It’s Pride month. The other day I was driving past a church and I saw a sign that says they’re “celebrating all of God’s LGBT children.” And it had a big rainbow cross and everything. <3 <3 <3 I realize of course that not everyone is lucky enough to be part of a group that accepts them, and even more people have heard one way or another that religion and queerness are incompatible.
So....I’m just posting this here for anyone who needs it. hoperemains.webs.com/
(This one’s not related to that particular church; I just happened to find it). It’s a website for Christian LGBT people and it analyzes the parts of the bible that are seemingly against homosexuality. According to this website, a lot of the passages that homophobes use as an excuse to discriminate are really just misinterpretations. There are examples of gay relationships and even gay marriage in the bible, so if you need this, have a look. Actually, everyone should probably have a look at this. More knowledge and different perspectives are always good.
And remember, the bible was written thousands of years ago in a different language. Imagine taking the “Canterbury Tales” and running it back and forth through Google Translate a bunch of times. You can’t take something loaded with what was then timely references, written in an older style of a language, loaded with poetry and other metaphors to help explain historical accounts, then play broken telephone with it for millennia, and still expect it to apply literally to the modern world. That bit about a man not being allowed to lie with another man as he would a woman? I’ve read a post by a Rabbi explaining that it just tells a man not to get into a woman’s bed unless she gives him permission. This website’s explanation isn’t too different from that. Somehow “don’t get into someone’s bed without their say so” turned into “don’t be gay.” This website is about repairing the broken telephone by which that happened. (Also, I’m pretty sure that the bit about pork being an abomination has something to do with what happens to pig flesh in a hot climate before refrigeration was invented. But I digress. Oh, and anyone I know who makes sure their diet is Kosher/Halal/etc is doing so because of their culture and their family, not because It Is Written. I don’t know anyone religious who just mindlessly follows it - they always do it for a legit current reason, usually for the same reason non-religious people celebrate Thanksgiving or go on family vacations. So, no, they’re not brainwashed.)
And I’d like to remind everyone that the basis of the Christian bible (at least the Old Testament part) was originally written in Hebrew and eventually translated to English. The gender of words works very differently between the two languages, so where it says certain pronouns, it might not literally be referring to specifically men or specifically women. In Hebrew, the gender might refer to the object or another part of the sentence. (The best comparison I can think of is the French word “chat,” meaning “cat.” It’s male. It’s always le chat
, never la chat
. Even if it’s a female cat. You would refer to a male cat as il
and a female cat as elle
, but they are both male words: le chat
). So, that part where crossdressing is an abomination may very well just mean “don’t steal other people’s clothes.” It’s not literally saying that a man shouldn’t wear a woman’s clothes and vice versa. Also, remember, this was at a time when everyone wore robes. The first pants appeared when people started riding horses. If you’re on a horse with one leg on each side, you probably want some fabric there. And yes, men were the ones riding horses, so pants were known as men’s clothes. You know what else was men’s clothing that was designed for horseback riding? High heeled shoes. So, you know, factor that one in.
Also, my argument for the Leviticus thing is this: If you believe in God, then you probably believe that God created us. He made us as he wanted us to be. So, if God made you gay or bi or trans, then he did that on purpose. It’s not an error or a challenge; it’s a design feature! Who says you’re not supposed to be LGBT? Leviticus? Well, if you’re going to go with the popular interpretation of that passage, then fine, Leviticus says you’re not supposed to be LGBT. But Leviticus was just a man (or a group of people? I’m fuzzy on that), and if you’re going to put the word of a man above the word of God, then that’s blasphemy. If God made you gay, then you’re gay, and that’s perfectly right.
As it happens, most of the people I know who actually are religious don’t use their religion to discriminate. First of all, they have so much love in their hearts that they are open to everyone. Secondly, they use their religion as a guide to be kind to people - it’s a means of being kind and open-minded, not an obstacle to it. Third, they are clear on how things work in the modern world and are not bigoted or science-illiterate, as the stereotype might suggest. Some of them see their religion as something that mixes with the modern world and some of them see it as purely metaphor and something they uphold only culturally (you know, as part of multiculturalism). So, no, you don’t have to choose between religion and sexuality. It is 100% possible to exist as a human with a sexuality and spiritual beliefs and cultural practices and so on. You’re not a one-note song. You’re a whole symphony.
You can be religious and still be accepting of those who are LGBT. You can be religious if you yourself are LGBT. There is nothing in the rules against that. Actually, I’m pretty sure that religion has a lot to say about being kind and supportive toward others. So, read up on that website if you’re interested, and remember to be kind to one another. Take care out there.