On a sunny July day last summer, I sat cross-legged on a musty pillow in a retreat center in the Appalachian Mountains. I was at the Presbyterian Welcome Retreat for LGBTQ persons seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Ironically, it wasn’t until I came out that I began to discover that being gay wasn’t the end of my relationship with the church. In fact, I couldn’t get those loony Christians to stop calling me. Hadn’t they heard I was queer? What use could I possibly be to the church?
I confess, I cringe a bit at the identification of being “bisexual,” not because it is incorrect. It is very true that I have the capacity to be attracted to both women and men.
The problem is how limiting “bisexual” is as a description of who I am as a “bi” person. For me, it is more complex than the word suggests.
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” This week, gay Boy Scouts are prepared for equality. At the same time, they are prepared for discrimination. They know that even if the policy changes to allow gay Boy Scouts, there will still be those who discriminate. There will be those who are frightened by change and by the full range of human expression of love and family.
As a child, I was taken to my grandmother's Baptist church in South Georgia every Christmas and Easter. While I am thankful for those experiences with her and have come to understand just how deeply and beautifully her faith has impacted me, I didn’t feel particularly connected to the church at that time.
What a groundswell! Twelve states, our nation's capital and several Native American tribes in the United States now have marriage equality. Minnesota was the most recent. Illinois, Nevada and New Mexico are taking steps to join the ranks.
I would applaud Boy Scouts of America if it permitted openly gay scouts to fully participate in Scouts. However, the Scouts must also accept openly gay Assistant Scoutmasters and Scoutmasters. Anything less still amounts to a clear, implicit message that homosexuality is an abomination so horrible that it, alone, undermines the full value and integrity of that person.
This Thursday, 1400 members of the Boy Scouts' National Council will converge in Dallas to vote on a resolution critical to the Boy Scouts' longstanding ban on gay members. Many people are speaking out, and GLAAD is making sure that the voices of fair-minded people are heard, including people of faith.
Each Sunday, clad in a bright red robe, I step into the pulpit. Before I even utter a word, my body preaches on my behalf. My gendered, queer, dancing, disordered body proclaims the Word before I ever open my mouth.
There are Sundays when a congregant might ask me, “Why do you always talk about gay stuff in worship?”