By Tres Adames, MDiv, BCPC
Whenever I teach about LGBTQ issues in faith communities, one comment I hear from time to time is: "We don't have anyone gay who goes to this church," or "I don't know anyone who is gay." 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 with so much contempt 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 disparagement. 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 homosexuality is wrong, I would hope that as a believer in Christ, you would choose words of kindness over speech that can be deeply hurtful to those who converse with you—you never know who you are taking to.
Mary Griffith is 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 writes:
“Before you echo 'Amen' in your home or place of worship, think and remember...a child is listening."—Mary Griffith