I didn’t want to get out of bed and face the world this morning. The thought of those 49 the world lost yesterday weighed heavily over me.
I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt- have I had a part in shaping this hatred, hatred that bore death, for the LGBTQ community? I felt deep anger at the religious community’s indifference. Then, it became painfully obvious- I am part of the problem.
I’ve tried to toe the “moral” line between the two extremes that are modeled for me: Erasing LGBTQ people, or endorsing sexual expression wholeheartedly. But indecision doesn’t help. Feeling uncomfortable while hoping “Maybe one day those above me will say something. Maybe one day I can speak up without worrying about my reputation, or how those in power will react to my beliefs” does absolutely nothing.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ people live with this fear (and real danger) every day, from the moment they realize that they are “different”. I have no idea what that’s like.
So I’m not waiting any more for someone more powerful than me to do the right thing. It starts with me.
Orlando, I am mourning for you. I am heartbroken. I am deeply sorry for all those whose lives were stolen, disrupted, and broken. I’m sorry that your safe place was violated. I’m sorry for my cowardice. I’m sorry for my anger. I’m sorry for all the times I brazenly compared gays to prostitutes and thieves in a sloppy attempt to sweep everyone into a more comfortable label of “sinner”.
Yes, all humans are sinners. But we are not all treated equally by this society. Some sinners are punished lightly on earth- in fact, they are celebrated, while swathed in their greed and corruption. They will know little discomfort and few obstacles in the way of a good life.
Others, society deems as unworthy. They are the ones who slip through the cracks of social insurance. We look on them with pity the first time we must be burdened with a reminder of their existence. The second time, we scoff in irritation. “Haven’t we been over this? Their family is a wreck- of course they’d turn out like them.” or “It’s time we move on as a culture. Are we going to have this guilt hanging over us forever? It’s not my fault.” When those trodden join together, and their voices rise out of silence, our demeanor fully sours. “You’re wrong!”
I was wrong. Hiding behind my flimsy righteousness and (as Elphaba rightfully accuses Galinda in ‘Wicked’) groveling to those in charge to feed my own ambition gets me ahead- but who all do I leave behind?
Enough explaining. My guilt pales in importance to the suffering of LGBTQ persons today. Yesterday. For centuries.
Hear this: You will never be alone. I am here. It doesn’t matter whether you just realized you’re gay, you have a partner, or whether you’ve decided to not mess with a relationship because it’s just too hard. In the spirit of honesty, I do still have conservative views on sexual behavior. But I will never drive you out or make you feel less than because we disagree. YOU are what I care about, not hypothetical scenarios. You are a whole, full being. You are divine, and you can always lean on the imperfect love that I have, and the perfect love God gushes for you.
This hymn gives me hope. Music is a beautiful reminder of what humanity sounds like when we commit to each other and willingly choose love and harmonize in the face of our differences.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” -1 John 4:7-12