I am a 29-year old woman who grew up in California. I was married last year, I work full time and I recently started thinking about starting a family. All of this seems pretty “normal”. It is just another life being lived. But what if I then told you that I am a queer woman who is married to another woman? It changes the game a little. For some, it brings feelings of joy and victory, but for others, it brings sadness, anger and even hatred.
It is really difficult to explain what it feels like to be hated, especially by people who do not even know you. I was recently living in the South and I read a news story about a local brach of the Ku Klux Klan that advocated killing gay people. Whoa. REALLY?? There is something strange about being targeted by a group just for being yourself. I know that this is an extreme example, but unfortunately, it is not the only problem.
Everyone knows that there are hate groups out there attempting to spread their toxic ideology to anyone who will listen. But most people recognize that the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are relatively small fringe groups with few followers. I am aware of these organizations but they do not bother me too much. However, there are things that bother me like the news stories reminding me that there are far too many of my fellow Americans, who would not align themselves with extremists like the KKK or the Westboro folks, and yet they are sending the implicit message through their speech and actions that they hate me, that they hate the LGBTQ community.
Originally, this whole Kim Davis debacle did not seem like a big deal to me. The law is set in place and people will have to answer to it. However, the part that hurts LGBTQ people, is the support that her view is receiving. Not just from radical religious groups, but from people in America that are running for president!
These men and women are leaders who have significant pull when it comes to shaping our policies and influencing the worldview, as well as the behavior, of their supporters. Can you imagine being a closeted teen in America and watching politicians, who are running for the highest office in the land, shedding tears in front of crowds of enthusiastic supporters as they emphatically vocalize their hostility to people like you?
It is scary to be an adult and see this and it's the reason I get down on my knees everyday to ask God to take the burden of hate away. I pray because most days it is too difficult to try and fight in my own strength against the people in this world opposed to my life, my marriage and my dreams for the future.
So, I guess I am here to talk to all those people; the radical groups, the politicians, the Kim Davis’s of the world. I am here to tell you that I love you. I may not know you. I may never know you. But I love you.
It is the most difficult kind of love. Even though it would be easier to hate these people that I know nothing about beyond the fact that they have an anti-LGBT stance, I get to make a choice about how I respond to them. You have a choice as well. When it comes to the people we share this planet with, Christ calls us to lean toward love. Even when people hurt us, reject us or are mean to us, we must still lean toward loving those people who see us as the enemy.
I was created by a God that knows how to love. Every day as I am striving to be more like Jesus, I find myself growing in love for those who hate me. It is a painful love but I know that it is also the right kind of love. The kind of love that this world needs more of. The kind of love that breeds change. Lord knows, we need change.