Guest Post at RevGalBlogPals: “The Pastoral is Political: Affirming Spaces for LGBTQIA+ Youth”

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Today I am guest blogging over at RevGalBlogPals. You can read the whole article here.

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“I will never forget an encounter I had several years ago with someone who claimed to be an LGBT ally.  When he misgendered a high schooler we both knew, I reminded him that this youth’s pronouns are they/them.  He dismissively responded: “Well, I just don’t understand that.”  Then he misgendered the youth again. 

Misgendering and deadnaming someone is disrespectful and incredibly harmful.  As the Trevor Project reported: “Transgender and nonbinary youth attempt suicide less when respect is given to their pronouns and they are allowed to officially change their legal documents.”

Respecting a person’s pronouns and affirmed names can literally save lives.  

And the thing is, when we “just don’t understand,” that lack of understanding is a big indicator that we have a lot more work to do.

In the church (and in every community we are a part of), we must do better for our young people and for all our LGBTQIA+ siblings.  

Rainbows and inclusive welcome statements are important ways to signal to LGBTQIA+ youth and people of all ages that the spaces they will be entering are safe and welcoming.  However, we must be doing everything we can to ensure that these spaces are – in fact – safe for everyone who enters those doors.  We need to be continuously educating ourselves and others.  We should be asking ourselves how our spaces uplift heteronormativity and cisnormativity and thus who is being harmed and excluded.  Then we must work toward change.”

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