What I Learned About the LGBTQ Community
If there was somewhere I want to be right now, it would be back at the camp I wrote about in my last post, at the dock by the lake. Only in that quiet, that peace, would I be able to deeply cry and mourn with the lost and hurt of the Orlando shooting.
“We need to just accept gay people.” That’s something I heard as far back as I can remember. But what actually is acceptance?
I always thought I was “so accepting” of people who are LGBTQ. Throughout my life I’ve known many people who are gay. I’ve had friends who are gay. One of my best friends in early high school was a lesbian. The one thing I always made sure I did was treat them exactly as I would treat someone who is not gay. I worked very hard trying to show them I don’t see them any differently from someone who is not gay. I never ever brought the topic up with them.
In reality, all I did was not care about the deepest part of their humanity.
I always said I support gay rights because I believe people are free to do whatever they want and it’s none of my business. When I became a Christian coincidentally around the same time gay marriage was made legal in the USA, I was disgusted by the “religious Christians” who protested and posted hateful stuff on the internet. Nobody in my fellowship or church was against it and that was good enough for me. It wasn’t my business who gets married to whom.
In reality, my none-of-my-business attitude was anything but support.
Looking back now a year later, I can say the Bible points out a lot of things that are sinful. Homosexuality is just one of them. People are quick to pick that one out if it’s not a sin they have committed. That’s one less off the list! Do we get stickers?
If we only focus on what people have or have not done, we very quickly forget what people are meant for in life. Love. It’s a simple word, but it’s not a simple thing. We can love, then we can get angry and forget to love. We can love, then we can get anxious and forget to love. We can love our families, our friends, then we can forget to love strangers. Some of these strangers happen to be part of the LGBTQ community. They sure don’t forget to love. In fact, if they didn’t love, they wouldn’t be targeted for who they love.
After the shootings happened, one of my friends wrote a post about how a gay bar is somewhere he wants to go to so he can meet other gay people, but he doesn’t want to die. I texted him because I felt sad and was worried. I will never understand the pain the LGBTQ community faces every day, but I want to hear their stories. I want to ask them about their pain, their struggles, their entire identity. I want to hear about the times they were slapped, either literally or figuratively. And I want to hear about the first time they felt comfort. We can’t love or accept or support anyone if we don’t even know anything.
If you know someone who is LGBTQ, perhaps even someone who isn’t a friend (yet), I encourage you to ask them how they are in light of the recent tragedy to their community. I am still trying to overcome the voices in my head saying they don’t want to talk about it, to someone such as myself. But they won’t mind as much as we might think. 🙂