Nicole Garcia created and donated a religious stole to the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Shower of Stoles, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary of telling the stories of LGBTQ people of faith. Click here to see how you can bring the Shower of Stoles project to your community.
In November of 2014, I decided to discontinue my efforts to be a certified candidate in the United Methodist Church. I’ll never forget that day. It was unseasonably warm, so I worn a white tank top and some black basketball shorts. I looked like I was prepping for a track meet, or at least for a workout that required some running. And in a way, I was.
My childhood was defined by conflict. This conflict was only sometimes visible. Internally, however, the conflict was seismic and ever-present.
I like being born in 1950. It feels so central. It’s easy to calculate how old I am. Last year I hit classic retirement age. I also hit marking about 20 years out to myself, and the world, as bisexual.
At the time of my brother’s death in 2007, it was very important that our family be spared rejection by the church in a time of grief.
Back in the day, Girlfriends was one of my favorite sitcoms to watch. To see the interactions between strong Black women on television that mirrored what I was exposed to in my family always left me joyful and anxious to watch the next episode.
It seems that my last 40 years has been about coming out.
And each time I come out, I’m filled with awe by the courage of those that have come before me. I’m afraid that those who have professed to love me will change their minds. I’m certain that I will again be “too much.” I also wonder if it’s even worth the trouble. I cry and I wrestle.
The sun is setting a little later in the evening, but it sure is cold out. It must be Lent.
Given that, I think that we, as LGBTQ Christians, need to take some time to examine our theology of loss.
I am a gay christian.
There are times that I say or write those words and pause. I look at them and reflect on the journey that they represent. The years of hiding, the years of shame, the years of struggle. These days, I say them with a nonchalant air.
Yet, there was a time that I couldn’t even utter them.
The discomfort of being THE black guy in the room is something that I have to negotiate over and over again. Often/especially in progressive and/or queer political spaces, I am one of very few people of color—it seems that there are places where the demographic “count” to cover all bases means that there’s one of this and one of that and a whole bunch of white folks at the table.