I’m a queer Christian – and the queer part is important.

10422047853_98e7672928_k

Photo: Purple Sherbet Photography, Flickr.

Once upon a time, I was told a story. The Story. 

The human world is divided into two opposing halves: the boys and the girls. Though the same species, they are fundamentally different. They think differently, love differently, interact differently, feel differently, dress differently, work differently, desire differently. 

Which half you’re in is decided as soon as a medical person looks at a particular bit of your body, and announces it to the room. This happens moments after you are born. From then on, everybody knows you will think one way, love one way, interact one way, feel one way, dress one way, work one way, desire one way. 

As you grow up, you will mostly stick with people in your half, the ones who are the same as you. Together you learn how to be your half.  When you are old enough, you will notice the people in the other half, and feel a new thing: attraction. And they will notice you and feel it too. 

At some point, after not too long (probably at second or third attempt), you will be attracted to a person from the other half who fits you perfectly. You will no longer be attracted to other people from the other half, and you will spend the rest of your life with this person, and you will produce new people who will start the cycle again. 

It wasn’t one person who told me this story. It was society. And you were probably told it too. For lots of people, The Story more or less comes true, perhaps with a few tweaks here and there. A few extra relationships before finding the real one. A bit of a blip after marriage where someone else seems attractive for a while. Otherwise though, The Story rings true.

But a while ago, I discovered an important word: queer. A loose translation might be, nope. There are as many different interpretations of the word queer as there are people who use it, but to me, that’s it: nope. That story doesn’t match my experience, my desire, my identity. 

I like to use it because that’s all it tells you.

It’s a word for anyone and everyone who doesn’t see themselves in that story. Maybe because they don’t neatly fit into one of those two halves. Maybe because the half they were told to be in was the wrong one. Maybe because they don’t experience attraction like other people do. Maybe because they’re attracted to people in same group, or both groups, or all groups. Maybe because they don’t want to pick one person out of many. Maybe because they’re just not sure.

Queer is an important way to say Nope. Society, your story doesn’t describe me. But it also leaves the freedom to not need to define why. No certainty required. When people come out as gay or asexual or transgender, or any other queer identity, they’re very often asked, ‘Are you sure?’. That seems to me to be entirely unnecessary and unfair. Why should you have to be sure, to say that you don’t recognise yourself in the story? That’s significant and important in itself.

But for too long now, the people who don’t see themselves in that story have been criminalised, accused, despised, discriminated against, abused, erased, and silenced. They’ve been declared ‘other’. They’ve been punished because of a story they didn’t write. And they’ve been questioned, stereotyped and pigeonholed in order to keep them as ‘other’.

That’s why queer is important. The more we free ourselves to say Nope, without forcing each other to define why, the more we’ll see it’s not so unusual. The more we’ll see that maybe that story isn’t really an all-pervasive norm at all. The more we’ll see that we all have slightly different stories, identities, and desires. And that’s okay. 

There are many straight, cisgender, monogamous people. And lots of people who act in that role because the story told them they had to. But there are also gay people, bisexual people, pansexual people, asexual people, trans people, polyamorous people, and people who don’t feel like they fit any of those categories.

We are queer people. We exist. And we’re important.


This is part one of two – read on for I’m a queer Christian – and the Christian part is important.

Advertisements

About Claire

@claireylegs Keen on Jesus. Keen on justice. Ministry assistant in the Great North East. Blogger. Find me in: coffee shop / church / pub / bed.
This entry was posted in Recent posts, Sex and sexuality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I’m a queer Christian – and the queer part is important.

  1. Anton Green says:

    Hi Claire, ….I always value your posts. I’m actually male, heterosexual, married, and in my sixties, and I attend a fairly conservative, mildly charismatic Baptist Church. in recent years I felt compelled to think about and consider this huge topic that has emerged far more in this era and where there is a gulf between conservative churches and the direction taken by secular society. My need to debate caused the leadership of my church and its partner church to set up a (closed) debate at which I was invited to present the new theology on same sex (and trans spectrum) relationships. Needless to say I did not ‘win” that debate…but the very fact it took place was for me a first step of significance. I think the best gain was the sharing of personal stories by attendees about own family members struggling with sexuality and acceptance, so maybe at least a greater degree of compassion, and some willingness to accept that the traditional church had contributed to the suffering of a marginalised group, would be claimable outcomes. however that is as far as it goes right now and I accept that time is need before people are even ready to take the debate further. whilst i myself have moved to a much more open and accepting position personally I also have to admit that if i were chatting to St Paul, based on what he said in the few verses referencing sexuality and conduct – i doubt he would turn out to be very liberal on the issue – even if some of his references were more about temple prostitution etc!!! Thats the sticking point for so many of my dearly loved conservative brothers and sisters. They have an essentially simple biblical basis for faith and if you practice revisionism of the traditional conservative view on any part of it you start to pull the carpet out from under the whole basis of their faith. Well having articulated where I’m looking in from I just want to wish you well in the coming debate. I admire your courageous thinking on all the issues you have raised. I pray The Lord’s Blessing on you as you continue to share your thinking and subjective experience and hope that it will bring you peace and make a good and positive contribution to this very important discussion.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Anton,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story – it’s really encouraging to hear of churches where those conversations are happening with compassion and openness, even if it still takes time to move forward. You’re right, these are issues that for conservative Christians get to the heart of how we treat Scripture and that’s unsettling to say the least. That was the journey that I had to go on to come to an affirming place. It helped that I was studying theology at the time, so was learning a lot about the Bible that encouraged me to consider how Christians have, and should, treat it. Prayers for you and your church as you carry on the journey.

      Claire x

  2. Anton Green says:

    Thanks Claire…so far there has been less comment on your current two items than I expected…unless my “see all comments” is not functioning…but I’ll just add briefly to what I was saying. I have come to see that I think rather differently about faith than many in my church…I’m compelled to rigorously evaluate and analyse everything and can’t support faith by just switching off my critical faculties. I therefore accept living with greater tension and that seems to me to be a part of the essence of things..a part of being real. Whereas many conservative Christians see biblical revelation as the immutable ordinances of an unchanging God, with the new covenant of grace being the only modification of the old testament status quo…the thing that I found appealing was the concept that man whilst retaining his basic nature (self centred drives etc) is yet on a journey developmentally and achieving the potential for enlightenment through increase in knowledge and so generates the potential for more civillised life in this world…as exemplified by the growth in psychological insights and that wonderful quality emotional intelligence. Therefore I like the idea that God allows and has built in a trajectory towards greater compassion…and that thought despite my generation helps me with many of the complex issues of today.

  3. womanupblog says:

    Bloody love this babe!

Have your say:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s