I’m sure I won’t change your mind on this point, or any other, but that’s not my goal in writing. My goal in writing is to bear witness to what I see and believe. As an additional disclaimer here, if you’re looking for a theological or exegetical defense of all things LGBTQ+ this is not the post for that. And I’m honestly not sure that I’m the right writer or witness for that message.
What I can offer, though, is a simple rationale for why it is a question of justice, from this Christian lefty’s perspective, to stand with the LGBTQ+ community.
It seems as if the days of arguing back and forth about gay marriage are well behind us, at least in common discourse. I take this as a positive thing. I remember well people from my own community, made up of cis-gendered white Evangelicals decrying gay marriage as a devaluing of the institution of marriage. I confess to making this argument myself. It so sounded reasonable until as I said it out loud in conversation. Then it just sounded silly. It sounded hard-hearted. It sounded like I was against people who were fighting for the same rights I took for granted…because I was.
So I stopped making that argument. I changed my mind. People love who they love and it’s kind of as simple as that. I’ll simply celebrate love (and marriage) because I’ve been blessed to love and be loved. I hope everybody can experience that same blessing.
It seems like the main “issue”- and aren’t issues easier to debate when there aren’t faces, stories and names attached to them- that is in debate today is that of trans rights. Every day it seems like my social media stream is flooded with articles about some trans kid winning a race against a little pig-tailed girl and I’m invited to join in the outrage.
But do you know what I am not typically invited to join outrage in? The fact that trans people are victimized at an alarming rate. At least 26 trans people have been killed this year alone. And we are talking about a microscopic subset of the population.
This is not to mention the bigotry, bullying and oftentimes suicidality many LGBTQ+ youth are far more likely to endure. For many, their very lives are at stake.
So I will instead be outraged by the fact that professors at universities refuse to call folks by the name that they identify with. I will instead be outraged by the fact that this nation has become far less safe in the past few years for young people who are undergoing the hard work of self-discovery. I will be outraged by the fact that we have sent soldiers to kill on our behalf all over the world and have refused to foot the bill for their medical procedures.
Because, of course, the issue of trans rights, just like the issue of gay marriage, just like any other is not simply an issue. We are talking about the lives of people made in God’s image and likeness. Each has a story. Each has a face. Each has a name.
And so, as I see it, the question becomes, what does it look like to advocate for the rights of another person, regardless of our differences? Because truly, we are speaking about our friends, our coworkers and our families. And many are crying out simply for justice.
An ethic of love demands that we cry out with them.