jennifer hanigan

a pinch of this and a dollop of that

Doing The Impossible

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According to James Dobson, I’m bisexualling wrong.

“L-G-B-T. You know what the B stands for? Bisexual. That’s orgies. That is lots of sex with lots of people,” he said.

No one told me I was supposed to be having lots of sex with lots of people! Geez, would someone send me my copy of the Queer Rule Book already? Make sure it still has the scratch-off code on the inside cover that grants me access to the Gay Agenda website, k?

I actually see my bisexuality as a gift: it is a gift that my potential to love another person is not constrained by which set of equipment they happen to possess. It’s a beautiful kind of freedom.

Anyway, back to the Dobson quote. He said this during a conversation with Franklin Graham. And in that conversation, Graham said, “But you cannot stay gay and continue to call yourself a Christian. You can’t do it.”

I appear to be doing the impossible! Now, if only I can figure out how to cram more hours in a day. I’m also happy to attempt to prove that money actually can buy happiness (I will provide grant proposals upon request).

I have to wonder if either man has ever met a queer person. And if so, did they listen to them? Get to know them? Did they see a person that their God had created? Or did they only see a label, a category, a caricature?

When the pastor of the church-that-used-to-be-mine informed me that I was being removed from my ministry position while the elders decided what to do about me, he told me that he had gay friends. He said one had “gone all the way and become a woman.”

I tried to point out that being gay and being transgender are actually two different things (though one can be both), but he didn’t listen. So I sat there, in my floral dress and high heels, wondering if he really thought I identified as a man. Was that the only way he could conceptualize my attraction to women? But what about my attraction to men? He wasn’t listening, so I couldn’t find out.

In a later meeting with the elders, I tried to explain that I had no plan to do anything but be myself. I talked about how studies show that the most racist people are the people with the least exposure to people of other ethnicities. I talked about how a study had been done showing that people exposed to images of active fat people became less prejudiced against fat people, less inclined to view them as lazy, etc. I said all I planned to do was be a queer person, and perhaps by knowing me, others in the church might be less inclined to ‘other’ queer people.

In retrospect, I think that may have sealed my fate. You see, by doing the impossible–being queer and Christian–I’m challenging the us-vs.-them narrative that the Evangelical church clings to as fodder for its persecution complex. It’s so much easier to hold firm on your one-dimensional stereotypes of people if you don’t actually get to know them, or listen to them. I guess my presence couldn’t be borne. People might see me worship, or hear me discuss Scripture, or talk about how I live out my faith, and…well, they might start to wonder and to think, and that might be dangerous.

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