Last Wednesday, Oct 20 was designated by the Facebook community as a day to wear purple to support LGBT youth. This was part of the larger It Gets Better campaign in response to the recent rash of suicides by young men who had been bullied because of their sexual orientation. What’s especially sad is that these suicides were probably not all that unusual.
My heart goes out to any person, especially any young person, who feels so isolated and hopeless. I believe that God loves all people, no matter their sexual orientation. I believe that sexual orientation is a gift from God, a birthright. I appreciate the people of faith who have made videos to say: It Gets Better. Indeed, it does. The least I could do on Oct 20, I felt, was wear my purple tee-shirt that says LGBTerrific! on the front.
That night our cafe had (only) two guests who were not from our church, a mother and a son. The son immediately noticed my shirt and asked me about it. I was able to tell him that our denomination was struggling over this issue (to the point of polarization) but that I, personally, was supportive of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered. He was a smart young man, well-spoken, with many interests. We had an interesting conversation about the role of the church in these kind of social situations. Once the ice was broken, he talked my ear off. We agreed that a community of faith is precious because it is one place that people from both ends of the political spectrum can come together in service of something larger than their own opinion.
It’s dicey to be a religious leader and hold an opinion on a subject where people have a variety of opinions. However, I feel the call to be more vocal in my support of people who are LGBT. Whether or not I ever see this particular young man again, I hope he knows that at least one religious leader is absolutely sure that it’s okay to be gay.
We say that God loves everybody. Today I want to color that purple.