Thoughts and Comments


The following was originally included in the weekly email message dated March 2, 2015, from Methodists in New Directions.

Was It Something I Said?

Why The UMC Is Afraid To Hear From Queer People

The Feb/Mar/April 2015 edition of the Circuit Rider magazine is entitled “Sacred Trust and the Divide over Same-Gender Marriage” and purports to offer “thoughtful reflection and holy conversation” through the writings of several articles, few of which actually have to do with same-gender marriage. There are many calls to remain united, to stop polarization, and to engage in dialogue. Yet, and once again, the voices of LGBTQI United Methodist are conspicuously absent from the “conversation.”

The United Methodist Church cannot continue to talk about LGBTQI people and consider that “holy conferencing” or “dialogue” or “conversation.” It is not. The perspective of LGBTQI United Methodists must be considered and engaged. Each and every time the church has “a conversation” and fails to invite out queer perspectives, it perpetuates the injustice of exclusion and intolerance. While many allies get the opportunity to speak for us, the church needs to hear directly from us. (You can hear MIND Chair, Reverend Sara Thompson Tweedy, make her appeal to the Bishops preceding the Connectional Table’s second panel on human sexuality.) Why is the church afraid to hear from queer people?

If our voices were heard, truly heard, the church would have to own its complicity for causing death and destruction in the lives of real people. The United Methodist Church has blood on its hands—the blood of gay teens who committed suicide, of black trans women who have been beat up and murdered, of homeless teens who are attacked. Religious bigotry has contributed to the violence against queer people.

Unless the church listens to the experiences of LGBTQ people, we can never be “united.” We are often accused of being in a “camp” and “defending our position.” The reality is we are standing up for our dignity and our humanity. Accusing our movement of being divisive is an attempt to distract from the fact that we are fighting for our lives. Expecting us to do anything less than stand up for our rights is dehumanizing and wrong.

Methodists in New Directions (MIND) is a grassroots organization of United Methodists working to end our denomination’s doctrinal prejudice and institutional discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and committed to living more fully into God’s radical Welcome right now and right here. We work on a regional level within the New York Annual Conference.