First of all, thank you. Whether you agreed, or disagreed, or you're not quite sure, thank you; for reading, watching, and considering. To all that messaged, emailed, or commented; thank you. To those that didn't engage but still took the time to read and listen, thank you.
I thought it might be helpful if I put up some "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)" regarding that little statement I made on Friday. Within this conversation, a lot of people may be afraid to ask in fear of offending, or in not knowing what to say. Here are some questions you may have, and a little clarification on my end about what this all means for me specifically. (And then we can move on and talk about the best baking techniques, or spring-time songs.)
What do you identify as, and what does that mean?
I first came out as "bisexual" to family and close friends in 2015. Currently, I identify as "queer", because I feel this is the most inclusive identifier, for me, within the LGBTQ spectrum. "Queer" basically means a person attracted to people, regardless of gender.
Then why use the term "Gay" Christian in your spoken word?
I used the term "Gay Christian", because I think that's how a lot of the church community refers to the LGBTQ faith community, as a whole, within these discussions. So, as a blanket term that many people use, I thought it would most clearly convey the message.
You're a person of faith; what if God wants you to change?
That's fine. Since I became a believer in Jesus, I have been consistently asking for God to change me—my heart in all its failures and selfishness, and my behaviors following that. I have not stopped asking for this, and will not.
Are you transgender?
No. Gender and sexuality are two very different things. Transgender means that a person doesn't identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. I am a female, biologically and psychologically, and feel very comfortable as one—even more so now, than say 5 years ago. I wear boots and heels and dresses and button-up shirts; just as I did before coming out. That hasn't changed. I like dressing up; I enjoy being a goof; etc.
Did you always know you weren't straight?
I knew that I loved people deeply—and not necessarily in a sexual way. But there was also this: In practice and in reality, there was no reason to even consider loving someone of the same sex, as I was sure there wouldn’t be someone who loved the Lord, who was also “not straight”. I found out this was inaccurate.
Why "come out" if you don't want this, or don't think that this, wholly defines you?
Because two communities, who constantly seem to be at odds with one another, subconsciously or otherwise define me as either one thing or the other. In the LGBTQ community, I am a Christian; which as a generalizing statement, is not a necessarily "cool" or educated thing to be. In the church community, in general, I am gay/queer/not straight; and this is all that I am.
By coming out, I reject both of those notions.
I am able to be more than "one thing" to either side. For the church community: my identity is in my faith, period. And someone imposing the fact that my sexuality somehow trumps my all-encompassing faith identity, can no longer do so, when I make the statement that I am both things - and that my faith still defines my full identity, beyond anything. For the queer community: I am an LGBTQ person who has faith - and my having faith does not invalidate my place as an LGBTQ person, or as someone who cares deeply about the political and social-justice aspect of the LGBTQ community and its struggles.
Personally, though, I also came out because hiding this one characteristic about myself, began to define me. The hiding, secrecy, shame. And whether in five years something completely shifts, or not, is fine. My goal is to walk this journey honestly; and in being honest about this one part of me, I can now embrace and walk as the whole me - where one thing isn't necessarily more important than others, but all things are acknowledged and recognized. And where I get to say what defines me; which is my faith. For others it may be family, or career, or ambitions.
But "coming out", for me, was a step of faith; though many may disagree with that notion.
Why I Felt Safe Going to Church Today
By coming out, I was saying one thing: that I am more than "one thing". I was no longer a closeted LGBTQ person in a church. And at the same time, I was also no longer a closeted Christian in the LGBTQ community.
By acknowledging the labels, I could then acknowledge my personhood beyond them.
So this morning, I went to church. And I feel so happy saying that. It's been months, but I haven't felt more comfortable saying it until now. Because you may think that I jumped into a few more boxes when I "came out" publicly on Friday. But what I actually did, was shatter those boxes for myself.
I am no longer enveloped by the things people define me as. I am able to look at the scope of myself, and say that my faith is what takes precedence over anything. As we all get to decide, regarding the pursuit and purpose of our lives; whether we make the choice for money, friendships, career, travel, etc; I chose/choose faith, and the law of Love that I see exemplified in the example of Jesus and the entire story - of radical love and relentless pursuit and righteous justice - in Biblical scripture.
So, this is just to say: I went to church today; and I'm not ashamed of that. (In fact, let's be honest; I'm giddy because of that.) And I am also an LGBTQ person; and I'm not ashamed of that either.
Thanks for caring enough to respond to these huge statements, or if not respond, to read and consider them. I'm not claiming to be Yoda, or God in any way. I'm only trying to be present, and honest, and myself. And this is where I am; claiming faith and feeling overwhelmingly grateful for the love - and care - I find in all of your responses, or consideration.
From an east coast lady who's about to make some reallyyyy good Ghiradelli brownies - and who still, as always, loves you a heck of a lot,