Hi, so a little introduction; my name is LJ and I am queer. Now that term is pretty ambiguous, which suits me but makes people ask some rather probing questions…yes I guess you could call me bisexual but I don’t think there are only two genders so bisexual doesn’t fit. I identify as non binary genderqueer and use the pronouns they/them, so you see I can’t be gay or straight. I have always known I was queer, however I didn’t know there was a word for it, I didn’t know people could be trans or non binary, I didn’t know people could be bisexual. So I have spent a lot of my life feeling like a square peg in a round hole. When I first stepped into a church by my own choosing as a 19 year old I felt like I had found my place. This was a group of people filled with passion and ideals that seemed to fall alongside mine, passion to help one another, to share, to live in community and help those less fortunate. These people loved God in a way I could love him too. I threw on the cloak of Christianity and forgot my queerness as it didn’t belong in this life. Unfortunately the churches I had experience of as a new Christian were those that seemed liberal but held very negative feelings towards queer people. A woman having an affair with a married man was far better than a monogamous gay couple (before you ask, yes this did happen). So you see, I threw myself into this identity and revelled in the love and acceptance I found. I continued to have heterosexual relationships and live as a women, all the while feeling slightly uneasy. Finally aged 25 I came out to my mum in a tearful midnight conversation. I told her I am attracted to men and women and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Six months later I came out again, as non binary. Since I came to faith as a 19 year old I have wrestled with the questions of sex before marriage, same sex relationships and transgenderism. I have questioned friends, scholars, I have read books and articles and the Bible, I have prayed and prayed and prayed. In each instance I have found myself coming back to the same truths….God loves ME. God knitted me together in the womb, therefore He knew what He was getting with me…and each day He still chooses to love me. The question now is, do I let Him love me as I am? I have now found a church where I can comfortably be “me”. In fact the first conversation I had with the vicar was that I had struggled to settle anywhere as I am in a relationship with a woman, his response; “you’re welcome here”. Being a Christian doesn’t mean life is easy. It doesn’t wave a wand and make the difficulties disappear. In fact, sometimes I feel like this is the tough choice. Most recently I have found myself almost dreading introducing myself to new people in Church. I am known there by my deadname and she/her pronouns, and every time I hear my old name called my insides go cold. I don’t know how to begin the conversation about my gender, or how to explain non binary to a group of people who I assume (perhaps wrongly) have no experience of LGBT communities, language, gender ….However I remind myself regularly that whenever I do come out, however difficult that will be, God loves me. And, now more than ever, I am beginning to love me too.

 

 

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