Reconciling Queerness and Religion

It’s no secret that many major religions have strong negative feelings toward the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve been going to Christian churches my whole life and have witnessed the homophobia and transphobia first hand. I’ve heard the term “abomination” thrown around more times than I can remember, but yet I still believe in a loving God who accepts all people.

When I first began to question my sexuality I pushed the idea of being something other than straight as far back in my mind as I could. Now I wasn’t homophobic, I’ve always accepted LGBT people and thought they deserved equality just like everyone else, but the idea of me being gay made me incredibly uncomfortable. Being in the south I know more people against “gay marriage” than for it, I know more republicans than democrats, more misogynists than feminists. All these hateful things were alive in well in the church I had spent five years at. I would sit in my Sunday school class angry at everyone around me. They were 99% white , all super conservative, and nasty towards anyone who wasn’t a white, middle class, cisgender, straight person. Still with all of this in front of me, my relationship with God wasn’t vanishing. I have felt the Holy Spirit around me on multiple occasions, and have seen miracles take place. If I felt tremendous love for my Savior and everyone around me, why didn’t everyone else feel that way?

It took me a while to come to the conclusion that people are always going to use religion as an excuse for their bigotry. I haven’t studied any other religion in great depth besides Christianity, so I’m not going to pretend to be an experts on them, but lots of hateful people will use their holy book to be a bigot. They will take verses and paragraphs out of context to make it seem like the Bible, or any other holy book, is saying it’s okay to hate someone else based off things they cannot change.

I think one of the most important bible verses is Matthew 22:37-39, ” love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second thing is this, love your neighbor as yourself. There are no greater commandments than these.”  If there are no greater commands than to love your neighbors then why as Christians are we being hateful and discriminatory towards other people?

I understand why people don’t like religion or specifically Christians, but we don’t all believe in bigoted values. I have left that horrible church, and now go somewhere that is much more accepting of all people. Where they don’t discriminate against you for sexuality, race, or gender. While I have met a few people here that seem like they would fit in better back at my old church, the majority of people have been loving and kind.

Being a “Gay Christian” doesn’t need to be ironic, or an oxymoron. There are queer people of every religion, and in every church, whether others realize it or not. Be kind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t use religion as an excuse to persecute others. Being LGBT and a religious is perfectly valid, and we need more queer people in the church. I believe the Bible is about justice, and love, so that’s how I try to live my life. Loving others and pursuing justice for all people.

– Alyssa

 

 

 

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Do I Need a Label?

When I first started questioning my sexuality I read the definitions of different sexualities up, down and backwards, I listened to other people describe what the label they choose meant to them, and I was determined to figure out who I was, and what label worked for me. I like labels. They give order to the huge spectrum that is sexuality, but they can also be restrictive.

I identify as a lesbian, gay, or queer. I prefer the term gay but I use all three to describe myself. Not everyone identifies with one particular sexuality, and that’s okay. My personal sexual identity isn’t super fluid, but for other people it changes a lot. I believe people can be bisexual for one period in their life, and gay for another, or any other combination of sexualities. When I first came out I only felt comfortable using the term Lesbian. When I said ” I am gay,” I felt dirty and wrong, due to internalized homophobia. Now that I’ve accepted myself I love using the term gay and I wear it proudly.

Choosing to not label your sexuality is a perfectly valid choice. However I personally feel power in labels. I feel a connection towards other people who are LGBT, it unites us in some way. Our narratives may not be the same, but we are a minority of the same type and I feel a familial presence in that. Being gay is something my straight friends, family members, and acquaintances will never be able to fully understand.

I live in Texas, (hint the blog name), so close-minded people who don’t understand minorities are never more than a few feet away. Using labels helps them at least understand slightly who I am. Now if I were pansexual or demisexual or any other lesser known sexuality then my label would go right over their heads.

Label yourself with whatever makes you happy, and if that is choosing not to use labels then so be it.

– Alyssa

 

 

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