How does your queer faith differ from heterosexual Christians?
Well, Beloved, first and foremost, it is my deep hope that each and every one of us have our own personal relationship with our Creator. In that way, my faith, like yours, is utterly unique, as specific to me as my fingerprints. On the other hand, we are one in that we are the children of God.
But what I think you may be asking is, is there something different about my faith because of my queerness. To that I would say yes, absolutely.
Mostly my faith feels hard-fought in a way that cis-gender straight people seldom experience. Many LGBTQ people are raised to believe that our families, churches, and ultimately our Heavenly Father will never abandon nor forsake us, only to find ourselves isolated and rejected from the very places we have called home as soon as we come into our authenticity as Queer and Trans people. A countless number of us have been told that God hates our “lifestyle” or that we are living in sin and that our tragedies (like the AIDS crisis or the Pulse massacre) are God’s punishment.
Some of us know in our bones that the Creator is proud of us for living into who we are created and called to be; we have survived the fiery furnace with a vibrant faith. We understand desire and pleasure as essential and powerful gifts from God to be loved and respected rather than hidden and shamed.
Because we are labeled first by our sex and who we desire (homosexual man, bisexual woman, etc), many of us have done the hard work of decolonizing heteropatriarchal tropes like “bodies are bad” and “sex is sinful” that all of us have inherited from fundamentalist Christianity. We have had to take responsibility for the consequences of our faith, and choose a theology of life and love over a dogma of death and fear.
I can tell you that after walking through that valley of the shadow of death, I know without a doubt that God celebrates our Queer love and our LGBTQ lives. That is a kind of unshakeable faith that is better than gold, more precious than diamonds!
But many of us don’t make it–either in body or in spirit–and that is an anguish that remains deep and ever-present in LGBTQ communities of faith, and that wound often goes unseen and unfelt in straight communities. We are more acutely aware of the lies of false prophets who use words against us like “abomination” and “immoral” and “unnatural.” We have often experienced first-hand how the the Bible can be used as a weapon rather than a shield.
And many of us are down-right angry that the God we worship and adore has been co-opted by wolves in sheep’s clothing to moralize evil systems of domination that seek to subjugate and control us all. You will find us in the streets more than in the pews. We live by Jesus’ mandate from Matthew 25 (v. 31-46) rather than sit idly in the salvation of John 3:16.
We are a Micah 6:8 people, and we are taking converts!