csd-2735009_1280There is a lot of discussion surrounding people being affirming of LGBT people, especially for Pride month. It’s an important concept to discuss, and yet I think that I may have a different take on what affirming means than a lot of LGBT people do. I know some LGBT people who, when a person asks them a question for their own knowledge, responds that the person needs to educate themselves instead of asking the LGBT person to do it for them. I fundamentally disagree with this, as I believe that our personal stories play the biggest part in people’s journey to becoming affirming. Stories change lives, and if someone has genuine questions for us, it’s a great way to tell our stories. If people are trying to learn for their own knowledge as a way to become more affirming, we should help them in any way that we can.

But what constitutes being affirming? Again, I disagree with many LGBT people on what affirming truly is. Some LGBT people conclude that affirming means the straight, cisgender person be totally on board with their sexuality and gender, that they believe the science surrounding diversity. It’s always awesome when this happens, but the thing is that societal change takes time. Many people genuinely believe, whether they are right or not, that being LGBT is a sin. Many people genuinely believe that a person is not born LGBT, that they become LGBT through things that have happened to them in life. I do not believe either of those things, but I know good and beautiful people that do.

The thing about the good people I know who are not thrilled or completely on board about the fact that I’m a lesbian, treat me with love, and dignity, and respect, and to me, that right there is affirmation. Out of the people I am closest too, I don’t think any of them are thrilled, but they love me for who I am. I respect that we do not see eye to eye on issues surrounding my sexuality, but I am loved and to me, that is affirmation enough. To all the amazing people in my life: thank-you for loving me for who I am and showing Christ to me.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God’s help. (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 305).

 

2 thoughts on “On Being Affirming

  1. Thank you for this. There’s been a lot of discussion of this subject in Methodist circles becasue there’s currently a paper going to Conference (our governing body) about allowing churches ot register to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies and how, if that is done, to enable those whose consciences do not accept them to stay in the church. It’s good to hear such understanding from someone directly affected.

    1. I don’t see that as a dilemma to be honest. Allowing same sex marriage ceremonies is great. But for the people whose “consciences do not accept them to stay in the church” aren’t LGBT people’s problem. This is not affirmation in any way, shape or form. If they are against the weddings, they do not have to attend. Most of the same people don’t have a problem with remaining in church with adulterers, child abusers, divorced people, etc. “Affirmation” in this case would mean quietly going about one’s business and not attending anything they don’t believe they can. I will say that one of the people I love dearly told me when I told her so that she could walk away from me if she wanted to that maybe she didn’t “agree” with it but she was still happy to come to the same altar to receive the Eucharist alongside me. That’s affirmation. The whole idea of “you can’t conduct a same-sex wedding because I believe it’s wrong.” That’s not allowing the person conducting it to live by their conscience but expecting them to live by yours. It’s tricky.

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