eradicating the stereotypes for both christians and for gays...something to consider, by kristy sinsara
When it comes to titles in life these days I'd like to be part of the movement that works to eradicate the natural assumptions made with both being "gay" and being "Christian".
Prior to 30 years ago I believe that being a "Christian" came along with the assumption that you not only were a believer in Jesus Christ, followed the teachings of the Bible and attended church regularly but also that you were kindhearted, giving, thoughtful, considerate, welcoming, compassionate and believed in a sense of "community".
Conversely, 30 years ago I believe that being "gay" came along with the assumption that you were "deviant," a drug user or alcoholic, sexually promiscuous, and perhaps had an overall hidden agenda of something seemingly dishonest.
There's a cultural war in this country that's now being fought over these titles. Millions of people no longer believe in the natural assumptions that once existed with these two groups. Outside the middle of the country, stating you're a Christian usually comes with the assumption that you're self righteous or judgmental. Unfortunately stating you're a Christian no longer comes with the assumption that you're kind or compassionate no more than stating you're gay means that you're "deviant" or dishonest.
But the truth is that no title fits a group of people as big as the ones called "Christians" OR "gays". Not all Christians are self-righteous and judgmental in the same manner that not all gay people are alike.
I grew up in a very strict Christian Southern Baptist home with strict parents that felt the absolute minimum we should be in church each week was twice on Sundays, once a week for visitation and, of course, Wednesday night services. Going to church was like going to school...not a suggestion...more like the law.
The people at the church I grew up in all looked, sounded and acted like each other. The gossiping and backstabbing and judgment was as prevalent as the praying and "saving". Anyone that was "different" was not welcome. I learned at a very young age that these people seemed far more interested in being like each other more than being anything like Jesus.
And things never really changed with my "church" experience. When I was in my mid 20's I was at a church with a friend of mine when a homeless man walked in and sat down. About ten minutes later a church deacon walked over to him, and asked him to leave and not return until after he had showered. Apparently one of the wealthy church supporters complained of the smell. I was so appalled I got up and left.
I have told this story a hundred times in my life and it is almost always been met with an equal to or more egregious story of the same manner told right back to me.
So now there's an entire generation of people just like me looking back on their childhood and "religious" experiences with these types of "Christians" calling out the BS for what it is. These experiences with an entire generation of people have sadly caused us all to now "question" the word "Christian". When you say you're going to church, I automatically wonder which group is on deck for judgment this week. The assumption that you're full of compassion and kindness certainly is not synonymous with "church" or being a "Christian". And this is unfortunate because being compassionate and kind, welcoming and building a sense of "community" is what being a Christian is actually all about. I honestly, truly believe that if Jesus Christ himself came to this earth in his physical body that most "Christians" would be shocked to find how truly disappointed he was in them. The judgment and backstabbing and hate and dissension has gotten to a point that saying the word "Christian" almost has a negative connotation. And that is just awful and sad to me.
On the flip side, if you happen to catch the latest local gay pride parade it seems to be nothing more than grown men prancing around in their ruffled, laced panties screaming about how they're "here and queer" and the world should just "get used to it". And here yet another double standard in America wherein we find a group of people actually promoting the worst type of stereotyping all the while claiming how much they hate to be "categorized" and pre-judged and screaming that the world judges them unfairly. Does it? Let's be honest?
I had a friend of mine once tell me that she was driving down the highway in California and this guy drove by and yelled "DYYYYYKE" and she was so upset by this she cried. Literally the next spring, she was in the gay pride parade in a group called "Dykes on Bikes" and I couldn't help but wonder how this is not a double standard. This seems equivalent to the double standard of Black Americans stating that the "N" word is the most offensive word in the English language but yet it's still so prevalent in movies and music among them??? But like many of my black friends that tell me how disgusted they are when they hear other black people using this word, I too am disgusted when I see people in the gay community promoting these stereotypes. If you're going to look like and act like a "dyke" you're not allowed to be upset if and when someone points it out. If you're going to be one of "those kind of Christians" you're not allowed to be upset if and when the world automatically calls you out on your "NON-CHRISTIAN" behavior!
The problem is that both of these groups, those claiming to be Christian and those claiming now to be gay once started on opposite ends of the spectrum, worked their ways away from one another and then back around only to inevitably meet up, once again in popular culture.
Christians are too big a group to all be lumped together and the assumptions are unfair. Gays are too big a group and too diverse in their own world to ever be lumped together. The truth is that I'm scared to say both!
I don't want to tell anyone I'm a Christian, I'd rather they decide for themselves through my actions, may they always speak louder than my words. I ask all of the time "if you weren't allowed to use your words to discuss your faith, what actions of yours tell the world how you believe"? Honestly, think about it.
In the same note, I rarely ever tell anyone I'm married to a woman until they have first gotten to know me because I am incredibly afraid to be lumped into that "category" of "dykes on bikes" and "we're here and queer" group. I'm not "militant" about my sexuality. I'm militant about WHO I, AM a woman, as a mom, as a spouse, as a human being, as a spiritual warrior in this lifetime. Being married to a woman is only one of many facets of me and certainly the last to define me.
So I think it's my duty as someone who refuses to live within the barriers of pop culture walls that I break free and start a new revolution of Christians and gays that agree to disagree perhaps on certain issues while still maintaining a strong sense of the common threads between them.
Bottom line, not all Christians are selfish, judgmental, condescending, backstabbing people. Many are truly the most loving, kindest, compassionate, thoughtful, considerate people with the greatest hearts for community. And if you are one of these Christians, it's your job to prove this. Be the difference. Change the world's opinion.
Bottom line, not all "gay" people fit into these stereotypes promulgated by our media sources. Not just many, but MOST are family oriented, faithful to their partners, kind hearted, fun loving, and compassionate giving, FAITH abiding, God-fearing, country loving folks. And if you are gay and this is YOU, it's your responsibility to come out and show the world your love. Be the difference. Change the world's opinion.
So let's work together to break down both of these stereotypes. Two groups of amazing people that have worked against each other to cause some extreme pain, dissention and hurt in this world, actually have much in common.
Truly if we could all see each other's emotional wounds as we could our physical wounds this world would be a kinder place. So put down your weapons and open your arms. More love never hurt anyone!
GAY AND LESBIAN ISSUES IN AMERICA
I never wanted to be a "voice" for these issues. I have spent a great deal of my life turning my back on them and walking away from it all.