Faith and Family: Learn with Me

woman holding a rainbow heart

If there’s anything I’m 100 percent certain about, it is the fact that there are so many things I still need to learn more about. Some of them I have written about in this column. One of those things I still need to learn is how to better understand and be an ally to members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Like a lot of social issues, many of us don’t wake up and pay attention to something until it becomes part of our own reality. When I was growing up, homosexuality was not something that was often talked about in the open. Thankfully, times have changed, and people who identify as LGBTQ+ are now more likely to openly live their authentic lives. And for a lot of us, the issues of this community are part of our everyday lives because we’re talking about our families and friends. 

The fact that people are beginning to feel more empowered to celebrate and live their true identities makes my heart swell. There is nothing better than watching someone embrace who they truly are. 

Not There Yet 

Of course, there are always exceptions to that. Many people in the LGBTQ+ community still face hatred, violence, and rejection—sometimes from their own families or faith communities. For anyone who doubts that, read some of the comments posted following the announcement from the Vatican regarding blessings for same-sex couples. 

In those times, many people are, unfortunately, forced to seek love and acceptance from people outside their biological family. Often, chosen families step up and provide the love and support that biological families sometimes can’t or won’t offer. As a mom, I would consider myself blessed to be part of someone’s chosen family. 

A Request for Grace 

But like I said at the beginning, there is still a lot I have to learn. For instance, as a writer/editor, I live in a world where I painstakingly make sure that pronouns match up to the subjects. To try to remember that sometimes real life, unlike grammar, doesn’t work within those rules anymore is going to take a little time. So, while using the pronouns of they/them is second nature to some people, to me it’s not. I’m a work in progress. 

But I’m more than willing to put in that work in order to acknowledge people as their true selves and let them know that I see and love them as they are. 

As we’ve seen regarding so many issues, the status quo of yesterday doesn’t always remain true or translate over time. The way we move forward is going to be with loving and open communication. It’s just going to take some effort, understanding, and, most importantly, love. And I’m all in for it. 

A Missing Piece 

There was supposed to be a sidebar here from someone who lives the realities of the LGBTQ+ community and the issues its members face. But following the release of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s new declaration Dignitas Infinita in April, the writer no longer felt comfortable sharing personal experiences. And we are all at a loss for not having that voice to help us grow in love for those we may not understand. 

But I understood the reasoning behind the writer’s decision. The document, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reaffirms “the indispensable nature of the dignity of the human person in Christian anthropology.” It addresses issues such as war, abortion, the death penalty, and poverty. It also throws in the issue of gender theory as a problem. 

Before unpacking the reasons gender theory is “extremely dangerous,” the document states that “every sign of unjust discrimination” against homosexual persons “is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.” No wonder there is confusion and hurt. 

The bottom line is that there are members of our Church who feel physically, mentally, and emotionally frightened to gather at the table. And there are family members who love them and want them there. I really wish you would have been able to read the words that were supposed to be here. They might have helped us grow into the welcoming people we are called to be. 

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