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LGBT vs The Church

I engage with Christians every day who wrestle with scripture, trying to justify being LGBT with their faith.

I’m constantly confronted by traditional and fundamentalist Christians as well as many from the “grace” movements, convinced that being gay is sin and it’s all to do with how we wrestle with and treat that sin. Many are genuine, loving and concerned people. Others are, well, not so loving.

This constant barrage of how to treat the sin fails to recognise the effect of the whole issue on LGBT people. We are the ones being discussed. We are the ones being told that we are sinful, broken people needing Jesus saving grace, just like murderers and paedophiles and addicts etc. We are the subject of judgement by those who have no idea what its actually like.Anti_gay_San_Francisco

But hardly any Christians fail to look at two key points. Firstly, it’s not just “gay or not gay”. There is an incredible lack of knowledge when it comes to understanding what sexuality and gender really is. They keep trying to force everything into a heteronormative paradigm that flies in the face of all the science and psychology, to say nothing of the personal experiences of millions of LGBT people, claiming that the bible is the foundation for their knowledge, despite the fact that the bible’s track record on scientific accuracy leaves a lot to be desired (astronomy, geography, physics, etc), as well as human rights (slavery, racism, misogyny, etc).

Here’s the truth. Sexuality and gender are psychological attributes, defined by a continuum of expression and identity. Even our physical bodies can be ambiguous with varying amounts of hormones determining a huge range of gender identification.

Secondly, the bible was never meant to be factual about anything. It’s a book of allegory and metaphor based on mythology and folk lore. It’s full of deep truths that have to be gleaned from the cultural morass of the societies that wrote it.

Christians can argue how to deal with the “sin” till the cows come home, but until we realise that our sexuality or gender has nothing to do with sin in any way, we are fighting a losing battle. Our belief in the personification of God through Jesus, and all that entails, has zero to do with who we love and how we feel about our gender!

Being outside the heterosexual norm IS NOT A SIN. It’s that simple. Our morality is a whole different issue and if we chose to live a lifestyle that is unloving and damaging to others then sure, address that as you would with anyone.

Religion is our worst enemy. It stereotypes, shames, demonises, patronises and calls good bad and evil good. If by some miracle you can hold to your belief system through the abuse, all well and good. But most LGBT people in the church are like abused wives who keep going back to their abuser who promises so much but never delivers, only to deal out more abuse.

You are not sinful.

You are not broken.

You are loved – live loved!

 

Being a “man”

There’s so much around these days about what it means to be a man.

There’s this image of the prefect man, who creates an environment for women to become perfectly “whole”, kids to become perfectly fulfilled and for society in general, to be blessed by their masculinity.

Men must be men! We have a blueprint for the perfect man and if we don’t fit that blueprint then we are a failure, not only creating dysfunctional families but even worse, mocking God, who created very clear boundaries for what a man is supposed to be.

Reality check!

There is a gender/sexuality continuum.
There are two types of “psyche” (for want of a better word) that define certain characteristics as masculine or feminine.

The masculine is described as strong, decisive, objective etc…
The feminine is described as emotional, sensitive, empathic etc…
We are very familiar with these concepts.

However, to associate these characteristics with particular genitals is nothing more than a social construct. Sure, lots of humans with penises like football and are strong and aggressive. And lots of humans with vaginas are soft and caring.

But here’s the glitch – countless humans, irrespective of their genitals and hormones, display a broad mix of masculine and feminine traits. Many humans with penises are emotional and sensitive – they love to support others with compassion and empathy – they are nurturing, and empathic… And lots of vagina and breast endowed humans love to rough it up, take charge, be confident and assertive, and play football. In fact most humans have a complGirlie manetely random mix of these qualities in various quantities.

But society/culture and especially religion, consistently creates stereotypes that force the “psyche” attributes to fit the physical attributes. This is probably one of the most tragic things society has suffered!

Humans are supposed to deny who they are at the deepest level, in all its amazing and beautifully unique complexity, to become stereotypes, as defined by religious definitions.

Our genitals DO NOT DEFINE US. We are who we are!

If you have a penis and experience “feminine” traits, then guess what – you are a perfect human! If you have breasts and like “masculine” things, then you too are a human – perfect just as you are.

I am a gay man. I love having a penis and have no desire for anything physically feminine (I mean breasts are just yucky). But I have a few feminine qualities, and definitely lack the “macho” needed to enjoy footy.

So why do I need to be anything different? Why does anyone need to adopt a gender based role to be a “whole” and fully functional human? Why is some perfect balance of masculine/feminine the ideal that all humanity must strive for to create a perfect society that pleases god?

If all of us are free to simply be who we are in every way – and by free I mean that we are accepted as equal, valued and valid members of society – then we will also be free to contribute all we are to the richness of humanity.

To demand that “men” be masculine and women be “feminine” is to deny the very character of god and all that we are as unique and wonderful creations.

I’ve seen first hand the tragic damage caused by forcing men and women into gender stereotypes. It’s time to grow up, and become exactly as we are created to be.

Masculinity Is Killing Men

This is a fascinating article, although not specifically LGBT, that highlights the massive issues of gender stereotypes.

We are all familiar with “femininity” being challenged, and rightly so, but the subject of masculinity is still mainly taboo!

Click the image for the full article.