On Religion, Spirituality, and Being LGBTQ+

“So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” – Tim Cook

My dear queer children,

I chose today’s topic with some hesitancy because of how difficult this topic can be to talk about for some LGBTQ+ people. Religion is usually a source of pain and trauma for LGBTQ+ people because of the homophobic beliefs of major religions. LGBTQ+ people come from families who harass, abuse, and disown their queer children in the name of religion. They selectively use Bible verses and invoke the name of their god in order to justify their queerphobic actions. As a result, LGBTQ+ are more likely to reject religion and have atheist or agnostic beliefs about religion.

This post isn’t going to tell you what to believe. I won’t tell you what may be the best path for you when it comes to religion or spirituality. But by the end of this post, I hope you feel that you have many options to explore for religion/spirituality.

If you followed my blog series on dating, you may remember my emphasis on you being the most important consideration when it comes to dating and being in a relationship. This is the same for religion and spirituality. No matter which path you choose for religion or spirituality, your decision should be because that chosen life heals, strengthens, guides, supports, and fulfills you. This choice should be the one that makes you happiest.

Another important consideration is the fact that, if you choose to explore religions and being spiritual, your queerness and your religion and/or spirituality are not mutually exclusive. Both of them can coexist without being a detriment to the other. I struggled with this concept for the longest time when I was first figuring out my sexuality and spirituality.

During the summer after my freshman year of high school, I went on a religious conference and became a devout Catholic. I began having a strong relationship with my faith. However, afterwards I believed that my homosexuality was evil and that it prevented me from being the best Catholic I could be. As a result, I put myself through conversion therapy a year later to try and change who I am to be a better Catholic in the eyes of the Church. Now I realize that I can be both spiritually Christian and a queer person. I don’t have to have one or the other. In reality, both of them complement each other in ways that give me a lot of joy, comfort, and healing.

I want to emphasize that this isn’t the case with everyone. For some queer people, religion and/or being spiritual only brings pain. To those of you who experience this, your pain is valid, your experiences are valid, and you are valid. Please do not feel the need to engage in religion or try to be spiritual if it will only hurt you more. Also, know that there are so many other outlets and resources for you to explore the different facets of your sexuality and/or gender identity besides religion and spirituality. Remember how your identity intersects with your queerness, and use this as a starting point to find resources to help you in your journey.

For those of you who feel some sort of connection to religion or spirituality, know that regardless of what queerphobic religious and spiritual people may say, you are not damned, and you have every right to explore religion and spirituality as anyone else. To help you in your journey, I suggest checking out some of the following religions that are LGBTQ+ friendly: Metropolitan Community Church, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, Reformed Judaism, and Unitarianism. There are also local churches throughout the country that do not follow a specific religion, but are still a religious space that welcomes LGBTQ+ people. When you are exploring these religious traditions to find out which one may be best for you, remember that you have no obligations to any religious tradition and that you can come and go to those spaces as you please. This journey, as always, is about you and what is best for you. It will take some time and effort for this part of your exploration, but I promise that regardless of what the outcome is, you will learn more about yourself and be more comfortable with your identity.

And for all of my dear queer children in general, do not listen to what queerphobic religious and spiritual people have to say about you and your sexuality and/or gender identity. There is no truth to their claims. Despite what they may say about wanting to save your soul, they truly only care about tearing down your identity and making it conform to their own views. I won’t preach to the choir, because I know you know this. I just want to remind you that these people are wrong, and that you are valid.

That’s all for this blog post. As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.

Until next time,

Love, Your Gay Godparent,

Joe

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