No doubt about it, life from the viewpoint of a wheelchair has indeed expanded my worldview, not limited it. My disability has gifted me with a broader perspective on life. Also, keep in mind while reading this article, I have a bachelor degree in communications, a certification in human behavior, a certification in life coaching and Christian beliefs that have fueled my deep passion for all people. To put the icing on the cake, I have traveled the world and worked with many individuals with different backgrounds over the last 18 years. It is fair to say, my opinions are confirmed by my education and refined by my experiences. Confirmed knowledge, mated with refined experiences gives birth to wisdom. I would like to make an appeal to you based on that wisdom. The heterosexuals and the Christian community have to understand some things about the LGBTQ community.
The things that I am about to bring to your comprehension is not to persuade you to any side of the table. It’s simply food for thought. I want to allow you to come to this table with a plate full of understanding. Some may say that they don’t want to understand and that’s okay. But one cannot begin to judge what they refuse to understand. If you are going to weigh in on the LGBTQ conversation there are some basics you must contemplate.
Let’s make it clear when I speak about the LGBTQ community I am talking about consenting adults. Consensual adults are very different from an underage person being taken advantage of by an adult. Somehow in the midst of this LGBTQ conversation, we have thrown in child abusers. A child abuser can be that of any sexual orientation which is totally unacceptable. To reiterate, this conversation that I’m trying to have is about two consenting adults.
Let’s start with something very simple. If we want to come across as educated people we can not continue to refer to someone’s sexuality as a ‘lifestyle.’ A person’s sexuality is defined by the person they are naturally attracted to. Lifestyle is the material things you choose to surround yourself with. One base a person lifestyle by their home, car, clothes, job etc. The term ‘gay lifestyle’ is used by some heterosexuals in reference to how promiscuous they think all members of the LGBTQ community are. If we are going to assume the responsibility of judging others we can at least be fair in our judgment. Regardless of the sexuality of the group every group whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual has promiscuous individuals in their group. Since the beginning of time men and women have been expressing themselves sexually.
It has also been implied that the ‘gay lifestyle’ is the atypical method that a same-sex couple uses to express themselves sexually. For a heterosexual, those methods are not necessary and therefore the act is perceived to be perverse. However, the fact is the human race, by nature, are curious and experimental creatures. We are all looking for various ways to satisfy ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically as well as sexually. Whether homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual, people are not able to live their whole lives off of one sexual act to another, therefore by definition it cannot be a lifestyle. A lifestyle is the combination of the way a person lives physically, spiritually, professionally, financially and mentally.
Now let’s talk about this idea of sexuality being a choice. My parents weren’t the best parents in the world but they tried hard to help me think through my decisions and life. I find it hard to believe that they just forgot about giving me the choice of choosing my sexual identity. No one has ever sat me down and asked me who I would like to be attracted to. I don’t recall taking that test in school where they asked me to check A) if you want to be attracted to black people, B) if you want to be attracted to larger people, or pick C) if you want to be attracted to a female. We just grow and live our lives and we are naturally drawn to our likes and dislikes. Besides that, we don’t live in a society where any individual has enough confidence in themselves to knowingly choose to be different. Our society is deeply rooted in bullying, segregation, discrimination, and hatred towards anything that does not fit into a USA mold. One learns early in life that if you are different, in any capacity, you are automatically subjected to humiliation, ridicule, and possibly outcaste. Who would make a decision to live their lives through such horrible experiences? Why do you think the suicide rate of the LGBTQ teens is so much higher than heterosexual teens? Like I said in the beginning, let’s use some common sense in this conversation.
Now brace yourselves, you are about to read something that may knock you off of your feet, the Bible does not condemn a committed same-sex relationship. One who suggests otherwise is not going back to the Greek and Hebrew interpretation of the scriptures. As a matter of fact, before the 1970’s the word homosexual never appeared in the Bible. In the 70’s significant changes took place in the U.S. People were afraid of what the world was becoming. The fear of change, personal biases, and religious beliefs is an awful combination to interpret the word of God with. It’s not hard to understand why the word ‘sodomite’, was swapped out for the word ‘homosexual’ during that time. In the past, Sodomites were referred to as prostitutes, more specifically male prostitutes. It is true that God would never approve of anyone using their bodies for income, male or female. Back then they weren’t only doing this, but they were doing it in the temple, of course, God wouldn’t approve of that. This is just one instance of the 8 scriptures that have been misinterpreted to pin God against homosexuals.
We cannot use the bible to simply support our own personal views and make it seem like it’s the stance that God takes on homosexuality. I’m not condemning the church because I understand that it is very hard to translate a manuscript that was written thousands and thousands of years ago from a dead language translated into many different current languages around the world. Of course, some verses in each translation are bound to be incorrect. However, I will say that because of this knowledge we cannot use our interpretation of a few scriptures to tell millions of people that they are going to hell because of a natural desire that they didn’t ask for, to begin with. Furthermore, I believe God is a God of priority. I’m sure that He has a long list of issues that need to be addressed and fixed in this world. If someone loving a person of the same sex is on His list, it’s probably the last thing on His list; being that He is love from the very beginning.
Natural is relative. As a young boy growing up with a disability my mom really tried hard to make me fit in with everyone else. She wanted my disability not to be so apparent. She would constantly tell me ‘Chris don’t slur your words like that, don’t hold that that way, don’t sit like that.. ‘ And what she was really doing was forcing my body to appear natural by being unnatural. What she saw as natural body movements for everyone else was unnatural for me. The harder I tried not to allow my body to move the way it naturally wanted to move the more I appeared to be abnormal. She wanted me to naturally do what my body was incapable of doing. The way she wanted me to carry myself was natural for her but unnatural for me. For a person who has natural heterosexual desires to pursue an intimate relationship with a homosexual is unnatural. This is also true for someone who has homosexual natural desires and attempting to pursue a relationship with a heterosexual. What is natural for one, is just not natural for all.
Now that we have gotten through all of that, let’s be totally transparent. The issues that the straight and Christian community has with the LGBTQ community is not their ‘lifestyle,’ religious beliefs, or whether or not it is natural. The truth beneath all that is they are uncomfortable with the LGBTQ community. This fact is the nitty gritty. Their inability to relate to the community puts them on edge and that’s okay. If we want to be honest with ourselves, we are all uncomfortable with people who are different from us. Some can be uncomfortable with a person with a disability, one may be uncomfortable with a person with different ethnic background from theirs. A Christian may be uncomfortable with a person of the Catholic faith. Our comfort level for another person does not justify segregation, discrimination or hatred. A person is not wrong for being who they are because it challenges another person’s comfort level. The reality is, this is a huge world. This world is big enough for all of us to be comfortable with who we are. We are not being crammed into one tiny space.
Finally, the world is big enough to afford all if us the option of going into our corner of the world. You certainly have a right to form a bond with the people you feel comfortable enough to do life with. Just be aware of the possibility of real relationships are very slim there. There will be family, coworkers, church members and good friends in your corner who value your relationship so much that they only reveal the parts of themselves they know you will accept. They are not hiding who they are. They are protecting themselves from the pain of life in your corner. Every one of us does the things we think we must do to protect ourselves. So, don’t expect authentic relationships to come out of your corner of the world. Be prepared to answer the question, “Did I make that person feel they couldn’t be who they really are to be in my circle?” Or really think about the things I mentioned above and open your mind, heart, and world up to authentic relationships.