positive and open about some members being religious. I also think if more LGBTQ+ had experiences at welcoming and affirming churches, they would think differently about Christianity.

There are a lot of people who have been deeply scarred by religious parents or leader, and I would never want to belittle them or act like abuse and bigotry don’t happen in the church. However, I would like to see more conversations taking place about the intersection of faith and gender/sexuality. Lots of people are very cynical about the idea of religion, and like to push their negative feelings onto those who are religious. If you aren’t religious or spiritual or whatever, that’s completely fine and your prerogative. It isn’t your place though to tell others how they should live, or what they should believe. Religious people are always told not to push their religion onto others (and they shouldn’t), so don’t push your lack of beliefs onto me.

There are LGBTQIA+ people of every religion. I hope to see more positivity for queer Christians, Jewish people, Hindu people, muslims, buddhists, and queer people of any other religions, in the near future.

Are you religious?

Were you raised in a certain religion?

 

Having a Political Identity

Once you come out as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community, society labels your sexuality as “political.”

Part of this is because sexuality and gender have always been seen as a political issues. Getting married, having children, going to the bathroom, and even just existing in public are political fights we’ve had over and over, and continue to have. We’ve been labeled “other” and our rights are not a given like our heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Our rights are debated on stages and we’re often thought of as an issue on a ballot rather than human beings by homophobic and transphobic law makers.

Not long after coming out I remember having an a-ha moment. “People hate me because of my sexuality and I am now considered a minority.” In my privileged white-suburban-Christian-girl world, this took my brain for a tale-spin. I had never been hated for just existing before, and it didn’t feel good. The other thing that set in, especially after the 2016 election, was that my right’s could be taken away at any time no matter how unconstitutional or morally wrong that is.

Due to these reasons and a million more, I embrace society viewing my sexuality as political. I believe being an out LGBTQIA+ person is a form of resistance. While being LGBTQIA+ isn’t a choice, being out is (Most of the time.) I feel pride in actively resisting our cultures standards and beliefs by simply existing. Personally I live in a largely republican area in Texas, so I feel an even greater urge to exist as my queer self. I needed to see other people who were LGBTQIA+ just living life when I was younger, and now I want to be that for someone else. It truly humanizes the experience to see other queer people in public enjoying life and being care-free.

I no longer have the privilege of not being actively engaged in politics. Between being gay, being a woman, and being disabled, someones always trying to take away my rights. So I will continue to embrace my “political identity” and practice acts of queer resistance.

How do you practice queer resistance?

What do you think about having your identity politicized?

 

Intolerance in the LGBTQIA+ Community

In a perfect world the LGBTQ+ community would be all sunshine and rainbows and acceptance, but sometimes it isn’t.

There’s a big problem with racism within the community, specifically with gay men. Having “no asians” or “no black people” on their Grindr profiles. When confronted most of them say, “well it’s just a preference.” A preference is liking strawberry jelly over grape jelly or liking tennis shoes over sandals, not segregating an entire race and labeling them as “undateable.”

Biphobia and transphobia are also another problem, mainly amongst cis-white-gays. They believe that people use the label bisexual as a stepping stone to being gay and just haven’t accepted that they’re gay yet. Transphobic queer people sometimes use the term “LGB” instead of LGBT, in order to excluded trans people from the community.

My main question for people in the community who behave like this is, why? Why discriminate against someone who belongs to the same minority group as you? We’re all going to face our fair share of bigotry from the outside world so why be bigoted to one another? We should be supporting and uplifting one another, not tearing each other down. If you don’t like someone else erasing your identity, then don’t do it someone else. You aren’t them, you don’t know how they feel. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

The worst thing we can do as a community is not support one another. How can you expect love and support from people outside the LGBTQ+ community, if you don’t love and support others in the community yourself? I think we all have a responsibility to call out this behavior and set an example for others by treating one another with tolerance and respect.

The White Savior Complex

Everyone knows what “The White Savior Complex” is whether they’ve heard it in those terms or not.

The White Savior Complex happens when white people “help” others, usually POC, and act like they’ve saved these people from “terrible, miserable lives.” Without the white savior these people would be nothing in the “savior’s” eyes, and would have sad lives. A prime example is seeing a picture of a white teenage girl on Facebook surrounded by children usually in South America or Africa with a caption talking about how sad their lives are. Because without her five days of white guidance these people couldn’t possibly survive.

There’s a difference between actually helping people because you want them to have a better life, and “helping” because you want to feel good about yourself. Religious groups that do mission trips that last a few days to a few weeks are often are filled with these kinds of people. They’re so narcissistic that they think others would be lost without them. The White Savior also rarely listens to the people they think they’re helping, doing things like trying to “liberate” muslim women who wear hijab who are perfectly happy and don’t need or want any “help.”

The White Savior is always about having an emotional experience for themselves. Talking about how life changing speaking to a homeless person is, and using the one time they went to a soup kitchen on their college resume. Their volunteering is based in personal gain, rather than how they can be of service to others.

While mission trips and volunteering can be and often are good things, we need to examine our motives and attitude towards helping others. Getting involved somewhere that you can volunteer long term is always best! I also think we should call out the White Savior complex and call it was it is: racism.

 

What are your experiences with the white savior complex? What do you think about it?

 

 

P.S. Sorry to the guy in my header, I’m sure you’re a nice dude, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I laughed for far too long looking at the photo in this context

I Never Used to Cry

I wrote this when I was really sad one day.

I’m currently not feeling like this, but I like how it turned out so here it is!

I never used to cry

Tears were for the weak

And I was strong

yes

This brick wall I’ve built has become increasingly more unstable

The cracks becoming more visible to the naked eye

The foundation in the beginning stages of crumbling

yes

Tears sting my eyes more often than I’d admit

My wails are silent and unseen

Yet unescapable for me

break

The smile I paint on everyday isn’t turning out as well as it used to

People are questioning it’s authenticity

and I’m too exhausted to lie

Giving vague explanations, leaving something more to be desired

break

I deflect any questions you have

Giving the answers I know you want to hear

It flows from my lips with false confidence

And you buy it

break

Living in a sea of clear eyes and smiling faces

I feel as if I do not belong

My smile isn’t as bright as hers

and my eyes try to tell the truth, resisting every effort I make to fit in

break

I’ve taught myself how to sob without sound

My heart wretched as I lay in the shower

Confusing tears with the shower stream

break

I turn off the water and stare at the ceiling

Looking for answers that are never there

Too tired to move

Hoping if I close my eyes it’ll all go away

break

But I can’t escape it even in my dreams

or nightmares rather

The sadness infiltrates every aspect of my life

My eyes ready to release the truth

Ready to tell everyone how broken I feel

How broken I am

break

I never used to cry

But I wasn’t strong

I just created a charade I can no longer keep up

The Truth About Texas

Texas is the butt of many jokes, specifically about how conservative it is.

While it may be a red state, Texas isn’t always the hell it’s been made out to be.

I’ve lived half my life in South Texas – San Antonio, and the other half in North Texas – Dallas. I’ve always lived in the suburbs so my experience stems from that. Cities like Dallas, Austin, and Houston are all incredibly progressive and you’ll find more democrats than republicans there. San Antonio is a little different. There’s a heavy catholic influence so people tend to lean more conservative, but there re still more progressive people in the city than other places in Texas.

The high school I went to was predominately white, but also had a sizable asian population. While there was the occasional super republican kid who spit out all the bigoted phases they heard at home, most people were pretty chill. I came out to a few of my friends at the time, and while they were shocked, it wasn’t a big deal. There were LGBTQ+ kids who were out and dating and most people didn’t care or at least didn’t care enough to say anything.

You will see protesters outside planned parenthood or standing on an overpass with their open carried guns, but those kind of people are everywhere. Even in the most liberal areas in the US there are still conservative people. I think most people would be surprised how many progressive and moderate people live here.

My narrative may be different from someone who grew up in a small town. The small town conservative mentality reaches much farther than the South though. Being LGBTQ+ in Texas isn’t always the death sentence its made out to be. While I would never want to erase the struggles of people who have experienced abuse for being LGBT in Texas, I think it’s important for people to know that isn’t everyones narrative. There are happy LGBTQ+ people who live in the South and people who come from religious families who have positive coming out stories.

Do I daydream about living in San Fransisco where most people identify with being LGBTQIA+in some way or another? Yes of course, but for now i’m pretty happy right where I am. I want to see the Texas legislature be reformed and more sane people go into power. These past few weeks a lot of bigoted laws have been put into place, and that has to change. I don’t think running to leave Texas the first chance I get is going to help anyone, and for now I want to stick around and do my part to make Texas a place where everyone is respected and receives the equity they deserve.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

When The Happiness Breaks Through

When the happiness breaks through

And the weight of heartache is lifted from my shoulders

My spirit begins to flutter

s

I lay down my burdens

And for the first time in too long I’ve let you take them

This sensation is distantly familiar

Oh my does it feel good

You’ve been waiting here all along

but I just come to visit

and I know that should change

I’m tired of making myself feel unwelcome

s

My spirit awoke, as cliché as that sounds

My soul feels light

And my inner most being has been lifted

For too long I’ve been trapped

Stuck under neath the weight of it all

And I shut down

Shut you out

The rain poured and I tried to make myself comfortable in these wet clothes

s

But you’re my umbrella

In that one shade of yellow that I’ve always felt was too happy

Maybe that’s it

I’m afraid of being happy

Because happy means things could go wrong

Happy means I could crash

s

But I already crashed

and never really got up

I only fell further and further into a hole of despair

Reaching for a hand I was not ready to take

Occasionally I’d crawl out only to fall back in

From the unbalanced weight of the boulder on my back

The boulder I let sit there, grasping tightly as you pulled, signaling for me to let go

All my life i’ve been told I’m too stubborn

But I don’t want to be stubborn with you

s

This isn’t the first time I’ve been here

I want to say it’s different now

My breaking point was long ago

Yet I’ve continued to shatter

I don’t know how much further I can break

Before the pieces are too hard to put back together

s

I hide under a mask of cynicism and small talk

This used to be a character I’d play

But we morphed into one on a dark day long ago

s

Part of me always feels silly when we get here

Why hadn’t I done this sooner?

I know the truth but I let the pain over take me

I’ve been running on sarcasm and anger for far too long

Contemplating things that aren’t what I want, aren’t who I am

s

Now I rejoice

Praise you till my throat dries and my tears run empty

For the first time in a long time happiness is appealing

Loving and being loved is desired, no needed

s

I want to say this will last forever

I want to believe I’ll continue to show up

I’m tired of being a guest within my own soul

There’s some cobwebs to clear sure, I won’t pretend like there isn’t

But when you break through

I want to delight in your name