There 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).