It Sucks To Be A Christian LGBTQ Ally
It sucks to be a Christian LGBTQ ally.
There are rules. Things you can’t say. Things you need to say.
There are gender pronouns to learn. There are terms you need to know. Old terms you should avoid.
There are questions you should ask. Questions you shouldn’t.
There are times when you need to speak up and times you need to keep quiet.
And another rule or term has probably been added today.
As a Christian you get heat from your more conservative, friends who think you’re too liberal. You get heat from some of your LGBTQ friends for not being liberal enough. You get questions you can’t answer.
Your heart breaks when you hear or read those you used to respect say hurtful things about the LGBTQ community. Your heart breaks even more when you have no idea how to speak against it in love.
Last July I attended my first PFLAG meeting. PFLAG is the nation’s largest organization uniting people who are LGBTQ with parents, families, friends, and allies. It was in a typical fellowship hall behind Westminster Presbyterian Church. I simply wanted to be a fly on the wall. To blend in. To listen for a while.
But Alesa would not have it. There was no one there that night with any issues to discuss, so the attention was turned to the new guy. “So does redemption mean turning gay people straight?” I was asked.
These meetings don’t normally call people out like that. It is usually quite the opposite. But I supposed I had it coming. I emailed the group before I came to the meeting, explaining that I’m a filmmaker working on a script for a comedy about LGBT/Christian tensions. I wanted to make sure I would not cause a problem.
I later learned that Alesa and this amazing group of grace-filled people had been burned before. They had been visited in the past by people playing the helpful role, then later bashing them publicly. So it made sense for Alesa to be skeptical of my endeavor.
Had I been asked that question a year earlier, my response probably would have been “I think so.” Thankfully, my answer to Alesa’s question was now a strong “no.” I told them about my idea for the film. About how I grew up in a conservative church. I told them how being the parent of 3 children, two of which are adopted, has changed my perspective on a lot of things I was taught growing up. And I told them I just want to make a movie about loving the unloved.
When I returned home that night I told my wife all about the evening, the conversation, the group. I told her “we can’t do this thing half-way.” If we are allies, if we are making a film challenging the church to be inclusive of this community, we have to become part of this community.
And neither of us have missed a PFLAG meeting since. This group has taught us all over again what it’s like to love and accept. What it’s like to stand up for injustice. What it’s like to speak for those who have no voice, and to allow those with a voice to speak.
We continue to learn, and hear stories, and cry, and comfort.
It may suck at times to be an LGBTQ ally, but it’s also pretty awesome! (TWEET THIS)
Because it’s really just being a decent human being. This is what growing up is about. You treat others kindly. You put them first. You listen more than you speak. And you stand up against hate and injustice.
And it doesn’t even come close to the fear a teen faces when she comes out to her parents.
It doesn’t’ compare to the turmoil a middle-aged man faces every day as he lives in a heterosexual marriage he was told would cure his same-sex attraction.
It doesn’t compare to the gender queer college student who’s never felt quick comfortable in her/his/their own skin.
It doesn’t compare to the trans man who’s family refuses to call him by his new name.
It doesn’t compare to the teenager sitting in the pews on Sunday morning as his pastor tells him he can’t be accepted by God, or the couple who can’t adopt because they are gay, or the teacher who has to hide pictures of she and her wife out of fear of losing her job.
So I will continue to be an ally. I will continue to love, I will continue to be human.
If this is something you can get behind, please watch the trailer to our comedy film advocating for LGBT homeless teens. Consider backing us so this film can get made.