Welcome to our first Que(e)ries Q&A, and Happy New Year!
If you missed our first round of question gathering, don’t worry. At the end of this post, we’ve shared how you can continue to submit your queer questions.
To our readers who’ve shared questions – thank you for engaging with us. The questions you asked are diverse. Some questions share thematic similarities, and we look forward to answering those in later posts, including our thoughts on “Side B” theology as well as the intersections of race, family, and sexuality.
This post includes four questions that refuse to be categorized. They’re fabulous on their own.
1. I really want to know more about other queer identities, in particular, asexuality. Some people I’ve talked to don’t count it as being queer or don’t find it acceptable. What do you two think? (by A.)
Hi A., Zora here. Ada and I wholeheartedly affirm asexuality as a God-given identity and asexual people as part of the queer community.
When I first came out to my grandmother (who played a huge role in raising me), she said something along the lines of, “I just can’t even imagine being attracted to women.” That stung a bit, but I understood. It’s always difficult to step into the shoes of someone else.
Our culture holds sexuality on a tall, tall pedestal, and the complications from that are myriad and messy. Humans who are asexual (not interested in having sex) have existed since humans have existed. Some people are asexual and also aromantic, while others are asexual and do experience romantic attraction.
The stories of people who are asexual are better left for them to tell. Ada and I identify as sexual and romantic queer people, and though we welcome and celebrate readers (and people in general) from all across the gender and sexuality spectrum, the only story we can rightfully tell is our own. We often use LGBTQ as a catch-all descriptor for the queer community. Our blog is probably most resonant with folks who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other sexuality-queer identities, but we still hope that our experiences of embracing both our sexual identities and our faith can shed light and hope on the lives of other queer Christians and their Christian allies.
2. Did you know you were queer when you were a kid? If so, how did you navigate that? I’m gay, and I remember having all these questions and no references – especially not Christian ones – when I was growing up. I had to rely on Netflix and books. (by Y.)
Hi Y., this is Ada. Zora realized that she was queer while she was in college. Though it’s not always accessible to under-18 readers, Zora found Autostraddle to be a helpful resource when she first came out. She still frequents it today.
I realized that I was queer as a kid – probably around the 6th grade. Although I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, I grew up in a family heavily influenced by cis-/heteronormative, homophobic Christian culture. I relied largely on teen creative writing publications and music to derive a sense of community, even if it was only with strangers and across space. I spent a lot of time between the shelves of my local public library reading issues of Teen Ink and flipping through stacks of CDs in an effort to hear how I felt spoken back to me.
To be honest, I didn’t do a very good job of locating uplifting resources. Most of the time, the authors and artists that fed me weren’t necessarily queer. What I sought was often just an emotion held in common – angst, curiosity, loneliness, self-doubt.
I want queer kiddos to have resources today. And thankfully, resources are more plentiful now than they were while we were growing up (thank you, internet, and thank you to GLSEN, The Trevor Project, and more). Readers – do you know of any resources specifically for queer Christian kids?
Also, there was a very short stint when I had a laptop with internet in my room. Let’s just say that I used it to inform myself in lieu of “the talks” I should’ve had with adults. Naturally, I got caught, and what followed was a very awkward conversation with my dad…
3. Should Christians affirm all same-sex relationships or just those that have gone through honest theological process? If someone else did the theological leg work, is it okay for me to jump on their wagon? (by E.)
E., Ada’s over on the sofa throwing her hands up in the air and wondering if we should affirm all heterosexual relationships, or just those that have gone through honest theological process. “These conversations just aren’t being had about straight people, who get all the work done for them and make terrible relationship choices 25/7. God is not inviting all the queers to write their own personal dissertations on identity over and over again like some kind of romance-time Catholic confirmation class.”
Whoa whoa. Ada. Zora’s taking the pilot’s chair now, E.
I’m grateful for this question. I worry if, by kickstarting our blog with a description of our discernment process, we’re implying that all queer Christians need to follow our trail. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ada’s right. Straight Christians are privileged in that they were born into a default sense of being. They don’t need to question the status quo because they are the status quo. (Many, but not yet enough, straight Christians do challenge this status quo. We call those folks “allies.”) Straight relationships are often free from the scrutiny pointed at queer couples, especially in non-affirming spaces.
Back to your question. Yes, Christians should affirm all healthy same-sex relationships. Queer people deserve the freedom to date, to practice, to try and sometimes fail and sometimes succeed at relationships. Requiring queer Christians to sort through complex and nuanced theology just so they can take someone out to dinner and a movie like a straight person can would be… cruel.
We’re always hitching our horse to another’s wagon, and sexual ethics and theology are no different. Unless you’re a Christian who lives alone in the wilderness having never read a book or perused the internet or talked to another human being, your theology is shaped by your experiences with other people’s theology. Our hope in writing this blog is to do some of the work – to be a lighthouse toward which queer Christians can row – so that they don’t have to do it alone.
Ada and I went through a serious but not interminable theological discernment process that involved Bible study, prayer, fasting, conversations, books, and blogs. We heard God through that process. But another Christian sibling or couple might hear God in a very different way on a very different timeline. Is there room in our faith of infinite questions for differing shades of understanding to be held in a spirit of mercy?
4. I’m new to your blog. Can you tell me more about how you reconcile your faith and sexuality as well as the theology of affirming churches? (by C.)
Welcome, C.! Thanks for joining us. We’d recommend reading our opening posts, especially “In the Beginning: Part 1 and Part 2” and “Seeing the Forest,” as well as our previous post, “Permission to Land.”
Our goal for Beloving is to share our journey of becoming affirming Christians as well as our experiences today as fully-affirming, queer, married Christians who grew up in the evangelical church. We’re unfurling our experiences and thoughts piece by piece as we publish each post. We hope you’ll stick around for the ride.
C. isn’t the first person to ask for more details on how we reconcile our faith and sexuality. Are there more specific questions you have or topics you’d like us to discuss that would help illuminate your understanding as a queer Christian or ally?
We’ve opened up a permanent Que(e)ries page on our blog. We’d love to hear from you – anytime. You might hear back from us in a personal message, a Q&A-style post like this one, or with a response to you woven into a more thematic piece.
Thank you, dear readers, for walking alongside us.
Our next post will be a continued response to your Que(e)ries, with a focus this time on “Side B” theology, which requires that queer Christians remain celibate. Stay tuned!
Photograph by Vogue Magazine