My Bisexual Child
When Lydia was in 10th grade, we watched Rent on Netflix. The choir at school was doing a bunch of songs from Rent and the choir director had said that if the kids wanted to watch the film, they should do so with their parents' permission. So, Lydia and I watched together. We didn't finish it. Being steeped in Evangelical culture, we found the whole gay and trans world foreign and uncomfortable for us to watch, although we recognized the beauty of the songs. (Note: I watched the live Rent performance earlier this year and can now see why it is such an iconic show and I'm so glad that I've grown beyond my discomfort about LGBTQ issues.)
When I was part of Evangelicalism, I understood that people may have been born gay, but that acting on homosexual impulses was sinful. And I knew that there were passages in the Bible to support that stance. But, this wasn't a really important issue for me. I had one gay friend. I had a couple of gay patients and was up on the appropriate medical screening and counseling I needed to provide them. I didn't believe in a "gay agenda"; all the gay people I had met were pleasant people who just wanted to live a comfortable life without harassment. I was very much of the "live and let live" belief.
But, I had two kids that I was trying to raise "in the fear and admonition of the Lord." When we studied sexuality, we spent very little time on LGBT issues, just commenting that, while some people may have these urges, it is sinful to act on them. Our family very strongly taught abstinence until heterosexual marriage. Not only was it "biblical", but it was the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Then things went off the rails. Jesi, my former "foster" (not official) daughter came out as a lesbian. Ummm, what? Jesi didn't claim to be a Christian anymore, but the whole idea that this identity could be OK rocked my world. Could Jesi ever come back to faith if she remained in a lesbian relationship?
This wasn't the only influence on me at the time. Bloggers like Rachel Held Evans were also starting to question why LGBTQ people could not be affirmed and included in the church. I started reading. I started with Matthew Vines' God and The Gay Christian. I learned some important things like that the word "homosexual" wasn't used in the Bible until the 1940s. The type of homosexual relationships that we are seeing in society today were rarely seen in the ancient world.
I'll leave the rest of the Biblical exposition to Matthew Vines and a couple of good websites, but suffice it to say that I began to see LGBTQ people in a new light. No longer did I see them as people who were "called" to celibacy and a kind of second-class Christianity, but as people who could and should be fully welcomed into the Christian church.
This was all a good thing because Lydia started dropping hints about not being completely straight. After about six months, they finally came out to me during a Skype conversation one night. After all the hints, I couldn't say that I was surprised. I was thankful that I had done enough reading that I was comfortable that LGBTQ people are just like the rest of us to God, image-bearers who are able to be part of the church and 100% loved.
I know that not all Christian families love and accept their gay children or other family members. I find this sad and disturbing. Last summer I went to the Stevens Point Pride Event and gave out Mom Hugs because there are so many LGBTQ folks who just need unconditional love.
If you have an LGBTQ family member that you believe is on the wrong side of theology, please do some study. Please don't shun them. And then do the work to understand the theology. "Truth" doesn't outrank "Love". The two go together, and the truth about homosexuality is that God loves gay people and accepts them the way they are. Their identity is not inherently sinful.
Here are a couple of other resources that I have found helpful. Please avail yourself of them if you have a gay family member. You will be glad that you did.
Comments are always welcome!!