I’m a Them.
We are all “them’s” in some arenas, but these days I’m pretty much always a Them. And it’s lonely.
Three years ago, when my son came out, I was hurled into the abyss of Them — those people with gay kids. THOSE moms who were so dominating that they turned their kids gay. Or who somehow missed and/or overlooked abuse. Who failed to teach her son the way of the Lord. THOSE people.
I was still a Christian, even more so than before, but I suddenly went from “us cool moms” to “those failed moms” in one fell swoop. An outsider.
And it just got worse. As I studied my bible more deeply and came to believe the passages on homosexuality were culturally based (think “braided hair and slavery”), the Them encompassed a different aspect of my life. Now I was a THEM who “ignored parts of her bible in order to justify her son’s lifestyle choice.” I had slipped from the pedestal of “true Christian” and landed smack dab onto prayer lists for “succumbing to Satan’s lies.”
While that required an extra spiritual gift heaping to look beyond the attitudes to the intent, God gave me what I needed, and I managed to roll my eyes and move on. After all, prayers are prayers, and I’ll take all I can get, any time. Plus, I had my fellow MamaBears — other moms of LGBTQ kids who were Christians and were facing the same skepticism and reactions from their own faith communities. Which gave me an Us. And Us MamaBears are fierce! It was strange to not have that Us be connected with my own brotherhood and church family, but at least it was an Us.
I’ll take the Us where I can get it.
I loved and still love my currently non-affirming church. They are good, kind, loving, seeking people. They haven’t been hurtful or mean. They fall more into the silent category. Most anyway. We have many who are privately supportive of us and agree with our affirming beliefs. Quietly. But for the most part, we get that look when the subject comes up. Oklahomans still fall under the Southern Way in many regards, and within the Southern Christian world, when you can’t say something nice about/to someone, you change the subject. The Facebook equivalent of unfollowing.
The vast majority of LGBTQ-affirming Christians leave non-affirming churches in search of peace and support and love. I get that. But God has directed our hearts to our church, at this point in our lives. And He is using my family there, though I don’t always see His direction and purpose. I feel it. With everything in me. So we stay. And that choice narrowed down our Us to an even smaller group, since many (most?) advocating LGBTQ allies take offense by people like me who stay and support non-affirming churches. They feel like we should take a stand by leaving. That we are taking the easy route by sticking with the status quo. I can assure you, that ain’t the case.
Us shrank, Them expanded.
And then there was Trump. I blame many things on our current sitting President, right or wrong, but one thing I can definitely lay at his golf shoes is the addition of another Them to my world.
A Republican. (Enter boo’s and hisses from 98% of the LGBTQ community)
For all of my life, I had self-labeled as a conservative Christian Republican. Turns out, God didn’t want me there. When He took me on this journey into the then-foreign-to-me LGBTQ world, He not only opened up my heart to those hurting people, but to ALL hurting people. Which suddenly made me not only a “bleeding heart” but embarrassed that I ever used the phrase “bleeding heart” in a negative way. Isn’t that a core tenent of Christianity? Compassion for others? For the poor? For foreigners (aka immigrants)? Widows? Orphans? Elderly? Sick? Jesus was the very embodiment of a bleeding heart.
My previous political stances on immigration and welfare and the like took a turn. I now find myself as a moderate. Frankly, I could be a moderate Republican or a moderate Democrat — I agree and disagree with both parties on various issues. But guess where that puts me, yet again? Yep.
That was brought straight to my heart just this morning. I was on social media, reading about the political struggle with OKC Pride. Seems a moderate group of Republicans in my county are affirming, and have organized to take a stand and request a position in the OKC Pride Parade … only to be turned down by the local Pride board of directors. I was reading post after post after post of LGBTQ people expressing anger and skepticism and fear over a group of Republicans who want to come to Pride.
Trump’s election polarized the political scene in ways I’ve not seen in my lifetime. And the social media forum allowed for people to say things they would never say face-to-face. You know, you were there. And to have Christians so publicly support a man who so obviously was anti-LGBTQ was cutting-deep hurtful to the entire community — even though I suspect many Right Wingers voted for Trump more as a lack of options than anything. Doesn’t matter.
Hence the extreme anger at the Republican party in general. Most days I know and understand this isn’t directed at me, but days like today, when the LGBTQ community that I very vocally fight for (and have lost friends and family over) attack all things Republican … well, it makes being a Them a very sad and lonely place to be.
To evangelical Christianity — I’m a Them
To liberal Christianity — I’m a Them
To the LGBTQ community — I’m a Them
To advocating LGBTQ allies — I’m a Them
To conservative Republican — I’m a Them
To liberal Democrats — I’m a Them
Wow. Serious Pity Party going on, right? And you would be right. I’m not trying to make myself out to be a martyr or anything, but this blog was created to chronicle my journey, and being monkey-in-the-middle is part of that journey.
My “Us?” My true tribe? My husband, my kids. My God. All a girl really needs.
But I wouldn’t mind finding a fellow progressive Christian mom of an LGBTQ kid who is a political moderate, social media addicted, and attends a non-affirming conservative church.