Will all LGBT people be judged by my actions?
I lost track of the number of people for whom I was the first openly gay person they knew and talked with.
I put myself on the line with the hope and knowledge that bold action (with a little creative agitation) is what changes the world. Stories transform and liberate. They are powerful, earthshaking and life-changing.
When I come out, I inherently step into activism. That is the trade-off: I exchange privacy in return for a better world. During this transaction, I also inherit a responsibility: LGBT people as a whole will be judged, by some, based on my actions alone. If I am snarky or academic, flamboyant or masculine, if I use masculine pronouns for God or profess a universal or atheist faith, if I am appreciative or dismissive… However I happen to act, that is how all queer people might be judged.
In light of this awareness, I find myself tempted to censor or modify my words and actions. I can explain the “clobber passages”from a Christian perspective, I can extol the virtues of marriage and monogamy, I can talk about ethics and community participation. I can find the “safe” things to talk about. How much far can I push the “moveable middle” without losing them?
I’m not looking for an answer, but rather for contentment in sitting with reality. Yes, sometimes all LGBT people will be judged by my actions. Yes, sometimes I will present an incomplete picture of myself in order to more fully represent the broad spectrum of LGBT people. Yes, sometimes in presenting parts of my identity, I will alienate potential supporters.
My prayer: Discernment and kindness, to self and to others. Courage, to go forth.
Photo by Soulforce of Equality Riders engaged in conversation with students at Southwest Baptist University