This guest post from a friend is published anonymously to protect the author. I encouraged them to write these words after hearing the story below. They have given me this post as a gift, and I give them to you.
Dear Family of God,
I am not someone else’s daughter. I am your queer daughter. I am not someone else’s sister. I am your queer sister.
I am next to you in your pew. I am teaching your children about Jesus. I am worshiping with you. I am leading you in worship.
You claim to love me, yet I am only welcome in your lives as long as I write this post anonymously. I am only welcome as long as I keep my hurting heart from beating too loudly.
As much as you believe that you have perfected the act of disagreeing with homosexuality while still remaining a safe space for me, you have not.
You are not a safe space. You are not safe.
When you tell me that my identity and love are equally as sinful as the murder that was committed against my LGBT family, you are unsafe.
When you convince yourself that my right to love is a political agenda, you are unsafe.
When you refuse to acknowledge that your LGBT brothers, sisters, daughters and sons are brave for expressing their existence and love for one another, you are unsafe.
I am not safe to cry in your pews or in your arms. Instead, I cry behind locked doors and inside of my car.
Today, as I was driving, I turned on a Christian radio station looking for worship music – anything that would be comforting. Instead, I found myself listening to a pastor talk about why “the church needs to stand their ground on traditional marriage more firmly than ever in the wake of this event”.
To avoid anger and to protect my own heart, I changed the station to a “secular” radio station. The song playing was “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten.
Within a few moments, I was crying hard enough that I needed to pull over my car.
Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And, love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine ’til yours can open, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through.
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you.
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you.
This experience mirrored most of my encounters with Christians in the last year: looking to for safety and empathy, I have been met with opinions and condemnation.
I cried because I have longed to hear the words in this song spoken from you, my church family.
Instead, when I listened to this song, I realized that I HAVE received this type of love and support this past year – a kind of love that looks and feels a lot like Jesus.
I have received this kind of love through those who you exclude. I received this love through the LGBT community.
You, my family, have asked me not to speak. You have required my silence in order to remain in relationship with you.
You can have my silence for a short while longer, but you can not prevent my heart from beating. You cannot prevent my eyes from crying.
In losing my voice, I’ve found His voice. It is still and small, but it is powerful… and it speaks about the simplicity of Love.
Don’t miss out on this love.
In sorrow, peace, and hope,
your queer child and sister