I knew from the time I started writing blogs, I would be entering a stage where there would be some controversy. The idea of being a Christian transgender person will fly in the face of many on both sides; the church and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender community.
The word Christian can spark heated debate on how the church has treated the LGBT community. To mention that I am transgender in the church has lit a few fires of disagreement. When you put the two together, you have napalm. If not handled correctly and without proper education, the firestorm can rage out of control, damaging all with in its path. But as a wildfire is known to do, it can burn away the old and make room for new life, so heated, healthy debate is not always a bad thing.
In my inaugural post here on ChicagoNow, one of the individuals that left comments made a few statements I believe I need to take time to discuss. Before correcting some common misconceptions about being transgender, I want to take a minute to agree with one of his statements.
I agree that many in society today believe that the Bible, the Word of God, is full of bigotry and prejudice. There have been many church leaders in the news recently that have done nothing but condemn the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender community. Charles L. Worley of Maiden, N. C. preached a sermon that went viral on YouTube. He preached that he thought gays should be fenced off from the rest of the population so they would “die off”. With rhetoric like this, how is any non-believer ever going to think that God, above all things, is a loving God? How is anyone going to think anything other than God is a God of punishment when he really came to die on the cross and forgive our sins? I praise people like Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation for their work in Chicago connecting with the LGBT community and spreading God’s love to those that have felt rejected by the church. We need more people like that working to build someone up in God, instead of tearing him or her down.
-full post (the first of two) at Trans Girl at the Cross, Chicago Now
The southwest Minneapolis suburbs of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie bring to mind Garrison Keillor’s tales from Lake Wobegon: They’re lined with well-maintained homes and tree-lined roundabouts, and home to residents of largely German and Scandinavian ancestry. But the ladies of these towns have quietly begun a revolt — one fought with rainbow flags and a Minnesota nice attitude.
The women, mostly in their 40s and 50s, come from different political parties, religious views, and backgrounds, but they’ve united to fight what many of them call an embarrassment to Minnesota: a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage that will appear on the ballot this November. Minnesota is the 31st state to include such a measure on a ballot, despite a strong LGBT community in Minneapolis, which was named the “gayest city in America” by Advocate Magazine in January 2011.
Throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul, pro-gay activism is the norm — conservative lawn signs are strikingly few. The state’s liberal, urban voters have been fighting the amendment for over a year now. Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of 520 businesses and religious organizations based mostly in the Twin Cities, has raised $3.1 million to fight the ban.
But in the bedroom communities of Eden Prairie and Minnetonka, billboards promoting right-wing candidates and talk show hosts frequently pop up between car dealerships and golf clubs. A sudden proliferation of rainbow flags has made these neighborhoods into unexpected battlegrounds in the state’s marriage fight
-full report at Advocate
As the battle over gay marriage heats up in this election year, one evangelical Christian writer is calling for a truce, fearing that the outspoken opposition to gay marriage among some church leaders could alienate an entire generation of religious youth.
“Evangelicals have been so submitted to these culture wars for so long, so that’s hard to give up,” evangelical writer and speaker Rachel Held Evans, 31, told msnbc.com. But “the majority of young Christians really, really, really want to stop with the political emphasis.”
Held Evans, who regularly speaks at Christian colleges, said the young Christians she meets are much more open to gay rights than are older generations, an observation backed up by polling data.
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A 2011 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows the generation gap between young Christians and their elders is large, with 44 percent of white evangelicals aged 18-29 in support of marriage equality compared to only 12 percent of those 65 and older.
According to the same survey, nearly 70 percent of young Christians also agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.
– more at U.S. News.
In response to my post “‘It’s no sin to be gay.’ See how easy that is, Andrew Marin?” folks have made the point that Andrew’s work is valuable, because he is “building bridges” — because he is, as one reader put it, “creating stepping stones from one end of the spectrum to the other.” They appreciate Marin establishing a neutral, non-judgmental, values-free middle ground where parties on either side of the gay-Christian debate can meet to together discuss and explore the issue.
The problem, though, is that when it comes to the issue of LGBT equality, there is no such thing as a values-free middle ground. There can’t be, because that is a moral issue. And that means it’s about a very definite right and wrong.
And it’s a moral issue of no small consequence. There couldn’t possibly be more at stake. The people on one side of this debate — the majority, which wields all the power — are claiming that, in the eyes of God, those on the other side are less than human.
No matter how strenuously he or she might deny it, the fact is that any Christian who does not forthrightly and unambiguously assert that there is nothing whatsoever inherently immoral about same-sex relationships has chosen a side in this conflict. To a starving man, the person who can’t decide if they want to share their food is no better than the person who refuses to (emphasis added).
– more at John Shore, Huffington Post
Immersion based reporting has exploded in recent years with authors like A.J. Jacobs, but for one new author the immersion experience took him on an unprecedented journey, and it all began with two words: “I’m Gay.” In his new book, “Jesus in Drag,” Timothy Kurek dared to go where no conservative Christian has ever gone before, attempting to test years of teaching within the conservative denomination of his youth. The book releases Oct. 11.
Timothy, just how far did you go for the research of this book? Who did you “come out” to and what was their response?
I came out to everybody! My friends, family, everyone. When it all began I wasn’t even doing it for a book. I just knew that I needed to understand, as realistically as possible, how the label of gay might change my life. The social experiment itself demanded all or nothing. I knew I’d have to fully engage in order to understand, so there were only a few people that knew what I was doing.
Every coming out story I’ve ever read or heard share one common trait: fear. Fear of the reactions and the great what-ifs. With that in mind, it was essential that I experience the same realistic fear and apprehension that comes with making the declaration that I was a gay man. In all of my life I’ve never been more nervous, or physically and emotionally shaken than I was standing in front of my family when I came out.
-full report at Huffington Post