- December 20, 2013
Post submitted by Sharon Groves, HRC Director, Religion and Faith Program
For LGBT folks and allies the holidays are often rough. When we’re least expecting it – while watching a football game, opening presents, preparing a meal – the insults come seemingly out of nowhere. And so often, we shy away from responding because we know the retort will invoke God and the Bible. Try to engage in a real conversation from a place of confidence, integrity and even, if you’re not feeling it, from a place of compassion and love.
All week long, HRC is offering tips and strategies to help guide you through what may be a difficult holiday season, as part of our Religion & Faith blog series, “Debunking the Myth: How to Stand Your Bible Ground This Holiday.”
Here are some tips on how to respond when someone says, “God created you the way you are. It is sinful to change what God made.”
For transgender people, often the creation story (see above) is used to discriminate against transgender people. Here is an approach you might take to an accusation that transgender people are sinful.
You might say:“I hear you saying that changing gender identity goes against God’s creation. This assumes, however, that there is no room in God’s heart for people to change Yet, in John 16:12, Jesus tells his disciples, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” This passage tells me that there are many things about God’s work that have not yet been revealed to us.
Just as with loving gay and lesbian relationships, the Bible has nothing to say about transgender people but it does have quite a bit to say about those who are gender non-conforming such as the Ethiopian Eunuch who is baptized by Phillip. Let me read you a beautiful passage from Isaiah 56: 3-5, 8 “Let not the eunuch say, ‘Behold I am a dry tree.’ For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast to my Covenant, I will give a house and within my walls a a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off. . . . Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered."
God here has a special blessing to the outcast, even those who are outcasts because they don’t fit prescribed gender roles.
Follow-up: Consider quoting the Ugandan Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo when he writes, “I believe the time has come for the Spirit of truth and reality to inform us that in Adam and Eve we have all the wonderful differences that are being revealed to us in God’s variegated creation. Adam and Eve represent not only the heterosexuals but also all types of non-heterosexuals revealed and not yet known.”
Have you tried this strategy out? Let us know in the comments below how it worked out or if you had a different kind of Bible conversation. Though this series is intended for Christians in anticipation of the Christmas holiday, stay tuned to the HRC blog for more religious series.
And for more resources from HRC’s Religion and Faith program, visit http://www.hrc.org/issues/religion-faith.