Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Via Huffington Post: 7 Things Churches Can Do to Make Queer People Feel Welcome

For as long as I can remember, the church, for me, has been a place characterized by shame and hurt. I remember Christian high school friends telling me that I would go to hell for being Queer. I remember hearing sermons from televangelists about the evils of homosexuality, and church leaders pressuring youth leaders to cast out their Queer members. I've heard more talk of "love the sinner, hate the sin," and "God didn't make gay," than anyone should, and I've even received personalized hate mail declaring that "God hates dykes." 

While I've never believed being Queer automatically counted me out, I've been unable to find a church community that I, as a Trans person, could really call home -- a place I could engage in conversations around faith and sexuality, faith and gender. 

Last fall, a co-worker invited me to meet with a group of leaders from her church who were working to make their community more open and affirming. As the Director of LGBTQA Advocacy and Education at the local college, I suppose I was a logical choice, though this colleague knew nothing of my lifelong struggles with faith. 

Through talking with these people about their desires to be inclusive and their belief in God's love extending to all people, I found my mind re-opening to faith, to God. Because of these conversations, I realized that it is possible for Queer people to feel welcome and safe at church. Ultimately, it begins with education and relationships.

Make the jum here to read the 7 things all churches can do to help make Queer people feel welcome.