I could spend this post talking about the seeming boycott of Diet Pepsi by New York City street vendors. Or the rising cost of subway fares and the lowering quality of service. Both piss me off, almost equally.

But this post may be long and serious. Just warning you. Move on if you need to.

With the convergence of the latest string of teen suicides, this week’s episode of Glee, and it being National Coming Out Day, I have a few things to say.

I have been relatively silent on these issues on Facebook and Twitter, and indeed here. Partially because I think that there aren’t really words to speak. But that is a poor excuse. Sometimes I just process inside and it takes awhile to get the words out. This week I have been reminded of Matthew Shepherd’s killing, when everyone was very upset and there were lots of words spoken and few of them resonated with me and I tried to just keep going, because denial can be a girl’s best friend. When he was killed my childhood pastor called me to make sure I was okay. I remember lying in bed when he called, my partner next to me, I was barely awake. “Of course I was okay,” I said, “I am so far from danger like that here.” (and just yesterday I saw on the news the story of a young person in the Bronx who was killed because he was gay. And Rutgers University is just around the corner, really, and one of the kids who posted the videos that were the last straw is also Presbyterian, much to my shock). My response to my pastor was rude and ignorant. How come I couldn’t feel the extraordinary pain of this event? I went to church that next week and it was a communion week. The sermon was a knock-out one, about Matthew Shepherd, and then it came time for communion and the Deacons removed the white cloth covering the elements and I began to sob. Through the whole Eucharist. It made sense to me in that moment. It was almost like the cloth was being removed from Matthew Shepherd’s casket and we were about to see his body. And the pastor took the bread and broke it and said it was broken for us…and indeed Matthew Shepherd was murdered and his murder brought to light the extraordinary danger of being queer, his death no doubt gave life to others of us. It made sense and didn’t make a lick of sense, all at the same time, and again I go back to not having words to be able to totally explain it…

And we have children being bullied to their deaths, this many years later. What annoys me about all this hype is that kids commit suicide all the time who are queer. Every day. What about them? Why have their deaths not been a public outcry? The statistics are tremendously high for queer kids killing themselves, and especially ones who find themselves to be trans. Kids are kicked out of their homes all the time because of who they love, or who they think they might love. When it comes to homeless youth, queer kids, especially trans kids, have a much harder time. Do people really not know this? This problem is getting a lot more publicity now, and for that I am grateful, but are we really all that shocked? It is kinda like when the hurricaine hit Haiti, or the levees broke in New Orleans. We were so shocked with the level of poverty and how when disasters hit, poverty made the situation so much worse. And then we forget and move on to the next thing.

This annoyance, the one of perspective and chasing the media train, has kept me from making public statements, I think. And it is not acceptable. And yet so many other people have told incredibly moving stories, have eloquently placed words together, have said what needs to be said. Dan Savage has told us that “it gets better” and many others have joined in. I pray this work will keep one less child from pulling a trigger or jumping off the G.W.

Then we have Glee. Which was all about religion this week, and God and prayer–and Christianity and gayness and sickness and all of it wrapped up in one. It was painful for me to watch. Painful because I spend day in day out working for a God, and an organized religion that I believe encourages questions, that welcomes all to the Table, without judgment. It is clear, by watching this show, that we have a lot of work to do. Kurt says in this past episode something to the effect of not believing in a God that does not like the gays, and that this is essentially the Christian Church…and how very much does this attitude lead to the belief that it is okay to bully queer kids, and that for those kids there is nowhere to turn. So painful.

Which leads us to Coming Out Day. I have a friend who said once that she realized that coming out is like going to the gym. You have to do it several times a week and the more you do it the easier it becomes. I think she is right. Especially in the church–when coming out might lose you the ability to do what you have felt called to do your entire life. I have seen so many friends go through this coming out process in their ministry and it is heartbreaking…and so incredible. There is an amazing part on the other end of it, there is always more freedom, and opportunities to live into the fullness of who we were created to be are burst open. The church might be kicking and screaming, pretending that it isn’t ready, but God is ready, that I know.

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