LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights
God is present in the lives of Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) people. Yet, LGBTQIA people are also among the most marginalized in society.
The famous Gateway Arch formed a physical frame at General Conference 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.
It inspired multiple people to quote the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This was a way of saying: we will (eventually) reach justice.
To correct a common theological misreading of this quote and offer some encouragement, here’s a reminder: God is not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. God is in the arc. God is with us on the journey toward justice. God is in each and every beautiful color of the arc.
God is present in the lives of Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) people. LGBTQIA people are also among the most marginalized in society.
Around the world, LGBTQIA people face discrimination and are denied their human and civil rights. These are rights The United Methodist Church affirms for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. (Social Principles, ¶162 and ¶162.J) A person could be arrested for being LGBTQIA in many parts of the world. LGBTQIA people face higher rates of violence, including state-sanctioned violence. LGBTQIA youth attempt suicide at rates 5 times higher than those of heterosexual, cisgender youth and we know that 40 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide.
The church is not innocent in creating this climate. In fact, recent studies have revealed a link between religion and thoughts of suicide and self-harm for LGBTQIA youth.
We must do better.
What can we do?
- Listen openly to the stories and experiences of people whose lived experience is different from your own.
- Actively oppose heterosexism and homophobia. - Care for yourself, especially if you are LGBTQIA, and those around you.
- If you have not yet, begin thinking and praying on how you can repent of our church’s participation in cultivating a climate of harm.
- Create safe spaces for young people to talk about their Christian faith where they are supported as they navigate challenges they experience growing into adulthood (e.g., dating, bullying, peer pressure, drug use, etc.).
- Advocate for laws protecting the dignity and rights of people of all sexual orientations (like these efforts on the national and international levels).