Having seen the Stop-Homophobia Tweets which ask why Christians should still be using the Bible to 'throw their LGBT children out of the home'...
... it has made us think again really hard at what the Bible and our faith is saying about LGBT. I'm not wishing to break apart any of the 'Bible Clobber' verses here, I just want to focus upon just one verse. It's really topical as we approach Easter. In John Chapter 13 Jesus tells his followers (for once not on Twitter) that "He has a new commandment, that they should love one another". What is this love? Can you really say 'I love them' but not like that person? I love that it does not have stipulations for gender, race, sexual orientation, sin or anything... just love. Then a friend kindly sent me this cartoon which encapsulates today, the transgender day of visibility, and Easter. I hope you'll see the message regardless of your beliefs.
The weblink to this is here
With thanks to Karen, the Managing Editor of Your Local Lincs magazine, we're delighted to be included in this month's edition. We hope we can be of benefit and be that support to others.
This is really amazing, a boy explains that he is changing his name from Mia to Tom, leading from the suicide of Leelah Alcorn in the US last year. This is powerful especially as he asks people to ask questions but not talk as it's gossip - it's not. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/03/22/watch-13-year-old-boy-come-out-as-trans-with-amazing-speech/
We are very thankful to the staff at Sleaford Library who have gone out of their way to display books and literature to help people gain a greater understanding of LGBT issues. For many it is a subject in which opinion is well entrenched, developed from the media and historical upbringing. However since that time society has changed, evolved as it were, and we need to keep up with it. As science has brought us greater understanding we need to use that information to help us change our opinions of topics especially when they cause great trauma to individuals. Hence we were so pleased that the Library were happy to put on this extended display for us. They have included material from FFLAG and our business card!
When your child comes out to their parents it can bring a variety of responses: we'd all like that all affirming welcoming hug but often it's not the case. Dad's can 'go in' on themselves as they try to assess the information, how they try to rationalise all their aspirations over the past 13 or so year being changed in an instant. Dads can possibly feel 'to blame' for the whole issue as they have never really come to terms with LGBT or even considered it at all. They may also have their wife or partner to support who may have a different set of emotions. Hey I am not saying that they require utter sympathy: the child is going through far worse and is so brave to say it as it is. We have heard of father's who have turfed their child out or as here, vilified them on social media. Teen shares the horrifying messages his dad sent him when he came out
Why they'd do this I'm not sure. If they were religious they may have entrenched opinions, built upon firm stereotypes from their own parents. They now face detailed examination, probably for the very first time. Yes, they should be affirming but they're struggling to cope with this currently. Heck I was.
Parents often go into a denial phase - "it can't have happened" or "if I ignore it it'll go back to 'normal'." I have had it described to me as 'grief' - the loss of a child. I'm so grateful that a group were able to support me and allow me to understand what I needed to do... without telling me that I had failed. It's painful BUT out of loss comes new birth, a new chapter. When that parent comes out of the grief process eventually (it may not take a day or so...) they're searching for answers. They may try to reconnect with their child. Support them please. I love the expression their rainbow child. A new dawn, a new emergence of that father-child love but it is a process and one that will develop, ever deeper over weeks, months, years.
Please rather than criticise the parents over their reaction, support them as you'd support their child.
Let's bring families back together.
We are very thankful for the wonderful people at FFLAG for mentioning us in their latest e-newsletter - it is available here. They are so enthusiastic about all that they do. So are we! :-)
We've just received through the NHS Diversity and Equality representative this Stonewall Report entitled "Trans people and Stonewall". It starts with an apology because for many years Stonewall have not campaigned for those with gender orientation issues, focussing upon sexual orientation. After much discussion they now believe that this was a mistake and now wish to include Trans into their work.
Perhaps we all could consider apologising more often for our failings: it's how we move forward.
This report provides many good points especially those definitions which many of us get confused with. Furthermore it includes some great advice about pronouns. There is still much more progress to be made in this area but we congratulate Stonewall for taking this step. Here's their report.
Ash Haffner died last Thursday in a similar way to Leelah Alcorn. His Mum struggled to use the preferred pronoun.
He left a message
Please be WHO YOU ARE... Do it for yourself. Do it for your happiness. That's what matters in YOUR life. You don't need approval on who you are. Don't let people or society change who you are just because they're not satisfied with your image
What was interesting also were the comments which followed this sad announcement. Many had empathy with his Mum. They also knew how hard it was to come to terms with this change in their child. This struggle is nothing compared to the turmoil and anguish felt by Ash; however, it is society that needs to change. WE need to understand that this isn't a choice, this is their life. We need to come to terms with this and affirm them, accept them. It what parents do best, it's what society needs to do.
Just to report that we have had a really encouraging meeting with the Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS), part of the NHS, where their Diversity Officer was keen for us to be further integrated with other groups in the county. We want to be able to share our work but also hear the stories and the work of other groups, who may focus upon helping the individual rather than the parent. It is as important to hear of this work as it is to share their journey, to understand where they have come from and the difficulties they have and continue to face.
We look forward to supporting the Patient Support Group run by the LCHS in May and possibly attending Lincoln Pride in September. Currently we are working on a podcast for the Methodist Church. Exciting times lie ahead as we hope to walk alongside all who seek our support.
Our thoughts which capture some of the news and comments about LGBT issues