This is an opinion piece and does not reflect the views of myHealth as an organization.
There seems to be this idea that faith, spirituality, and/or a relationship with [whomever you call] God or a higher power cannot and should not coincide with a healthy sexuality. Each person deserves to have spirituality if they wish; you are amazing and loved because you are you. It is possible to have faith and be a part of or be an ally to the LGBTQ community. Faith and spirituality looks different to everyone, to me, it is God. I did not grow up in church, I never understood what it meant to have a relationship with Him; I didn’t grow up with open communication where I felt comfortable asking questions, especially when it came to sexuality. My journey with faith and sexuality began as an adult.
I often feel as though I live in two different worlds. In one world I have a strong and supportive relationship with God and the community surrounding that. In my other world, I am a health educator, teaching young people to have confidence in themselves, to overcome the shame and fear that has been taught to them around sex and sexuality, and how to safely incorporate their personal values into romantic relationships. When I came up with the idea to write this article, I felt as though I belonged in both of these worlds. I have heard, listened to, and watched young people struggle, and believe that they cannot be loved because they are lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, intersex, or identify differently than society expects.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that there needs to be more clarity and openness when it comes to these two topics, which is why I am writing this article. I started writing several months ago, but was derailed after my research began and I read negative articles, opinions, and hateful blogs damning anyone who isn’t heterosexual to hell. Don’t get me wrong, there are others in cyberspace who know and believe that God loves them regardless of their gender, biological sex, sexual orientation, etc. The ones brave enough to write about it and show their belief and support have been ridiculed and bullied. Many of them chose to discontinue their writing because their emotional and mental health was suffering as a result. At the time I started my initial research and writing, I had been attending a small group every Thursday, attending church every weekend. I also loved my job, but I had a lot of questions regarding faith. How could God create a world where He only loved people who were heterosexual? A world where it’s okay to “love thy neighbor” as long as they look the same? If everyone had the choice to be born without pain, bullying, and difficulties, I believe that most would choose that path. People do not choose their gender, identity or sexuality, especially if it means they will have more obstacles or could experience hate, oppression, and/or fewer rights.
I am not going to pull out quotes from the bible to support my argument, because I do not believe that having faith is about having the resources to back it up. It is personal, and something that only that individual can understand. I will not be using the bible as a reference, because in the past, the bible served as a way to refute people of color’s rights as well as women’s rights. I believe God created this amount of diversity as a test of faith to overcome our differences, and find His compassion to love. I want you to know, I am a heterosexual, cisgender, white, female. Does that change your lens? I challenge you to read through this again. I am not biased, making up my own rules so that I “fit”, but I am also not condemning others for having differing beliefs, I listen and trust my faith. I am not perfect, but I love you for you, because that is what God teaches. If you or someone you know is looking for a place of worship that is welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ identified folks, click this link: https://www.outfront.org/resources/worship.
Laura, myHealth Health Educator