Five things Friday roundup: rights to Pride

— Steve Johnson on Unsplash

1. Right to exist

I am not naïve enough to think that every church in Mennonite Church USA is welcoming of queer people. It is my wish that we can hold together in difference. In addition, I know of churches who have turned their back on the acknowledgment of queer people in the congregation, in congregants’ families and in congregants themselves. In 2024 hate crimes are still committed against queer people every day. As Christians, we stand against hate. No matter where you are theologically, we can all acknowledge and be aware of queer folks around us who have the right to be who they are without being told words of hatred.

2. Right to privacy

So many nosy questions! People who may not know a lot of queer people may have all kinds of inquiries about being LGBTQ. Some are honest and sincere, and some are, frankly, none of your business. If you aren’t queer, think of what it might be like to hear those questions asked of you. Is it for your understanding, or is it to satiate your own curiosity? Remember, queer people don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why they’re queer, just as straight folks don’t owe anyone an explanation for being straight.

3. Right to health care

Trans people in particular, thanks to legislation, have difficulty in finding gender-affirming care. As a whole, LGBTQ people have the right to health care that understands queer circumstances and needs. I know of many people in the church who petition their state government to allow gender-affirming care in their state. Here in Indiana, resources are exceptionally limited. Everyone has the right to providers who understand them. If you’re looking for LGBTQ-affirming healthcare, this link can get you started.

4. Right to respect

All people are loved by God and deserve to be treated with respect. No matter where you are theologically, we all should be respectful towards one another. I often see an exceptional amount of disrespect toward queer people, specifically in the church. I’ve heard, “Why do ‘they’ have to be so loud about it?” While I don’t experience the queer Christian community to be “loud,” imagine what it would be like to have to hide who you are for fear of retaliation for existing or simply expecting to be respected. Could you live your life authentically? Imagine being set free from that burden. Might you have something (or a lot of things) to say about it?

5. Right to “Be the Church”

Queer Christians can befuddle the church, as well as befuddle other queer people outside of the church! There are many LGBTQ people who love God and the church and seek to be Jesus-followers, and there are many groups dedicated to queer Christians. There are churches that are intentional safe spaces for queer people. In a world where Christianity is losing people and families, and young people become more disillusioned by the day, queer Christians bring energy and excitement when doors are opened that have been previously closed. Maybe our open doors deserve to be celebrated for a month every year.

Joanne Gallardo

Joanne Gallardo is conference minister of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA in Goshen, Indiana. Originally from northwest Ohio, Joanne Read More

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