Since the release of my autobiography in 2004, I began reaching out to ministers, church leaders and Christians to engage in a respectful dialogue. Over the years I have seen many come to a new understanding of sexuality, gender identity, the LGBTI community and our relationships. When they publicly declared their change in beliefs and support for the LGBTI community it was not uncommon for them to receive opposition. Some pastors were even threatened with losing their churches and ministry. Others rejected by Christian friends and family. At times it was hostile and downright nasty. I found myself frequently offering these people words of support and comfort. It happened so frequently it became a standard letter. I offer it here for all straight Christian allies who might find it relevant.
Thanks so much for standing with us. It means a lot.
I’m sorry to hear that you been attacked for stating your new beliefs and for your acts of reconciliation.
When we look at the life of Jesus in the gospels we see a man familiar with opposition. He was constantly attacked by the conservatives and religious leaders of the day for mixing with wrong people and going to the wrong places. The accusation “he is a friend of sinners” was actually a compliment.
Jesus saw human beings not labels. His life and parables constantly remind us who our neighbours are and how we can practically live out the command ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’.
Phariseeism is alive and well in the 21st century church. Like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, some continue to judge, condemn and separate themselves from people they consider somehow outside of God’s grace. Their harshness, putting law above love and throwing bible verses like stones exposes the reality of their souls.
I find it surprising that Christians, who claim to be people of The Book, can’t see the similarities happening today.
When any straight person from the Christian world actually stands on the side of the LGBTI community they have crossed a boundary and often experience hostility and personal attack. By standing with us you get a taste of what it has been like for so many of us from religious backgrounds. The conflicts of faith and sexuality have created the greatest traumas in our lives. The condemnation, judgment and rejection from those we have shared so much with cuts deep.
Standing with us you also get to experience something that is an everyday reality for many in the LGBTI community. Eighty five percent of gay men and lesbians experienced harassment or violence during their lifetime, with one in four gay men and lesbians being physically attacked. For our transgender brothers and sisters the stats are alarmingly higher. These physical attacks are not for anything we have done but simply for being who they are. In the eyes of the attacker they are abnormal outsiders who do not deserve to be treated like everyone else. LGBTI people have never asked for special rights, just basic human rights. Equality, dignity and respect.
Thank you for being like Jesus, stepping into our world and lives and demonstrating unconditional love. It has not gone unnoticed by God and those who strive to be like the Master.
One step ahead you are a leader. Two steps ahead an innovator. Three steps ahead a martyr. We are grateful to those who’ve stepped out and paid the price to be the pioneers. History will speak well of you.
We are a part of the future. A new world being created. Once we have a new consciousness or understanding we are empowered and it’s impossible to retreat to a place of ignorance. Too much is at stake. TRUTH. And it was Jesus who said “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
With love and the deepest respect and appreciation
Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International