Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dear Christian Family, Do You Choose Relationship or Being Right?



The following letter was written by a member of CToBM.  The letter is directed to her Christian family.  She has asked that she and her daughter remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.  We hope that this letter will help someone out there.  Awareness creates Acceptance and Acceptance creates Awareness.
  
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My eldest child identifies as both pansexual and gender-fluid, and some family members have been outspoken in their distaste for this development, even confronting her directly and letting her know they cant call her by the name she has chosen because of their “belief”. (female pronouns are preferred since English doesn’t have gender neutral ones and they/them are plural)

If I remember correctly from my years as a Christian, there are two commandments that come above all others: 

Love God.


Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

If any aspect of your belief system is coming into direct opposition of your ability to do the second one, you are not doing the first. You love God by loving your neighbor, and especially by loving your own family members. What does love mean if not fully accepting, embracing, and affirming people, exactly where they are at in this moment, regardless of if you understand and/or agree?

Do you choose the relationship (love) or being right? What do you gain by choosing the latter? There are many people who share your label of Christian who do not agree that a non-heterosexual orientation or nonconforming gender identity/expression is sinful. In fact, there are many LGBTQ people who are Christian. Have you explored their view point?

The Bible should not be coming into opposition to your ability to fully love. Saying, “Ill treat you kindly but I need you to know I dont agree with who you are,” is not loving. Refusing to use a preferred name is just rude, and youd have no problem with it if it were simply a preferred nickname. Perhaps I should start calling you whatever I like, regardless of your own preferences.

It is my job as a parent to protect my child. I am thrilled that my child felt comfortable to come out to me as bisexual at the tender age of 13, and that over the last two years as her knowledge about herself and labels grew, she now identifies in other ways that feel right for her. I’m thrilled. Why? Because she is learning how to know herself, how to express herself, and how to be fearlessly authentic in a world that desperately needs brave self-expression, as eventually it will lead to acceptance and people championing those who have historically been viewed and treated as less than.

Her response to all this amazes me. I can sense a touch of anger, and more than a touch of hurt, but more than anything, she understands that people get set in their ways, especially in regard to belief systems, and she loves her family regardless. Shes not about to cast anyone off because they believe differently than her, even though shes the one being harmed. That is the true example of love here.

She is strong, but she is still young, and if I need to protect her psyche by keeping her away from judgmental family members, so be it. I want to choose love. I want to choose the relationship over being right, but not at the expense of damaging her, of taking the risk that she may internalize the judgment and shame that you are trying to place on her. I will not accept it. LGBTQ youth are exponentially more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that it is something she never even considers.

Some will see this as unnecessarily confrontational, but trust me, when your mama or papa bear instincts are threatened, you may feel the need to be confrontational too. No one hurts my kid, especially her family. You love and embrace her fully, or accept that you will not have a relationship with her until such time that she chooses to do so, when she has reached adulthood and can make those decisions on her own.

She is strong because her dad and I have built her up to be, because we have raised her in a home where she knows deep down in the center of her being that we love HER, just as she is, unconditionally and forever. We have created an environment where everyone is accepted, where gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and queer are perfectly normal. Her dad and I had a long talk over the phone about this, and while our divorce obviously shows that there were things we didnt agree on, in this we are a completely united front.


Love our kid. Unconditionally. Its not hard. Shes fantastic, and as we have, youll become a better person just by knowing her, listening to her, and connecting with her.

To those who do, thank you. And thank you to those Christians we know who exhibit Christs love towards us without judgment, who choose not to stake their faith on this one issue, and who err on the side of love and of grace.

I may be disappointed, and even a bit angry, but this is coming from a place of love: for my child, for all our family members, and a desire to see everyone simply love each other, just as we each are.

Signed,

An out and proud bisexual woman, loving mom, and former Christian who is choosing to stay anonymous in order to protect my child’s identity and safety

Resources for those seeking to learn and to understand:



5 comments:

  1. You are so wise! You truly reflect God's unconditional love! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Touching, Fierce and truly showing the face of Jesus !

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  3. Both of my kids identify as LBGTQ and I understand your "Mama Bear/Papa Bear instincts." Fortunately, our family has been drama-free on this one. (We do our drama elsewhere.) Prayers for you and yours.

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  4. I don't know where my son will fall on the spectrum one day, but if he identifies as anything as other than straight, then so what? I'll love him regardless, and hope to be as good of a parent as you seem to be. My own family has been rocked by a member coming out, but the trouble-havers are starting to either accept it or try to love them regardless. One day it'll all make sense, and until then, my non-straight human-family members, I don't give a damn, and wish you the best you can find.

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