love

To My Christian Community Regarding the Death of Leelah Alcorn.

This was orginally posted to my Tumblr (butwhyindigo.tumblr.com)

I am a member of the Christian community here on Tumblr, and I am grateful for that. As a young queer person, I am so grateful to be apart of this community, and to feel loved and accepted by people who share my faith, when all too often I have felt cast out from a community that I grew up knowing and loving. Thank you, for loving me.

I’ve seen many of my Christian family (here on Tumblr) struggle to comprehend the death of Leelah Alcorn. I’ve also seen many of us who aren’t understanding how to love this young woman, despite her actions, and despite the fact that who she is fundamentally defies many of the things you may believe to be true.

If you feel yourself thinking or feeling this way, I want you to remember and understand a few things:

1. We love and serve a benevolent God.
Our God loves Leelah, as she is, as he created her. She did not choose the body she was born into. Her gender identity’s disagreement with her biological sex does not negate God’s love for her. Christ calls upon us to love one another, saying “I give unto you a new commandment, that you love one another as I first loved you (John 13:34).” God loves you, and it is our calling as Christians to be loving to the rest of God’s creation. 

2. We have been called to love our neighbor. 
There are no standards for who your neighbor is. You are to love the people around you. The queer people, people of color, addicted people, abandoned people, people of different theological philosophies, and so on. We are to be the sheep. We are to clothe the naked, care for the ill, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, and protect the weak. That is our calling. We have not been called to judge those we find to be lacking. Jesus didn’t hang out with the pharisees or the high priests. He comforted the woman at the well, and kicked it with a bunch of poor blue collar guys. He held lepers, and befriended tax collectors. Our place is to love, serve, and protect those who cannot do for themselves.

3. Tolerance is not enough. 
Christ did not tolerate others. He accepted them. We are Christians, and that means “little Christ,” so it’s about time we followed his lead. Let down your walls, put down your sword, and open you arms, open your heart. This is not a time to remain neutral. If you stand, arms crossed, holding the sword, but do not strike, you are tolerating what is around you. Notice how unapproachable that image is. Drop your sword, fall to your knees, and open your arms. Be ready to hold the hurting, and mend the broken hearted.

4. You can not conceptualize God’s image.
We have been told for years that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). We are made in his workmanship, and he has put himself into creating us. Leelah was fearfully and wonderfully made, just as you were. She was created in the image of the loving, benevolent, and sovereign God you were. As human beings, we cannot rationalize or conceptualize what God’s image is. We’ll know someday, but as for now, we have no idea. He makes each of us, and the gender identity of a person does not inherently determine that they are turning from what God has created. Sex and gender are so vastly different, and unrelated. Do not negate this beautiful girl because she found herself to be different from the presentation God created. Your body is a vessel. Believe in the soul. Believe in the mind. Understand where worth is placed. Your body is a temple, and you shall adorn it as you see fit. Other than that, it holds little meaning.

The death of this young woman is tragic. She was seventeen. She grew up in a circumstance that made it impossible for her to feel the unconditional love of God, from people who claimed to be Christians. The two people on this earth who were supposed to love and protect her unconditionally could not bring themselves to accept their daughter. They have chosen to bury a son rather than love their daughter, their child.

It is not easy to grow up queer in a Christian community, regardless of how accepting the people around you may be. You question every move, every choice. You learn to fear certain conversations, and people. There are passages of the Bible I still don’t dare comb through, for fear of what they may reveal. I am aware that my God loves me, and created me as I am with great purpose, but on the days when the rain falls hard, and the boat rocks, I must flail and struggle to see Christ walking out across the water to me.

Brothers and sisters, please, there is so much hurt, and so much pain. We do so much more damage than we could ever imagine. Put down your sword. Open your arms. There are so many people who need your love, so may who have heavy hearts and do not know where they fit in this community. Remind them that they belong here with you. Love them, because I guarantee that most days, they struggle to love themselves let alone believe that God could ever love them.

God is love, and so are we. Show that to the blind. Be the light for the stumbling. That is what you are called to do.

“In essentials, unity. In nonessentials, liberty. In all things, LOVE.” -Moravian Credo  

We Will Unite

I am a child.

I am a child who belongs to two straight people.

I am a child who belongs to two straight people who have instilled in me the idea that race, gender, sexuality, mental ability, and education do not make a person.

The big one right now is sexuality. I’ve discussed this quite a bit in the past, but I’ll bring it up again. It is 2013. We are so far beyond this. We are better than this. America is a country built on freedom. It is a country built on the desire for equality.

It is a country that now looks back at the Civil Rights Movement and says “Why were we so horrible to other human beings because they were a different color?” We used to not be okay with interracial marriage. Remember that? How dumb was that?

Honestly, I can’t even imagine. It’s time we stop using our religious beliefs to defend our views on this topic.

I’m talking to you, Christians.

The Bible is a wonderful piece. A belief in Christ is a wonderful thing. Using the Bible and Christ to decide that other humans can’t get married is ridiculous. Not everyone subscribes to my belief in God. That’s okay! I don’t mind.

I do mind that my friends who are madly, deeply in love can’t get married to each other because they are both women or just because they are both men. Because sure, they love other women and some people aren’t okay with that. But they still love the way anyone loves. Does it really make sense to ban love?

I live in a free country. That includes the freedom to marry whomever I choose. That includes the freedom to love whomever I choose. It’s a beautiful thing.

We will unite for Marriage Equality because love is love. Discrimination is unacceptable. Hate is unacceptable. It’s time to get on the Equality train, because this is happening.

It’s about time.

The Basic Constructs of Sister-Friendness

First and foremost, you are  mine. And I don’t mean to sound like a five  year old who can’t share her toys, but I will. You are mine, and mine alone. You are mine to torture. Mine to fight with. Mine to be furious with. Mine to give to. Mine to protect. Mine to stand up for. Mine to share what I have with. And I am yours.

We are sisters, if I’m mad at someone, so are you. And vice versa, woman.

Sometimes I get all sorts of angry for no reason. I’m sorry for any of the spiteful things I say out of being a stupid girl. Next time just call me something mean, and then we can all get over it.

The truth will set you free, but first it’ll infuriate you. That’s just the way life works. Spoiler alert: The truth is less painful anyways.

Learn to communicate with Mom and Dad, but mostly Mom. Your life will be exponentially easier.

I’m proud of you now and forever, and will support you always. But if you make the decision to be a homeless cocaine addict, I’m dragging you to rehab no matter how much you protest.

Yes, you can borrow that sweater. If I’m in a bad mood, and say no, borrow it anyways. Then tell me Mom said you could. I’ll get over myself.

Do whatever you want with your life (EXCEPT what we’ve earlier discussed). Do stupid things with your life. Take all kinds of risks; financial, physical, metaphorical, emotional. Remember that I’ll be there to cheer you on as you succeed, and to pick you up when you fail. I’ll probably laugh a little first, sorry in advance.

Don’t always listen to me. I’m not always right. Do what you want to do. Sometimes, don’t listen to anyone but you. A little rebellion is healthy.

Not all soul mates are lovers. Some are friends, some are family. We probably all have more than one. You were my first. You are my favorite soul mate. You’re my person.  Nothing can change that. I don’t care what it is, or how far it is, or how bad it may seem. I will always help you drag the dead body across the living room floor. I’ll bail you out of jail. I’ll fly across the world for you. Hell, I’d run across the world for you. I just may roll my eyes through most of it.

You are my first and oldest friend. Thank you.

Quitting Makes You a Quitter.

If I’ve learned anything in the 16 years I’ve been wandering about here, it’s about quitting. I’ve learned that if you care about something enough, you don’t just give up on it. Even if you don’t like it (and trust me, it’s possible to care about something you hate), you wake up in the morning, and put a smile on your face, and do it. If you don’t like the team your put on, you don’t quit. Even if you hate the coach, and the rest of your team mates don’t want to be on the field, you go to practice everyday. You lace up your cleats, pick your chin up, push your shoulders back, and give it 100% no matter what. It’s your team, and whether you like it or not, you’re there. People are the same way. You don’t give up on them. If you care about them enough, you fight for them. Nobody quits on someone they care about; no one lets them walk out the door. They say loving someone means letting them go. I don’t think so. Loving someone means caring enough to fight for them, and then when that doesn’t work, it means gaining the courage to look them in the eyes and ask them to stay. You don’t let someone walk out of your life. You stand up every time and fight for the friendship, relationship, marriage, whatever. You fight until you have no fight left in you, then you fight some more. When you’ve done that, when you have stripped every ounce of fight from your body, if they still leave, you’ve done all you could. You fought. That doesn’t make you a quitter. That makes you a fighter. Nobody quits on something or someone they love. Because quitting means you didn’t care enough to pull yourself off the floor and try. And nobody wants to be the person that no one ever fought for. No one. So don’t let that person go. Don’t let that something go. Fight for it. You have the strength. They say what doesn’t kill you…

Boundaries

Hey,

Everybody wants to be safe. Pain hurts, failure hurts, rejection hurts, being lied to hurts, loneliness hurts. We learn to build up walls to protect ourselves; this way nothing gets through. We make them layers thick, and miles high. We don’t want anyone to climb them or even worse, destroy them. People spend their whole lives making boundaries. We do it to keep ourselves safe. What happens though is that people pretty much live the Pavlov theory. We are creatures of habit. Once we feel rejection, we hardly ever go after that again. It hurt so bad the last time, why feel that ever again? Because, maybe next time it won’t hurt. Maybe this time it’ll change our lives. Nobody wants to touch the hot stove more then once. It hurts. Life hurts. It will pick you up and throw you around in so many different combinations that every single time will bring a whole new sort of pain. But maybe, just maybe next time instead of the horrific pain or being rejected and alone you can feel the tranquility and the genuine happiness of having someone, anyone, something, anything at your side. Boundaries aren’t bad things until they become your life. You can spend your whole entire time on this planet making up plans to keep yourself safe, or you can stand up and say “This could be fun.” and just do something because it feels good. Maybe it’ll hurt, it could be the worst pain you’ve ever felt. But, can you walk away knowing full well that it could give you the most wonderful feeling in the world? You can either live your life on the sidelines or you can lace up your shoes and get out there and work your butt off trying. It just might be worth it.

 

Soccer

Recently my soccer team was asked to write a short essay on why we play. I thought mine applied well to life, so here it is.

I had played soccer before last year. However, I played last year for one reason. Mack played. So I just did. There was no question. I didn’t realize that it would be something I would fall in love with. I was always passionate with judo. I flowed well and played without my mind getting in the way. Soccer was clunky and awkward. I hated it. I hated showing up for practice. I hated the mental strain. I hated it so much that eventually I fell in love. I couldn’t help it. I had been trying to like it for so long that eventually it just came naturally to me, obviously not the skill and technique. The heart came. The drive to be better than I was came to me. I wanted to be better because soccer was something that I wanted to do. It was something I was going to be good at. So I worked hard. I practiced all the time. I worked outside of practice. I made myself better. However I think I owe my love of the sport to Mack and Taylor. Had they not picked me up last year and showed me how to walk and talk I would be nowhere now. I would still be sitting on the bench wishing to touch the field. I play soccer because I love it. Now, when I step on the field I am ready. I am no longer awkward. Things begin to flow for me with every ounce of experience. I play for the rush of the game. Soccer is a part of me. I never thought it would be. I thought I was going to play to improve my footwork for judo. I thought it would be easy, quick, and painless. AI thought it would be a no effort type deal. I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. It was long and hard and painful, every single day of it. But I learned something with my progression. After what I was last year, to what I am now, I have learned that the best things in life, the most valuable, and the most genuine things must be worked for. You have to bleed a little. There has to be some sweat. And, if tears don’t flow it wasn’t worth it. Anything worth having should require hard work. So I play. I play because I know I can be better. I play because my heart drives me to. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Love is Blind

Hello,

Being brought up in a Christian home I have learned a few things about love. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not boastful or proud either. But my favorite thing that the I dont think the Bible mentiones is that love is blind. Love dosnt care if you are rich or poor, red or blue, tall or short, fat or thin. Love is more than an emotion, its a connection between two people. Not just a man and a woman. Two people. Sure it is not socially acceptable for a man to walk down the road hand in hand with another man. Or for two women to sit in the park and kiss. No its not a social “norm” but love is blind. If love dosnt see race, how does it see gender. Why do folks have to be so harsh, and cruel towards this lifestyle. If you can find love then you are one step ahead of most people. To find somebody to stand by you no matter what is so…I cant really wrap my mind around it actually. So who the heck cares if its someone of the same sex? I think more power to them. They have the same right to be in love as anyone else. I guess that maybe i’m wrong. But maybe i’m right. God sees divorce as wrong as well. But thats okay in our social environment? Okay, yup that makes sense. Feel free to comment on this post.

-Em