You Love Gay People? That’s great. Prove it.

fairlady

“When conservative Christians find out I’m gay, they almost all say the same thing: ‘I know gay people think Christians hate them, but I don’t. I love gay people. I may not agree with them, but I love them.'”

(Today’s post is from Justin Lee, Author of “Torn”, and the Executive Director of The Gay Christian Network.)

You’d be surprised how often I hear this. Christians are constantly telling me how much they love me.

If they treat me disapprovingly, it’s because they “love the sinner and hate the sin.”

If they preach at me, they’re “speaking the truth in love.”

If they distance themselves from me, it’s because they’re showing “tough love.”

Yet they wonder why gay people don’t feel very loved.

It reminds me of a scene from the 1960s musical film My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle, a poor flower girl, has worked hard to overcome her Cockney accent and pass as a proper English lady, but she eventually tires of being treated as a trophy by her diction teacher and others. So when a young suitor named Freddy—who barely knows anything about her—begins to sing a song professing his love, she humorously interrupts him with a song of her own:

Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through,
First from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?

Don’t talk of stars burning above;
If you’re in love, show me!
Tell me no dreams filled with desire;
If you’re on fire, show me!

“Show me,” she says. As a gay man, I feel the same way.

Do you love me? Don’t talk about it. Show me.

Show me!

You know why LGBT people have such a bad impression of Christians? It’s not because of protesters with “God hates fags” signs. We know they’re extremists. It’s because of daily being dehumanized by the Christians who lecture and preach at us, treating us as issues instead of as human beings—and because of the Christians we know who stand idly by, thinking that if they’re not actively hating us, that counts as loving us.

That’s not love. Talk is cheap. Telling me your opinion on my life is easy. Real love takes more than that.

Sing me no song; read me no rhyme!
Don’t waste my time! Show me!
Don’t talk of June; don’t talk of fall;
Don’t talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word.
There isn’t one I haven’t heard…

It’s true. Anything you could say, all that “speaking the truth in love,” I’ve heard it all before. So if you’re really serious when you say you love me, you’re going to have to prove it. Show me.

Not sure how? Here are some ideas.

  • Support my rights. Okay, maybe we don’t agree on the definition of marriage, but can we at least agree that people shouldn’t be able to fire me or kick me out of my home just because they found out I’m gay? If you agree, help me make those legal protections a reality. If you don’t agree, it’s hard to believe you really care that much about my well-being.
  • Stick up for me, even when I’m not around. Don’t let people make gay jokes or speak derisively about LGBT people. You never know who might be listening. I was, before you knew I was gay.
  • Invite me to dinner. Or a party. Or a movie. Or a game night. Or to hang out at the mall. Make it something I enjoy, and don’t use it as a pretext for anything other than having a good time together.
  • Take an interest in my life and relationships. Ask about the person I’m seeing, or the person I’d like to be seeing. (No need to tell me how much you disapprove.) Find out about my hobbies, favorite movies, favorite music, and other things I’m passionate about. Learn to see me as a multifaceted human being.
  • Ask about my experiences as an LGBT person. Don’t comment. Just listen.
  • Learn the language I use for myself, and use it. For instance, I don’t call myself “homosexual”; I call myself gay. If you call me “homosexual” in spite of my disdain for that term, it doesn’t feel very loving to me.
  • Get involved in causes LGBT people care about. Join the fight against LGBT bullying in schools. Learn about the homeless LGBT youth population in your city. Volunteer at a charity serving people with AIDS. Don’t bring attention to what a good Christian you’re being; just do it because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Instead of asking me to join you in settings where you’re most comfortable, look for opportunities to join me in settings where I’m most comfortable. Maybe I have a favorite coffee house, or I love to hike a local trail, or I go bowling with friends every Friday night. And hey, maybe you could get to know my friends instead of expecting me to fit in with yours.
  • Be the conservative Christian in my life who doesn’t quote the Bible at me. I know; you’re worried that not expressing disapproval will make me think you approve of all my decisions. It won’t. It just shows me that you care more about me than about our differences.

Most importantly, don’t do any of these things with a hidden agenda. Do them because you love me. You said you love me, right? Okay, then. Show me.

A note from Justin: I’m now getting a lot of visits to this post from people who have never read my blog before. If this is your first time, I suggest visiting this welcome post to learn more about me and my blog before commenting. Welcome!  For more stuff like this, check out my book, TORN: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. – Justin

(Justin’s original post can be seen here.)

8 thoughts on “You Love Gay People? That’s great. Prove it.

  1. I agree entirely. I have never quite gotten how people(of any religious faith) have a problem with love. Love is Love – pure, simple and unconditional. It is not for any of us to judge. Thanks for sharing the post and have a wonderful time on vacation – talk with the local people – I’m sure they have a few stories that you can bring back to us too.

  2. Reblogged this on The Big Séance and commented:
    On a day where I had to hand my four-legged son off to my parents (if you know me, you know that was rough), and a day where I’m packing and preparing to take my first international trip for vacation tomorrow (Cancun), and on a day where I can’t stop thinking about that damn mysterious missing plane (!!!! ???), I couldn’t think of a great way to let my readers know that I’ll be absent for a few weeks.

    Then I read a great blog post by one of my favorites. It’s a topic that I’m so passionate about… and I just decided that I’m passing it along, paranormal or not. Although, I would argue that this post would fit quite well under the topic of “spiritual”. Maybe? I dunno. The good news is, I’m in charge here. 🙂 Anyway, this is probably only the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve re-blogged. Please enjoy, and if you feel so inclined, please pass it along.

    When we return from Cancun I’ll immediately take off for the TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery event. I’m so excited to report back after both of those experiences! And yes… I’ll keep my eyes open for paranormal activity in Mexico.

    Peace, everyone! Spring is coming!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s