That Piece About How To Be Queer In Your Church

That Piece About How To Be Queer In Your Church

Written by Derrick Clifton, originally published in thoughtcatalog.com

It’s not easy being a religious queer person.

It’s even harder while part of a congregation that spews homophobia in pulpits and prevents LGBT people from attaining positions of leadership. Other churches go as far to deny sacraments like communion or other religious rites because of what they deem as “deviant” and “ungodly” lifestyles. And for those called to ministry, the roadblocks are plenty.

Though, in my own experience of reconciling my faith and sexuality, it took time for me to understand my own sense of spirituality. When I first came to terms with my identity as a gay man, there was hardly a night that I wasn’t anxious about how it may impact my faith beliefs and how I engaged church. So, in a quest to find answers, I rummaged dozens of websites and covertly found books in libraries to try and make sense of things.

Perhaps the most liberating aspect of that journey was that I found a new freedom — a freedom to explore my spirituality.

For the first time in my young life, I had to break free from being completely dependent on church sermons and ministers. And it wasn’t an easy process. In fact, it took years before I felt spiritually healthy and it’s still a work in progress.

I’m sure many others are embarking on a similar journey. And wherever you may be in that quest, here are some things to keep in mind while reconciling faith, queerness and participation in faith communities:

1. Have open conversations with friends and opinion leaders that you trust in the church.

If you’re not out in your congregation, or at least to a select few people, getting to this step may be a bit difficult. But if you can identify a few people you trust or who at least would be receptive to discussing issues of religion, sexuality and gender, go for it. You may even be able to build a stronger relationship or identify a supportive ally who could help affect change in your faith community of choice.

2. Reexamine your church affiliation.

Sometimes having an open conversation won’t be enough for people to truly understand your thoughts or concerns. It may take them more time to process their feelings, which can prolong any existing feelings of isolation and even tax your reserves of patience. If it seems that no one will listen, perhaps it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of your church membership.

3. Leave the congregation if the environment is too toxic.

For some, it’s easier to grin and bear or work against the current for positive change. For others, a more supportive and spiritually nurturing environment may be necessary. If you find yourself falling into the latter category, it may not be a bad idea to take time away or completely leave the congregation altogether. It’s an exercise in self-preservation that will allow some time for you to personally reflect and take a new path on your spiritual journey.

4. Remember to preserve the positive relationships fostered in your church community.

If you’ve chosen to part ways with a religious community, you may very well have friendships and other bonds worth preserving. In time, some people who needed space to examine their faith beliefs pertaining to sexuality and gender may come around. If you’re able and willing, continue remaining in touch with these folks. They may even be of help during this important time of transition.

5. Take as long as you need to reflect on your spiritual journey.

It may take weeks, months or even years of self-examination or therapy to reconcile your beliefs and heal from negative experiences. Feel empowered to continue on without adding any undue pressure to quickly recover or come to a conclusion.

6. If organized religion is too pressuring, find new ways to channel your spirituality.

Perhaps the pressure of belonging to a faith community is too much to bear. It’s not an experience everyone feels comfortable with, as you may wish to approach your spiritual life in a more private manner. You might even otherwise feel that adopting a more humanist, atheist or agnostic belief system is best.

7. If you still desire to be part of a church community, identify support groups and congregations welcoming to queer people.

Of course, this depends on whether or not these are within reasonable proximity, or if such groups even exist in your area. If so, consider attending some of these gatherings and get to know a new faith community. It may prove essential to your ability to fully heal from past hurts.

8. Share as much as you feel comfortable about your past experiences.

It’s okay. Being guarded isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite normal to withhold certain details as a healthy defense mechanism. However, when possible, let your guard down a bit and speak openly about where you are in your journey. You may discover that others are having similar struggles and even identify new sources of support.

9. Immerse yourself into a new faith community.

If the fit is right and you feel comfortable, go ahead and dive in. You may find that you’re now able to fully engage in parts of the community where previously you encountered challenges.

10. Continue periodically reflecting on how much you “fit” within the congregation.

No single community is perfect. Though you may encounter new challenges, feel encouraged that you’ve taken an active role in your spiritual health. Regularly evaluate where you are in your journey and how you feel about participating in a faith community. Honesty with yourself is the best policy.

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49 Comments

  1. McGray
    October 19, 05:14 Reply

    Sometimes when i see posts like this, i feel like shouting WE AINT AGAIN IN THOSE DAYS WHEN BEING GAY WAS SO SO DIFFICULT! Haba (red face)

    • Christopher B!
      October 19, 18:47 Reply

      Am with you on this one Mr King. In as much as we have a different sexuality In we shouldn’t make it a priority to such an extent it deviates our religious consciousness. Sometimes when i’m in that dark tunnel of depression owing to thoughts about why i’m different religion seems to be the only antidote to cure my state. Bottom line is… know when to draw the line.

      +My first ommentt here!Yay! Pinky like I told ypu via email. I have read every post on this blog and even publicized it in my own little way. Coming on Kito diary gives me a sense of belonging. From King (swooning), Dominic, Gad, llumva, kalleesi and her dragons, Dennis Macaulay (blushing), Maxonex, teamkizito and soooo many others. I love you all! Hugs from a brother!

      • pinkpanthertb
        October 19, 18:50 Reply

        Well, Christopher B, hope you’re here to stay. 🙂
        Welcome.
        And don’t mind us, we can get quite dysfunctional here o.

      • gad
        October 19, 19:30 Reply

        I feel you bros but permit me to add my younger brother Paul who I have been in personal touch with.

  2. king
    October 19, 05:41 Reply

    What Crap is he talking about in no 6…. leave the faith and be an atheist!??? common pipo what rubbish is this…leave my faith because of my sexuality???? in other words I should uphold that part of me MORE than THE GOD WHO LOVED AND STILL LOVES ME inspite of my being gay???? No thank you…..only love can heal and cure a soul and you find TRUE love IN GOD! Not outside of him believe me….

    • McGawky
      October 19, 06:03 Reply

      I love you king…

      No matter what my sexuality is, compromising my relationship with God is a no no. Walking away from God doesn’t help one bit.

      • pinkpanthertb
        October 19, 06:17 Reply

        Did you two read that number 6 properly? Or did you see the word atheism and puff up like the writer desecrated the presence of God with a swearword?

      • Dennis Macauley
        October 19, 06:40 Reply

        King is always high on his opium! What did you expect? They both clearly did not read between the lines!

    • Max
      October 19, 06:25 Reply

      “THE GOD WHO LOVED AND STILL LOVES ME inspite of my being gay????”
      Can you hear yourself??
      If you believe in creation(bible version) and also the belief that God doesn’t make mistake, you shouldn’t have written such..

      My friend God made you gay!!!!!!… Just the way he made some people straight…
      Humans disobeyed him shortly after he created them, so I’m not surprised some”humans” don’t like gay people… “Humans” also wrote and compiled the bible… Humans are flawed beings..
      Stop killing yaself… Some of your comments make me just wanna reprogramme your brain.
      The No 6 doesn’t mean you have to be an atheist.. I know exactly what he means by taking that kind of approach…
      Experiences shape us into the people we are.. What works for you might not work for someone else..
      The truth about atheists is, some of them believe in God.. But publicly identify as an atheist..

      Lemme tell you again—
      GOD MADE YOU GAY!!! A CHILDS SEXUALITY IS DETERMINED @ THE 3RD TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY!!!. SO U WERE ALREADY GAY BEFORE BEING BORN.

      NEVER LET THE WORD OF MEN MAKE YOU QUESTION THAT ONE BIT.

      UNLESS OF COURSE YOU THINK THIS IS JUST THE WORK OF A DEMON…

      DAMN YOU SURPRISE ME SOMETIMES..

      • pinkpanthertb
        October 19, 06:41 Reply

        I just don’t get with what he says sometimes. Oftentimes, in one remark, he’ll have several contrary opinions clashing and muddling his point. That is usually what is expected of one who doesn’t quite understand how to reconcile his sexuality n his faith, and doesn’t know it.

      • Williams
        October 19, 08:28 Reply

        Max please can you show me some references @ that 3rd trimester ish,I’d love to read.

  3. Dennis Macauley
    October 19, 06:43 Reply

    This issue has been over flogged! There is just no need! If religion and religiosity makes you feel better and helps you deal, by all means go for it.
    Me I have liberated myself from religion and religiosity. You can’t keep seeking validation that you don’t need in a place where you won’t find it. So no religion for me thankyou very much sir

    *turns on coffee machine, singing along to mika*

    • gad
      October 19, 09:46 Reply

      Uncle Dennis, since KD came into existence has there been a post suggesting that you quit ur present state of “liberation from religion”? Don’t you think it will be fair to also allow those of us who chose the “foolishness” of religion to practice it in peace untill we see reason to forsake our “folly”?. If u are fair minded you ought to add ur voice in suggesting that we be left alone in our choice.

      • Dennis Macauley
        October 19, 11:34 Reply

        Dear brother Gad, maybe you did not read my comment very well

        “If religion and religiosity makes you feel better, by all means go for it”

        I have never suggested that you leave the “foolishness” (your word) of religion. I was merely stating how liberating it is to inhale lungs full of fresh air. If you need opium to survive, my dear stay hooked on it!

        Kapishe?

        • gad
          October 19, 12:26 Reply

          I understand what you said.im sorry 4 failing to appreciate ur non-interference in our religiosity. All I’m begging you to do is help us in telling other non-religious to also accept and respect our religiosity

  4. king de catel
    October 19, 08:00 Reply

    I think it’s time to communicate this hard truth….I HAVE DISCOVERED BY SELF EXPERIENCE THAT A TRUELY CHRISTIAN GAY IS CLOSER TO GOD’S IMAGE AND PERSONANLTY. BEING GAY PUTS US IN THE POSITION TO BE MORE LIKE UNTO GOD. WHEN GOD CHOOSES TO CREATE A BEING THROUGH WHICH HE MANIFESTS THE TRUE NATURE OF HIS GLORY AND PERSONALITY IN ABSOLUTELY BEAUTY , HE CREATES A GAY MAN. THINK ABOUT THE PASSION, DEVOTION AND SUBMISSION IN A GAY MAN’S WORSHIP. THINK ABOUT OUR EMPATHY, LOVE AND COMPASSION. THINK ABOUT HOW PASSIONATE WE ARE ABOUT LIVING A LIFE OF CONTRIBUTION. THINK ABOUT HOW GIFTED, INSPIRED AND PHENOMENAL WE ARE. THINK ABOUT HOW OPEN MINDED, UNDERSTANDING AND ALL EMBRACING WE ARE.. THINK ABOUT SIMPLIITY! and so much more….MEETING A GAY IS GETTING IN TOUCH WHICH A FACULTY OF SPIRITUAL POWERS,ABILITIES AND POTENTIALS. we are our own problems because we have refused to identify who we really are, the powers we possess, what we stand for and what we truely represent in this world…we are a gift to the world . I AM CONVINCED THAT THE WORLD WOULD HAVE REMAINED MUNDANE AND STATIC WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF GAY PERSONALITIES. WE ARE THE COMMANDERS OF CHANGE AND BEAUTY. WE LOVE EXCELLENCE. WE POSSESS THE CREATIVE NATURE OF GOD AND WE CREATE NEW THINGS DUE TO OUR OPENNESS AND CURIOSITY. WE ARE THE MEANING OF THE EARTH, THE FLAVOURS OF THE WORLD AND THE MEDIA THROUGH WHICH GOD REVEALS THE BEAUTY OF HIS NATURE.. I AM SO PROUD BEING GAY BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT I STAND FOR. PEOPLE TESTIFY WHEN THEY DRINK OF THE WATERS I AM STUFFED WITH. I AM SURE U EXPERIENCE SAME. SO WE ARE NOT FIGHTING TO BE VALIDATED BY THE WORLD. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THIS. WE ARE THE FLAVOURS OF THE EARTH, THE SUBSTANCES OF MEANING AND TRUE LOVE….SHARING THE TRUE NATURE OF GOD’S LOVE TO PEOPLE…THIS IS MY PARADIGM AND I KNOW IT IS ACCURATE…GOD HAS MADE ME AN INSTITUTION OF LOVE…SO THE WORLD NEEDS ME AND I OCCUPY A STRATEGIC POSITION HERE AND SO IS EVERY GAY GUY. STAND ON YOUR FEET TODAY AND KNOW WHOM YOU ARE……I AM NOT QUEER…I AM PHENOMENAL AND UNIQUE!!!!! HAVE A SPLENDID SUNDAY .

    ASK YOURSELF THIS BIG QUESTION: WHAT IS THE SIGNIFINCE OF CREATING A GAY PERSON? WHY DID GOD CREATE YOU GAY..FIND OUT WHY!!!!

    • Aproko Pikin
      October 19, 08:31 Reply

      Ah, ori mi o!

      Gbo gbo writes up! *in funke akindele’s voice*

    • king
      October 19, 14:16 Reply

      Wow!!! Nice piece bro….i liked some and yet some others you said just didn’t make bible sense….its true we are gifted but my dear God DID NOT MAKE ME GAY biko he doesn’t say one thing and goes ahead to do another thing oooooo!!! my God isn’t double-faced but SINGLE MINDED and if he said he CREATED them MALE & FEMALE then he wouldn’t have done another creation in the male ok! Smh! Am amazed what pipo can truly believe coz if their sexuality…wow!!! listen gayism (yeah dat nasty word again!) isn’t God its just a side habit that shouldn’t dictate ones life biko..God is still God and no.iota of gayism oh.god that word again can replace him! #myquartercent!

      • pinkpanthertb
        October 19, 14:19 Reply

        Are you listening to yourself? That homosexuality is a SIDE HABIT?! Jeezuuz! You’re as bad as the homophobic population that condemn us.

      • pinkpanthertb
        October 19, 14:20 Reply

        You’re so consumed by your desperation to act right by religion, that you don’t even know that you are shooting yourself in the leg. If homosexuality is a court case, and LGBT community are the plaintiffs, you’d make a very horrible witness for the plaintiff, aswear!

        Homosexuality is a ‘side habit’… Shame on you, king. Really, Shame on you!

        • gad
          October 19, 17:02 Reply

          Though I have a different opinion from king,s, I see no reason to debase his person and call him names. The inability to accommodate opposing views on KD is quite shocking,disappointing and shameful

          • pinkpanthertb
            October 19, 18:38 Reply

            gad, please, don’t be so quick to think everyone is debasing someone else. I did not call him any names. I simply expressed strongly my disapproval. I’ve had it with this your schoolteacher attitude. Please, kindly find a stadium and take several seats. Haba.

            • gad
              October 19, 19:24 Reply

              Perhaps I will go to my lawyer frnd,s chambers tomorrow to ask if “shame on you” is an insult or a commendation. I have been called different names over time but I love “the school teacher ” most. Thanks. I will consult my family to see if I can adopt the Igbo translation of “the school teacher” as my title name in december.

              • pinkpanthertb
                October 20, 04:22 Reply

                Why do you have to wait for your lawyer friend when you have Google?

                • gad
                  October 20, 05:57 Reply

                  No way. I can’t ask google. You think I dont he is your friend? Besides a lawyer will advise me on how to sue you and press for reliefs

      • king
        October 19, 19:56 Reply

        Oh pinky dear of course it’s a habit and that’s just what it is…you know why??? simply coz i.believe God made me IN HIS IMAGE and I believe I am as perfect as HE is coz he said “as HE is so am I” paraphrase is mine….i also believe in HIS word and the infallibility of it and so I really can’t believe otherwise! Am sorry….if it rubs you somewhat off but that is WHAT I BELIEVE!!!

        • pinkpanthertb
          October 20, 04:11 Reply

          In other words, you think your sexuality is an imperfection? Since you are so perfectly made in God’s image, please stop endangering your chances of making heaven by screwing man pussy. Please leave iluvmua alone, going after him surely can’t be what God designed for you now, can it?

        • pinkpanthertb
          October 20, 04:21 Reply

          And really, calling your sexuality a side habit, is that what makes you sleep better at night? Is that how you assuage your conscience when it pricks you? ‘Oh God, you know this thing I’m doing is just something I do on the side, it’s not who I am, so please don’t be too hard on me…’ Is that what you tell yourself and your conscience and God when you’re screwing around?

          because the more I read the things you have to say, the more I believe it’s just a coping mechanism for you. Which is truly sad.

          • gad
            October 20, 05:19 Reply

            My advice to king and all who believes that being gay is sinful and against God,s ordinances is to quit the practice and go to God in repentance.

  5. Dominic
    October 19, 08:25 Reply

    Wow God made this wonderful, too-good-to-true, excellent humans called gays with some sort of agenda revealed to a gay man called King in 2014 but yet ‘inspired’ some books that preach hatred and non-acceptance of these wonderful gays. Tell me more about this God and his how he plan to create an utopian paradise with this gay people..

  6. gad
    October 19, 09:35 Reply

    This post failed to live up to its topic” HOW TO BE BE QUEER IN UR CHURCH”. The greater part of it in my opinion is aimed at removing Xtians from xtianity,away from God,s love and fellowship. If that’s not the aim,the writer would have suggested a church that is pro-gay. Being gay is natural and by no means foolish.why then should I do a foolish thing like becoming an atheist just because some of my brethren are yet to understand my sexuality?Atheism is self deceit cos atheists believe that God exists but in public they deny it.Its wicked to suggest that we try atheism in the face of non-acceptance by the church.Brothers let’s face the fact,how many of us has been marginalized or denied a place in church bcos he is gay? Do people go to church to flaunt their sexuality? Is there a time in church that papers are passed round for members to write down their sexuality? Why are we allowing the devil(our enemy) to waist our time on non-issues? The Bible said we should not forsake fellowship and someone is telling me to quit as a solution! No way! I rather quit gay relationship than quit fellowship with xtians/ God.By the way God made gays beautiful in His time and eyes. I’m sure Satan directly sponsored this post.

  7. #TeamKizito
    October 19, 12:25 Reply

    Different gay boys – men. Different views, beliefs, reasoning, etc.

  8. gad
    October 19, 12:53 Reply

    Now I know how mean you are! .I just spoke with my late English teacher and she said you should correct the “waist” in my comment to “waste”

  9. Khaleesi
    October 19, 19:39 Reply

    This King sha, I just cant deal … being gay as a side habit? Na wa ooo… this opium is so damm strong, you’re so messed up in the head!! Your level of internalized homophobia is at a dangerous extreme … you confirm my suspicion that there is a rock solid link between gay married Nigerian men and shocking levels of hypocrisy! !
    Well, if sucking on your opium pipes makes you happy, plz suck away!!

    • gad
      October 19, 19:49 Reply

      I came across a new word today on gaystar. BIPHOBIA. U may wish to add it to ur list of vocabulary. I’m sure one day,soon, a word that identifies disgust 4 married gay men will come in handy. Whispers…”are u sure u don’t want a taste of the opium pipe 4 a change

    • king
      October 19, 20:00 Reply

      And suck on I shall and forever will! Truly HE makes me safe at night!

      • gad
        October 19, 20:04 Reply

        Sure. His eyes are ever on the sparrows.

  10. king de catel
    October 19, 21:58 Reply

    @ king…you are simply confused…u have to differentiate between having sex and the inward personality we have as gays… being gay goes beyond the act of having sex with a guy, it is a SUM of inward characters and attributes that define your inward man…you are just a design of a supreme designer…..of course I know no one thought you how to be attracted to a same sex but someone must have thought you how to ” do it”. I don’t really like the labels….but the natural man classiifies things for the purpose of clarity and understanding…. you can choose to be celibate FOREVER but that doesn’t change your inward personality and design. Remember that fornication( heterosexual sex) is a sin and Is forbidden! ..when I use the term “gay” I’m referring to our inward personality and design….as made By the supreme designer…THE CREATOR!!! And my debate is that this DESIGN IS FABULOUS AND PHENOMENAL…!!!!

    OF COURSE SOMETHING YOU CAN’T EXPLAIN MADE YOU TO BE ATTRACTED TO A SAME SEX..HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT….PLS FIND OUT!…

    • pinkpanthertb
      October 20, 04:13 Reply

      I believe I like king de catel more than I’ll ever like king.

      • gad
        October 20, 05:49 Reply

        We are @ liberty to like who we choose to like but for our sake we must not hate. Pinky pls like him less but don’t hate him

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