Part 2: Letter to the Church from a LGBTQ Christian
This is the second in a series of 3 letters. We want to hear the voice of LGBTQ persons in and around the church. As we call each other towards historic Christian sexual ethics, one of our goals is to see the humanity of LGBTQ persons as people to be loved.
As this series shows, there are Christians in our churches who are navigating sexual orientation and gender identity, and they too wish to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, and to be loved by their community.
As you read these letters, consider joining us on November 9 (evening) for our Engaging in the LGBTQ Conversation Conference.
My story as a queer, Christian individual is one of internal unspoken tensions rather than external verbal tensions. Growing up I was teased by my friends and classmates in Sunday school, but I never experienced any negativity from the adults in the Church. I was going to all of the Bible camps and conferences, seeking a deeper, more personal connection with God. On top of that, my musical talent and my eagerness to help, I think distracted people’s assumptions about me as a person and my sexual identity. In high school, slowly my use of time shifted from church activities to music as I started to focus more on my musical path. This is when I started to express myself more and began to embrace those things that I was teased for as a kid. From my hair, my fashion, to how I talked, my presentation as a person changed from my earlier self. I shifted away from my home church and just continued to attend my father’s sermons on Sunday mornings, so my interactions with my original church community were limited and I never really knew what people started to think about this change.
As I took Bible classes and listened to both lectures as well as peer conversations, I started to realize that the Church that I thought loved their neighbor as themselves, really only loved those around them that looked, acted, thought, and presented like they did.
My time at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul (UNW), was when I really saw the true colors of the Modern Church, especially closer to graduation. I saw that my colleagues and my professors (in general) would tolerate my personal expression by choosing to focus on my musical talents. As I took Bible classes and listened to both lectures as well as peer conversations, I started to realize that the Church that I thought loved their neighbor as themselves, really only loved those around them that looked, acted, thought, and presented like they did. It was terrible walking around campus and realizing that some people here would not love me unconditionally for my ethnicity and the way I presented myself, let alone my sexuality.
My last semester sparked some silent controversy, as I started to wear heels to school, wore heels in the promotional photos taken for my recital, and the recital itself. This internal unspoken tension was the “don’t ask, don’t tell” feeling. I knew that my status in the Music Department was based on my musical talent and was overshadowing my expression, but if it ever word got out confirming from myself that I was in fact queer, my time at UNW would have been cut short quickly. It wouldn’t be until later in my time at UNW where I would actually wrestle with my sexuality, but nonetheless the entire time I was there, I lived in fear of being ridiculed and judged, especially once I had come to terms with my sexuality.
Having graduated and living a life outside of UNW and places like such, I feel so free, so liberated, so happy, and much more in tune with my relationship with God, but I do fear that at least in the near future, I may never find a Christ-centered community that would accept me and unconditionally love me for who I am.