by Tres Adames
Whenever I teach about LGBTQ+ issues in faith communities, one comment I hear from time to time is: "We don't have anyone who is gay who goes to this church," or "I don't know anyone who is trans." I am quick to correct this assertion.
I have sat in many Sunday School classes and church meetings where the LGBTQ+ community was spoken about so disparagingly that it made me physically sick to my stomach. Even during the days when I was trying to repress my sexuality, it was hurtful to hear about the community when it was spoken about with so much contempt. It was these conversations that kept me closeted for years.
"The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." —Proverbs 15:4, NIV
Even if you are Christian who believes that being LGBTQ+ is somehow wrong, I would hope that as a believer in Christ, you would choose words of kindness over speech that can be deeply hurtful and traumatizing to those who converse with you — you never know who you are taking to or what they are going through.
Mary Griffith was an LGBTQ+ ally and advocate who wrote a book called Prayers for Bobby, which is a memoir about how she lost her son to suicide. She was not accepting of him while he was alive and only after he died did she realize the effect her words had on her son. She wrote:
“Before you echo 'Amen' in your home or place of worship, think and remember...a child is listening."— Mary Griffith