Historically, the Christian church has dismissed and excluded the LGBTQ community. From openly opposing same-sex marriage to silencing LGBTQ voices within the congregation, traditional Christianity is still wary of non-heterosexuals.
Whether you grew up in such a church or currently attend one, know you don’t have to adopt the same approach to those with different sexual orientations. Rather, you can be an inclusive, fierce Christian woman who opens her arms to embrace everyone. Here’s how:
You probably wouldn’t like it if someone assumed you — a straight person — were gay just because you’re a female with a short haircut or a male with great taste in fashion. In the same way, LGBTQ people don’t appreciate it when you assume their sexual orientation. First of all, who they find attractive is no one’s business but their own. Second, it can be extremely offensive to make incorrect assumptions.
When you automatically presume someone who has romantic relationships with someone of the same sex is gay, you put them in a box. Maybe they’re bisexual or even asexual and simply enjoy physical affection from the same sex. Simply calling them gay, in this case, would erase their entire identity. Moreover, when you try to put the whole LGBTQ community under one word, you erase the diversity of humanity.
While many churches allow females and LGBTQ people to be leaders and even pastors, others don’t take so kindly to the idea. For example, the Catholic church still refuses to ordain women as priests. Meanwhile, other evangelical churches claim to support and welcome the LGBTQ community but won’t change underlying policies that would make these people leaders in the church. How can anyone but straight men feel truly welcome in a church until everyone is allowed to lead and get involved?
Become a more fierce and inclusive Christian woman by challenging churches in your community that disallow LGBTQ and female leadership. Moreover, continue supporting fully inclusive churches that have actually changed their policies to embrace all of humanity.
Many Christian churches teach that being LGBTQ is a choice. Everyone is born heterosexual, and those in the LGBTQ community simply choose a more “sinful” path. However, this is a huge misconception among traditionalists. Science repeatedly points to genetics being a major component in determining a person’s sexual orientation and behavior. Studies have further suggested there is no single continuum from opposite-sex to same-sex preference.
Once you realize that a person has no choice in who they find themselves attracted to, you can be a more inclusive Christian. Moreover, you can begin to understand that the gender of someone’s partner doesn’t determine their orientation either. Just because a female marries a male doesn’t mean either one of them is straight.
Many conservative Christian and traditionalists still refer to same-sex marriage as gay marriage. This blanket term assumes that everyone who marries someone of the same gender is gay, thus erasing all other non-heterosexual identities. Of course, not everyone who marries is simply gay or straight. There’s a whole rainbow of diversity in between the two terms that gay marriage simply doesn’t account for.
Therefore, it may be best to simply remove the words “gay marriage” from your vocabulary altogether. Love is love and marriage is, well, marriage — regardless of who is involved in the union. This simplification would create a more inclusive community for LGBTQ people within the Christian church.
People of the LGBTQ community struggle with their faith just as much as heterosexuals — if not more so. This is especially true if they grew up in a conservative family, became Christian themselves and then discovered they weren’t heterosexual. The church’s damnation would have been confusing and difficult to accept, to say the least.
If such persons exist within your Christian community, encourage them to share their testimonies, both privately and publicly. Of course, straight people’s testimonies are common and often evade criticism and judgment, regardless of their sins. However, people rarely share and commend stories of Christians with differing sexual orientations who continue keeping the faith.
Jesus taught that loving thy neighbor as thyself is one of the holiest things you can do. As an inclusive, Christian woman, that should be your number one goal regarding the entire LGBTQ community. Regardless of whether or not you believe same-sex intimacy or marriage is a sin or not, your focus should be on loving people.
To do this, it’s absolutely essential to make the church a place of belonging to the LGBTQ community. Doing this gives them a margin for God to work in their lives. Spend time with these individuals and engage them in discussions. They may just teach you a thing or two as well.