The Baby & The Bathwater

DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
edited November 15 in Epiphanies
As a member of the lgbtq+ community, it is easy for me to see the harms, both current and historical, that various institutions and faith traditions have inflicted on me and people like me.

The reality of the last hundred years is that in most countries, communities and faiths; I have been considered less than - to be corrected, controlled, or eliminated. (I recognise that this may be partly about the suppression of other attitudes and traditions during the age of empires.)

So, it can be difficult to discern the good things from those institutions and traditions. How do we discern what is useful, what to keep, which institutions are making real efforts to change and which are just engaging in a pr exercise ? Which spaces are imperfect but are worth staying in, which are not ?

I realise it’s a rather large sweep of a question, but I suppose I am wondering about what principles we might use to discern this. I am coming at this from an lgbtq+ perspective, but I assume all marginalised communities face similar dillemas.
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Comments

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    That reminds me of Fr John Hope, for many years the rector of Christ Church St Laurence (Sydney's most Catholic Anglican Church). Back in the 1950's, the Archbishop had paid an episcopal visit and was chatting to Fr John in the vestry. Humming and hawing with embarrassment, the Abp said "Well John, there seem to be a lot of men in the congregation who are well, you know, well rather" and could not get himself to say anything more. Fr John's reply was "Yes, Archbishop, and isn't it good that we can provide a place that they can come and worship our Lord and be fully accepted". That's a lesson we should all learn from and follow.
  • I tend to follow my feelings. I stuck it out as a Catholic for decades, then a talk given against abortion, made me feel sick, and it was curtains. I don't really follow principles, or I suppose I would have gone yonks ago.
  • Apply the golden rule to how its people are today:

    Are you loved, and allowed to love, whoever you are?

    Are you treated as an equal, and allowed to treat others as equals, whoever you are?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    What does one do about the answer - sometimes, perhaps.
  • So, it can be difficult to discern the good things from those institutions and traditions. How do we discern what is useful, what to keep, which institutions are making real efforts to change and which are just engaging in a pr exercise ? Which spaces are imperfect but are worth staying in, which are not ?

    I suppose one question would be to look and see whether members of your marginalized community are actually treated as full members, rather than being put in a special corner.

    Our place has, and has had, members of gay couples singing in the choir, serving on the vestry, teaching Sunday School and so on, not because they are gay, but because they are prayerful Christian people with skills and a willingness to volunteer their time. I'd say that was a good sign.

    On the other hand, we've started an exercise having people talk about what they think our church is like (part of the whole new priest search business), and I heard one (straight) guy the other day talk about how proud he was that our church had gay folks doing this and that. And that made me feel a little uneasy, because if you have to talk about how proud you are of doing the obviously correct thing, it suggests to me that you aren't entirely comfortable with it. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I thought I caught a faint whiff of tokenism in his statement.


  • I love this song by Sweet Honey in the Rock. Its a mashing together of a poem by Sonia Sanchez and the traditional Spiritual, I'm going to stay on the Battlefield.

    I don't have an answer.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited November 16
    Looking at the history of my congregation, I would say we have long been open and affirming even though we did not formally declare this until about ten years ago. Several of the kids who grew up in the congregation came out as gay or lesbian and felt very much accepted by the congregation. We had a lesbian who became the president of the church council. When a swimming coach who was gay suddenly died, our congregation opened its doors to the lbgtq community for his funeral. When we finally formally declared our open and affirming status, we took a good look at what it meant to be welcoming to all peoples, and it has been a blessing. We participate in Pride parades. We have welcomed people from Africa, South America and China as well as other ethnic groups.

    One Epiphany Sunday we had a young man who came to worship with us. Since we had a chili feed right after church, we invited him to stay for lunch. We had several games--one of them appointing the wise men for the next year and he was one of the ones selected. He really enjoyed himself.

    Later I invited him out to dinner and he told me his story. He had grown up as a Mormon, even went on a missionary trip to Germany. When he came back he went to a Mormon University. There he met his male partner. They kept it hidden for several weeks, but someone eventually caught them holding hands. Both were expelled from the University. He was excommunicated from the Mormon Church. But the weekend he came to worship with us he felt he wanted to give the church one last try. He went online and found we were open and affirming. BTW my congregation is Lutheran.

    Unfortunately, his company reassigned him after six months with us, but I tried to make sure he had another congregation like us that was open and affirming. I have since lost contact with him, but I think he found what he had been looking for.

    BTW, I think you will find Nadia Bolz Weber to be just the person you would like. The link to her Website is https://nadiabolzweber.com/
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    In my experience the treatment of working-class and/or non-white LGB people in churches is *very* different to that of white middle-class gay people and lesbians, even in churches that consider themselves accepting and affirming. I think as well that trans people are viewed quite differently in churches nowadays due to the views on trans issues in wider society, which have got noticeably worse since the late 90s (largely credited to gay marriage no longer being a target for conservatives). I think trans issues are now seen as more separate rather than as a subset of gay issues, which...is true I guess, but has largely had negative consequences in churches. Gender segregated activities in churches causes huge problems for trans and especially nonbinary people.

    I also specify gay people and lesbians above as in my experience bisexuality is hugely invisible in churches. Even amongst LGBTQ+ church activists, bisexual clergy and especially male bisexual clergy tend to be absent from discussions and little attention is given to specifically biphobic teaching (eg the passage on bisexuality in Issues, though I believe Synod has now voted to remove that). I think bisexuality is incredibly threatening to conservative views on sexuality because it's a way for people of 'deviant' sexuality to 'have it all' - they can follow the rules wrt marriage and relationships without having to change themselves or become more straight, and thus potentially can have a presence in conservative circles that partnered gay people cannot. I think nonbinary and gnc (gender nonconforming) people whether cis or not, are threatening for similar reasons.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    edited November 20
    I remember not long after I became a Quaker member, nearly 20 years ago now, a trans person coming into membership (I can’t remember why we knew in the meeting for worship for business that they were trans, I think it might have been because the meeting came to know them as they were going through transition). The clerk of the meeting kept getting their pronouns wrong and then correcting herself, and it was all incredibly clunky - but I felt that despite the clumsiness they were at least trying to be inclusive. Which made me more hopeful about the place as a community, it might have been imperfect but seemed to be trying to move in (what I consider) the right direction.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I know relatively recently, Friends House in Euston hosted Fair Play For Women or another prominent TERF group (I think it was around the time one of the big TERF groups had been hosted in Parliament), and were very 'both sides' to the trans people and allies who questioned this decision. I know many trans Christians and others who really lost a lot of respect for UK Quakers as a result. I understand why Quaker theology would lead them to take that stance, but I think a 'both sides' stance is actually more dangerous in some ways than open hostility.
  • TERF?
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    TERF?

    Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.
  • cheers
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    On the other hand, we've started an exercise having people talk about what they think our church is like (part of the whole new priest search business), and I heard one (straight) guy the other day talk about how proud he was that our church had gay folks doing this and that. And that made me feel a little uneasy, because if you have to talk about how proud you are of doing the obviously correct thing, it suggests to me that you aren't entirely comfortable with it. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I thought I caught a faint whiff of tokenism in his statement.

    "Tokenism" sort of implies that someone doesn't really like gays, but tries to cover up their bigotry by allowing a limited number in visible positions.

    Which I wouldn't neccessarily assume is what's going on with the guy at your church. It's possible that he genuinely has no problem with gay people, but is just overly given to self-praise(in this case, by proxy, via praising the church of which he is a member).

    And FWIW, I I think it's okay to praise a group you belong to, if they're actually doing something that's above and beyond. But you shouldn't be particularly proud of treating people as equals, since that SHOULD be just basic.

    And I would THINK that lgbqt people might find it a little demeaning to be used as props in someone else self-aggrandizement narrative. That said, as a foreigner in East Asia, I am somewhat accustomed to being treated as special, in an ostensibly positive way, basically just a result of my sheer foreignness. Doesn't particularly bother me, but I can't speak for everyone.

  • stetson wrote: »
    And FWIW, I I think it's okay to praise a group you belong to, if they're actually doing something that's above and beyond. But you shouldn't be particularly proud of treating people as equals, since that SHOULD be just basic.

    SHOULD be, perhaps, but we all know that in the context of how gay people are often treated in churches it isn't. And I think we should be celebrating and, yes, proud of those churches that do it right.
  • If you are a true believer then surely the rule is simple: We are all as God made us. To try to keep out anyone, for any reason, is to say that God made them wrong.
  • Pomona wrote: »
    I also specify gay people and lesbians above as in my experience bisexuality is hugely invisible in churches. Even amongst LGBTQ+ church activists, bisexual clergy and especially male bisexual clergy tend to be absent from discussions

    Why should sexuality be visible at all? At my church, I know we've got some same-sex couples, and I know we've got some opposite-sex couples, because they come as couples. It's useful for me to know that G and B are a couple, or A and K. Why do I need to know who G is sexually attracted to? Unless G is single and I'm interested in dating G, it's not really relevant to me.

    I don't know if we have anyone who is bi. Unless they were a close friend who talked to me about their sexuality (I'm not on those kinds of terms with anyone currently at my church), I'd only guess that they might be bi if I have known them to date both men and women. I can only offhand think of a couple of people at church who I have known to date more than one person. Partly, this is the demographic (we're a family suburb. The bright young things who are active on the dating scene mostly don't live here), and partly it's because showing up at church with a romantic interest is practically a declaration of marriage.
  • stetson wrote: »
    And FWIW, I I think it's okay to praise a group you belong to, if they're actually doing something that's above and beyond. But you shouldn't be particularly proud of treating people as equals, since that SHOULD be just basic.

    SHOULD be, perhaps, but we all know that in the context of how gay people are often treated in churches it isn't. And I think we should be celebrating and, yes, proud of those churches that do it right.

    You could also have a bit of both - praise those getting it right at the moment, but work towards a future where it is regarded as basic human decency and thus won't be necessary.
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    Pomona wrote: »
    I also specify gay people and lesbians above as in my experience bisexuality is hugely invisible in churches. Even amongst LGBTQ+ church activists, bisexual clergy and especially male bisexual clergy tend to be absent from discussions

    Why should sexuality be visible at all?
    If G is single and gay, can he bring his boyfriend to church without worrying about what reaction he and his boyfriend will get? If J transitions, can she tell you all without being constantly sneered at and deadnamed? If confirmation class asks S what they worry about in church, can S share that they're worried about being a queer Christian? If N mentions her wife, is that going to be a problem with people?

    If you are straight and cis, sexuality may not seem to come up very often in your life, but when you can't say "Yeah, if I do that, I'll have to answer to my wife!" without worrying about what onlookers will say, you begin to notice how often people mention sexuality. I challenge any straight cis person who feels that sexuality is generally irrelevant to try to go a week without showing anyone that you are straight and cis. Say nothing and do nothing straight or cis.
  • Gwai wrote: »
    I challenge any straight cis person who feels that sexuality is generally irrelevant to try to go a week without showing anyone that you are straight and cis. Say nothing and do nothing straight or cis.

    It would have to be a single person, right? Members of couples reveal at least part of their sexuality by revealing the identity of their other half.

    If G is single and gay, he doesn't have a boyfriend. At least, not in my definition of the word "single". But nitpicking aside, it's a fair question. Can G, who previously attended church alone, show up one week with a boyfriend in tow and be comfortable about his reception. Or can G mention his boyfriend or husband in conversation without getting pearl-clutching horror in response?

    The best indicator he has for his likely reception is to look at how other male couples are treated. It doesn't matter whether he's gay or bi.
    Gwai wrote: »
    when you can't say "Yeah, if I do that, I'll have to answer to my wife!" without worrying about what onlookers will say, you begin to notice how often people mention sexuality.

    My comment was in response to @Pomona talking about bi people being invisible in church. And they're invisible because they're in a monogamous relationship with one person, and so they "look" either straight or gay depending on the sex of that person. If two guys at church are in a relationship, why do I care whether one of them is gay or bi? Why should I care? It's not really any of my business.

    The whole point of the bi discussion is that there is a difference between your sexuality and the gender of the person you're in a relationship with. And it's the latter that's generally visible to people. Because a bi man who is married to a woman can say "I'll have to answer to my wife!" as often as he likes without "worrying about the onlookers".
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    @Leorning Cniht You are right that I somewhat tangented from Pomona's comment. But in your response to Pomona, you asked him why sexuality should ever be visible. I'm saying that it's always visible. And no, my challenge would apply to all people not just single ones. Non-single queer people have to hide their partners often hide their sexuality to be safe in church, can't just casually lean on each other in the pew or whatever.

    Re G who was single and gay, I meant he wanted a church where he could bring a future boyfriend. I wanted to suggest that sexuality can be a feeling of danger in church even to single queer people.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    I am single, but my church choosing to endorse equal marriage made a big difference to how welcome I feel in church - it was a development I never expected to see in my life time.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    That said, I would be really interested in hearing from other people with marginalised identities how you go about discerning which of an array of imperfect institutions to stay involved with and which to ditch.

    I am not going to find any church or public body with a perfect history or a perfect present - so how do we choose ?
  • Gwai wrote: »
    But in your response to Pomona, you asked him why sexuality should ever be visible. I'm saying that it's always visible.

    But it isn't, which is my point. The thing that is visible is the gender of the person you're in a relationship with, if you come with them, or talk about them, or whatever. That's not the same as sexuality.

    How does a bi person in a monogamous relationship look different from either a straight or gay person (whichever is relevant) in the same relationship? Unless the person tells you that they are bi, they look the same. G and B are a couple. OK. Is it relevant which other people G might feel attraction towards?

    I think we might be talking at cross purposes here. I'm distinguishing between your sexuality and the gender of the person you're in a relationship with (or perhaps are lusting after but not in a relationship with). I think you think I'm asking for don't ask, don't tell, which is not at all what I'm doing.
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    Because if someone is bi and place X tells them "marriage is between a man and a woman," they know X doesn't want their kind around even if X doesn't know that. A bi woman who marries a man has passing privilege, and she won't get harassed, but she still knows that place X only accepts her because it happened to work out between her and Rick the way it didn't work out with her and Sally.
  • I agree with everything you just said - I just don't see how it's a response to anything I said. You're telling me that a bi woman married to a man is more likely to feel unwelcome in the face of bigoted comments than a straight woman married to a man.

    Sure. I'd agree with that. And I'd also agree that she might not want to out herself as bi and explain why she feels unwelcome.

    But that's not my point. Suppose you move house, and walk in to a new church. You want to know whether this could be your new church home. You see some couples, and some singletons. Some of them have kids. Maybe some of the couples appear to be the same gender, or maybe they don't. You don't hear anyone talking about "biblical marriage" or some other codeword for "we don't like gay people".

    How many bi people are there in the congregation?

    You don't know. Do you want to know? Assuming that the church affirms equal marriage, and affirms gay parishioners and gay couples as equally-valued members of the church, does it matter which people in the congregation are bi?
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    Honestly, that seems a bit of a topic change to me.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    Yes, I was more aiming for this.
    That said, I would be really interested in hearing from other people with marginalised identities how you go about discerning which of an array of imperfect institutions to stay involved with and which to ditch.

    I am not going to find any church or public body with a perfect history or a perfect present - so how do we choose ?

  • What does one do about the answer - sometimes, perhaps.

    I think sometimes, that is the answer. Sometimes it's ok to be inconsistent and to go with what "feels" right as long as you're not violating the harm principle or engaging in behavior that will very plainly lead to ruin.

    Bonhoeffer's Ethics, I think, starts with the argument that the practice of basing all of your decisions on "principle" is mistaken because, in the end, all of these principles are just human constructions. It's a form of idolatry to strive for consistency to a rule, the rule must be weighted in the context of the individual and the community.

    So sometimes, I think, it's perfectly sane to hang in the grey zone of "sometimes, perhaps" and to work from an ad hoc or case-by-case basis. We're only humans, fallible.
  • Bullfrog wrote: »
    What does one do about the answer - sometimes, perhaps.

    I think sometimes, that is the answer. Sometimes it's ok to be inconsistent and to go with what "feels" right as long as you're not violating the harm principle or engaging in behavior that will very plainly lead to ruin.

    Bonhoeffer's Ethics, I think, starts with the argument that the practice of basing all of your decisions on "principle" is mistaken because, in the end, all of these principles are just human constructions. It's a form of idolatry to strive for consistency to a rule, the rule must be weighted in the context of the individual and the community.

    So sometimes, I think, it's perfectly sane to hang in the grey zone of "sometimes, perhaps" and to work from an ad hoc or case-by-case basis. We're only humans, fallible.

    Rules are there so you think before breaking them.
  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    Why should sexuality be visible at all?

    Sexual orientation is not sexuality. Neither is gender identity. But both are part of our identities, even if one does not stray from heterosexual or cisgendered. Speaking as a bi woman, it's definitely a core part of who I am and how I relate to other people, whether or not I've got a man and a woman and a non-binary friend hanging on my arms.

    I'm a recent convert to the idea that it should be discussed at church. But my church has started opening up the conversation, and you can feel the LGBTQ+ people in the congregation and the wider community relaxing when we realize we're being acknowledged and loved. It's pretty powerful.

    And MOST importantly, it teaches LGBTQ+ youth that they are perfectly made. Ultimately we are saving lives by having this conversation. So yeah, sexual orientation and gender identity should be visible, discussed, and CELEBRATED as part of God's creation.
  • BullfrogBullfrog Shipmate
    edited November 24
    I mean...is a marriage a visible sign of sex? Should we be holding marriage celebrations in church when they are clearly a visible sign of a sexual relationship?

    I'm not sure how sarcastic this post is.
  • Bullfrog wrote: »
    What does one do about the answer - sometimes, perhaps.

    I think sometimes, that is the answer. Sometimes it's ok to be inconsistent and to go with what "feels" right as long as you're not violating the harm principle or engaging in behavior that will very plainly lead to ruin.

    Bonhoeffer's Ethics, I think, starts with the argument that the practice of basing all of your decisions on "principle" is mistaken because, in the end, all of these principles are just human constructions. It's a form of idolatry to strive for consistency to a rule, the rule must be weighted in the context of the individual and the community.

    So sometimes, I think, it's perfectly sane to hang in the grey zone of "sometimes, perhaps" and to work from an ad hoc or case-by-case basis. We're only humans, fallible.

    Terrific post. I don't understand the idea of working from principle in any case. Too intellectual for me, really.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited November 24
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    I mean...is a marriage a visible sign of sex? Should we be holding marriage celebrations in church when they are clearly a visible sign of a sexual relationship?

    I'm not sure how sarcastic this post is.

    I learned in high-school law class, 1980s, that in Canada(and I would assume the UK and at least some American states as well) a marriage wasn't legally considered to have existed until it was consummated. This would have serious implications for divorce cases and whatnot.

    I think this criterion has been changed in most places since then, but in any case, yes, for a long time anyway, sex was very much part of the legal definition of marriage. No sex = no marriage.

    (This incidentally, is why I think Bill Clinton might not have been technically lying when he said he didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or at least might have convinced himself that he wasn't: by the strict legal definition, they didn't have sex.)
  • stetson wrote: »
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    I mean...is a marriage a visible sign of sex? Should we be holding marriage celebrations in church when they are clearly a visible sign of a sexual relationship?

    I'm not sure how sarcastic this post is.

    I learned in high-school law class, 1980s, that in Canada(and I would assume the UK and at least some American states as well) a marriage wasn't legally considered to have existed until it was consummated. This would have serious implications for divorce cases and whatnot.

    I think this criterion has been changed in most places since then, but in any case, yes, for a long time anyway, sex was very much part of the legal definition of marriage. No sex = no marriage.

    (This incidentally, is why I think Bill Clinton might not have been technically lying when he said he didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or at least might have convinced himself that he wasn't: by the strict legal definition, they didn't have sex.)

    If memory serves non-consummation makes a marriage voidable in the UK (i.e. it's grounds to seek an annulment) but not automatically void (like bigamy or incest would).
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    I mean...is a marriage a visible sign of sex? Should we be holding marriage celebrations in church when they are clearly a visible sign of a sexual relationship?

    I'm not sure how sarcastic this post is.

    I learned in high-school law class, 1980s, that in Canada(and I would assume the UK and at least some American states as well) a marriage wasn't legally considered to have existed until it was consummated. This would have serious implications for divorce cases and whatnot.

    I think this criterion has been changed in most places since then, but in any case, yes, for a long time anyway, sex was very much part of the legal definition of marriage. No sex = no marriage.

    (This incidentally, is why I think Bill Clinton might not have been technically lying when he said he didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or at least might have convinced himself that he wasn't: by the strict legal definition, they didn't have sex.)

    If memory serves non-consummation makes a marriage voidable in the UK (i.e. it's grounds to seek an annulment) but not automatically void (like bigamy or incest would).

    But doesn't an annulment, by definition, state that the marriage never existed in the first place?
  • stetson wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    I mean...is a marriage a visible sign of sex? Should we be holding marriage celebrations in church when they are clearly a visible sign of a sexual relationship?

    I'm not sure how sarcastic this post is.

    I learned in high-school law class, 1980s, that in Canada(and I would assume the UK and at least some American states as well) a marriage wasn't legally considered to have existed until it was consummated. This would have serious implications for divorce cases and whatnot.

    I think this criterion has been changed in most places since then, but in any case, yes, for a long time anyway, sex was very much part of the legal definition of marriage. No sex = no marriage.

    (This incidentally, is why I think Bill Clinton might not have been technically lying when he said he didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or at least might have convinced himself that he wasn't: by the strict legal definition, they didn't have sex.)

    If memory serves non-consummation makes a marriage voidable in the UK (i.e. it's grounds to seek an annulment) but not automatically void (like bigamy or incest would).

    But doesn't an annulment, by definition, state that the marriage never existed in the first place?

    Yes, but it exists up until the annulment and is then erased from the timeline, as opposed to always not having ever existed, as in the latter case. [/temporal mechanic]
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    If the marriage didn't exist at all if it wasn't consummated wedding services would be more interesting and rather awkward.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    If memory serves non-consummation makes a marriage voidable in the UK (i.e. it's grounds to seek an annulment) but not automatically void (like bigamy or incest would).
    That's certainly so in England and Wales, and probably Northern Ireland. I can't speak for Scotland. There's another difference. If a marriage is void, anyone who has any interest in it can challenge it, even after the parties are dead. After all, the essence of a void marriage is that it never happened, not that it was incomplete. If it's voidable only one of the parties can challenge it, and unless and until they do, it's valid.

    As annulling marriages doesn't happen very often, the possible effects of this distinction arises even more rarely. The most plausible application would be the possible implications for inheritance claims by other members of the family.

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    *looks at her op, looks at the thread*

    Am I typing in a different language or what ?
    So, it can be difficult to discern the good things from those institutions and traditions. How do we discern what is useful, what to keep, which institutions are making real efforts to change and which are just engaging in a pr exercise ? Which spaces are imperfect but are worth staying in, which are not ?

    By “we” I mean we who are directly impacted.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited November 24
    Hosting
    Hi,
    Could folk take the tangent on marriage consummation somewhere else, please? It needs to stop here immediately.

    Also could people who are not members of the lgbtq+ or other marginalised communities please rethink how they are engaging on this thread? The OP is specifically asking for the perspectives of those from lgbtq+ and marginalised communities and I'm not seeing as much of that as I'd like.

    Thanks!

    Louise
    Epiphanies Host

    Hosting off
  • amybo wrote: »
    I'm a recent convert to the idea that it should be discussed at church. But my church has started opening up the conversation, and you can feel the LGBTQ+ people in the congregation and the wider community relaxing when we realize we're being acknowledged and loved. It's pretty powerful.

    That sounds like a good result. Can you say more about what "opening up the conversation" means for your church in practice?

    Our church has some gay couples. They are valued brothers and sisters in Christ, some of them have served in various leadership capacities. As far as I can tell, they're about as likely to offer each other small signs of affection at church as similar straight couples. As a church, we don't talk about sexual orientation, or sexuality, much. Possibly that's a reflection of the typical age of our members: we've mostly got families with kids, and we've got older folks. We're not the kind of suburb that younger singles and couples choose to live in. Our church had a big bust-up about gay rights and equal marriage about 15 years ago, and the outspoken anti-gay members left. I don't know if we have any parishioners who remain opposed to marriage equality, or to LGBT priests, but if we do, they keep quiet about it.

    Based on your experiences, what would you think we should do?

    Actually, I have a different question. You said that your bi-ness was a core part of how you interact with other people. That's something I have difficulty understanding, and maybe that's at the core of Gwai and I seemingly talking past each other.

    I'm straight. My straightness is a core part of how I interact with my wife. I think it has almost no bearing on the way I interact with my friends, or with people at church, or work colleagues. Sure - I might mention my wife or kids in conversation, which is something that a person in a same-sex marriage might feel at risk doing if they didn't know the company they were in, but I don't think those casual mentions of a spouse are the "core part of interactions" that you're talking about. If I'm talking to someone about my work, or my hobbies, or whatever else I talk about, I don't think my sexual orientation has any effect on it - and I don't think this is just a "straight default" thing.

    A friend from church has just had a hip replaced. When I saw her at the weekend, we had quite a long conversation about how her recovery was going, how she was feeling, and some details about her operation. I can't think of any way that that conversation would have been different had I not been straight, and I think that's typical of the conversations I have.


  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    People can generally tell you are straight, from many fairly subtle cues https://kinseyinstitute.org/news-events/news/2017-12-18-gaydar.php. You may not think you are communicating this fact about yourself, but you are. And whilst, gender role and orientation are not the same thing, to a certain extent it maps on partly to how conventionally you perform your gender role.

    From your posts I’d guess you tend to wear trousers or shorts, you don’t wear makeup and you probably don’t wear ear rings.
  • snowflakesnowflake Shipmate
    edited November 25
    amybo wrote: »
    I'm a recent convert to the idea that it should be discussed at church. But my church has started opening up the conversation, and you can feel the LGBTQ+ people in the congregation and the wider community relaxing when we realize we're being acknowledged and loved. It's pretty powerful.

    I'm straight. My straightness is a core part of how I interact with my wife. I think it has almost no bearing on the way I interact with my friends, or with people at church, or work colleagues. Sure - I might mention my wife or kids in conversation, which is something that a person in a same-sex marriage might feel at risk doing if they didn't know the company they were in, but I don't think those casual mentions of a spouse are the "core part of interactions" that you're talking about. If I'm talking to someone about my work, or my hobbies, or whatever else I talk about, I don't think my sexual orientation has any effect on it - and I don't think this is just a "straight default" thing.

    Who's saying that the orientation of non-straight people has any bearing on how they* interact with folks who are not their romantic partners?

    (I say "they" here because I consider myself outside the spectrum of hetero/homosexual, as a currently-single asexual person.)

    Also, the "straight default" (or the term "heteronormative") does have a significant bearing on how you are perceived by wider society. If you are openly heterosexual, people will subconsciously pick up on it. If you are homo- or bi-sexual, people will consciously notice, precisely because that's not considered the norm in current society.
  • Very sorry, I seem to have missed what Doublethink had said re my first paragraph, so I take it back. The second stays, though.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    I mean...is a marriage a visible sign of sex? Should we be holding marriage celebrations in church when they are clearly a visible sign of a sexual relationship?

    I'm not sure how sarcastic this post is.

    I learned in high-school law class, 1980s, that in Canada(and I would assume the UK and at least some American states as well) a marriage wasn't legally considered to have existed until it was consummated. This would have serious implications for divorce cases and whatnot.

    I think this criterion has been changed in most places since then, but in any case, yes, for a long time anyway, sex was very much part of the legal definition of marriage. No sex = no marriage.

    (This incidentally, is why I think Bill Clinton might not have been technically lying when he said he didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or at least might have convinced himself that he wasn't: by the strict legal definition, they didn't have sex.)

    If memory serves non-consummation makes a marriage voidable in the UK (i.e. it's grounds to seek an annulment) but not automatically void (like bigamy or incest would).

    But doesn't an annulment, by definition, state that the marriage never existed in the first place?

    Yes, but it exists up until the annulment and is then erased from the timeline, as opposed to always not having ever existed, as in the latter case. [/temporal mechanic]

    This, and your previous post, set out the position here. Consummation is not necessary to make a marriage valid, but non-consummation is a ground - and only a ground, not the one and only - to annul a marriage. I once acted for a woman who sought (and obtained) an annulment on the ground that it had never been the husband's intention to enter into a marriage (by statute, the annulment did not bastardise the child).
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Enough of the marriage consummation tangent, people.

    Reposting what @Louise said.


    Hosting

    Hi,
    Could folk take the tangent on marriage consummation somewhere else, please? It needs to stop here immediately.

    Also could people who are not members of the lgbtq+ or other marginalised communities please rethink how they are engaging on this thread? The OP is specifically asking for the perspectives of those from lgbtq+ and marginalised communities and I'm not seeing as much of that as I'd like.

    Thanks!

    Louise
    Epiphanies Host

    Hosting off

    MaryLouise, Epiphanies Host
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    My apologies
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    I look at church leadership when thinking about whether a place is okay, as a person who is not marginized and doesn't want other people to be either. If the church has more than one priest or minister and they're both straight white guys, it's a big no from me. I look at who is on the vestry or council or board or whatever. I look at who ends up being in charge of events.

    For myself, as a single, childless woman, I look at how the groups are organized. If they are all organized around age, gender, and position in family life - young marrieds, moms with kids, etc - no way. And if they call their big events things like "church family picnic," also no way.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    Having rules of thumb like that, does feel like it would be helpful.
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