In college, I learned about those who were queer (the Q in LGBTQIA+), then a pejorative. My vocabulary also included fairy, fag, and homo but I didn’t know anyone who identified that way or have any idea what that meant.
I would say about 10 percent of the men in my seminary were homosexual, but most folks pretended they didn’t know because the church wasn’t friendly to them.
In the 1970s, the word gay took on a whole new meaning. It no longer meant “happy” and was not a woman’s first name or family name. I like this word much better than homosexual.
When I was a priest in Hawai’i, I heard about a bisexual man (B), a fellow priest, who had a wife, child, and live-in boyfriend. I thought that strange, he ought to make up his mind.
A few years ago, I read that over seven hundred varieties of human sexuality exist. I can’t seem to find that article again, but I still believe seven hundred isn’t too far-fetched. Why? Because when I learned that every man has different portions of anima, or traditionally feminine traits in a male psyche, and every woman has degrees of animus, or traditionally masculine traits, I see a very long list of different sexual orientations.
I have often wondered, because I was raised in a female household and brought up in an all-female (even the dog and cat) family, is my anima a result of my genes or my environment? I can’t find an answer.
Who am I? I’m a heterosexual (straight) male clergyman who uses the pronouns he and him. I am open and affirming, accepting everyone for who they are, so I know a wide spectrum of people with different sexual orientations. I wish every church did that so the congregants could learn that one’s sexual orientation is only a little of who that person is.
Today, there are so many variations that I carry a list so that when someone says they are cisgender, skoliosexual, or dozens of other identities, I can look at my cheat sheet and understand what they mean.
Presently, the original LGBT has grown to LGBTQIA+, but these new letters can confuse people. Does Q mean “queer” or “questioning”? Both work for me. Some people include a U. Is it for “undecided” or “understanding”? I like both ideas. I appreciate the + because it includes all the new designations without adding another letter.
Here’s what I know in August 2022: (1) there are multiple human (and maybe animal) forms of sexuality; (2) today, society seems much more tolerant of people with different sexual orientations, but we still have a long way to go; and (3) I love the fact that the doors are opening much wider for people to be honest about who they truly are.
Above all, I feel so fortunate that my Christ, Jesus, has taught me about unconditional love for everyone, no matter where they are on life’s journey or what their sexual orientation or gender identity is.
Does your Christ do the same?
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash