LGBTQ+ Community – Session Two
Session Two is primarily about Allyship, and how we can be better allies with the LGBTQ+ Community. To that end, we will be reading the book, The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ Advocate, by Jeannie Gainsburg, and will take the next several weeks to dive deeper into topics that will deepen and broaden our understanding of the complex issues surrounding the LGBTQ+ Community.
We have created a private Facebook group for ongoing conversation (just click “Join” to be added) as well as our scheduled Zoom conversations.
Please note that there is no expectation that people will have time to engage every resource every week. Turn to those that intrigue you most and take time to reflect. And if you have ideas and suggestions to add, please contact us.
Notice – Watch – Read – Listen – Pray – Journal – Discussion
Week One Resources – LGBTQ-History
Understanding the present moment requires an understanding of what has come before. In this session we look at key moments of both oppression and progress for the LGBTQ+ community, and how those events have been experienced by different cultural groups within the US. In particular, we’ll focus on landmark judicial rulings, popular protests like the Stonewall uprising and the emergence of major figures in the movement for social justice. We’ll also look at the painful reality of pathologizing the LBTQ+ experience and “interventions” such as conversion therapy (a “treatment” for which the church was, tragically, too often a major proponent).
Week Two Resources – LGBTQ-Youth
In this second discussion, we turn our attention specifically to the experience of LGBTQ+ youth as this is such a critical time in each person’s development of identity. While some teens are clearly aware of their gender identity or sexual orientation (which may or may not be acceptable in their family, church or social network), others can struggle mightily (and, too often, alone) to make sense of complex emotions. We owe it to our kids to be wise and compassionate guides as they come to a deeper awareness of self, and we owe it to them for the church to be a safe space of honest conversation, not the last place you’d ever want to talk about gender and sexuality!
Week Three Resources – LGBTQ-Gender Identity and Expression
As our understanding of both psychology and sociology has grown, so too has our awareness that the idea of “gender” is a social construct. There is nothing about one’s biology that demands a set of tastes or vocations or hobbies. Neither science nor God insists that those with XY chromosomes love cars and hate ballet, nor that XX prefer dresses, the color pink and baking. And who decided that baking is “feminine” and transmission repair “masculine,” anyway? And yet, such expectations are so deeply rooted in our culture that to violate them can feel, to some, like a threat to society (thus inspiring rejection and oppression). In this week’s reading and discussion we seek to reexamine the idea of gender identity (that one is either a “man” or a “woman”) and how that identity is (or is not) expressed by means of outward signs, symbols and roles (men wear suits, like gangster movies and lead companies, women wear skirts, drink tea and are nurses). It is quite likely that God appreciates diversity and individuality far more than societies do…
Week Four Resources – LGBTQ-Sexual Identity & Orientation
As we grow deeper together in our understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and even as we explore our own individual identities more fully, we turn our attention to the topic of sexual identity and orientation. While sexual identity and sexual behavior are closely related to sexual orientation, they are distinguished. Sexual identity refers to an individual’s conception of themselves and behavior deals with sexual acts performed by an individual, but sexual orientation refers to the way one is sexually attracted to other people. Sex and sexuality are divine gifts, granted to us by God for our pleasure and enjoyment. But we recognize that the Church has not done the best job offering comprehensive and inclusive education about sex and sexuality. On our quest to be greater allies for all of God’s children, this week we focus on expanding our language and understanding to help ourselves and others grow more fully into knowing the people God created us to be.
Week Five Resources – The Church
It is painful, yet essential, for faithful Christians to acknowledge the role the church has played in the exclusion and oppression of the LGBTQ+ community. Indeed, many of us are heirs of traditions and theologies that categorically rejected LGBTQ+ persons in the belief that scripture demanded the exclusion of some behaviors. But in many instances, the harm done to LGBTQ+ Christians went far beyond a sincere desire adhere to the Bible, and became outright hostility, even violence. And thus healing requires more than reexamining our theology. We must come to see the harm that was done in the name of Jesus if we are to truly repent and love our neighbors. This session is dedicated to that work.
Week Six – What’s Next?
Please finish reading, Savvy Ally.
This series has been one of profound learning, touching on many areas of great personal and relational importance for many of us. While these conversations will surely go on as Canvas strives to embody our commitment to LGBTQ+ affirmation and inclusion, we’ve set aside this final, formal session to reflect on all that we have studied and the growth it has inspired. It’s a time for sharing personal stories, new insights, senses of call to personal and congregational action or just to name new questions. Let’s talk together about how this series has affected each of us, and what Canvas might do – for our ministry, and in service of the larger body of Christ – to embody a theology that is truly inclusive, precisely because it is grounded in the gospel.