Taking Offense, Losing Family


First, I’d like to give a great big {HUG} to everyone who has shared a kind word with me this week.  I needed that.

I needed it because on Tuesday, I had my 6th negative interaction with family over my Queer identity, the 5th in a little over a year.  When I type those numbers, they don’t seem like much.  But when I remember how each of those interactions felt (and still feel)… ouch.

To be certain, I could have avoided or ignored 4 out 6 situations, including this most recent one.  But I chose, very purposefully, not to do so.  That choice has not been without consequences, including the very annoying process of second-guessing myself.  An inner voice, a voice of full of guilt and shame, tells me to keep the peace, turn the other check, take it with a grain of salt, etc.  But another voice, a voice that I’ve only recently begun to hear (I’ve named her Ms. 35), tells me that life is too short, my cause is too precious, my integrity too hard-won.  I like Ms. 35, and I think it’s way past time that I let her take the mic.

I take offense.  Do you see how I’m owning that?  I TAKE offense.

I take offense when you hate my sin.

I take offense when you joke about Queer identities.

I take offense when you spew homophobic slurs in the midst of your tirades.

I take offense when jealousy of my authenticity causes you to lash out with verbal violence.

I take offense when you smile to my face, accepting my love, then snicker behind my back.

I take offense, even if especially if you are family, because I am required as a result of my own personal struggle, as a servant of Christ, as an advocate for queer youth, and as an Ally to others, to take it.

Allowing your slurs to slide past my ears with no reaction is a disservice to my younger self who internalized those slurs, my teenage years a diet of self-loathing and thoughts of suicide interspersed with prayers for deliverance.

Ignoring your joke about Queer identities is a disservice to Leelah Alcorn, Zander Mahaffey, Cameron Langrell, and the hundreds of other teens who attempt or succeed at taking their own lives each year (30% of queer teens, 50% of trans teens) because the jokes, the criticism, and the ostracism lead them to believe that it will never get better.

Accepting your love while you hate my sin is a disservice to my Creator, Whose council I have sought on my knees, tears gushing from my eyes, sobs choking the words in my mouth, more times than I count.

Turning the other cheek as you lash out with verbal violence is a disservice to the youth I serve each day, encouraging them to live authentically, promising them that I am doing all I can to create a world in which their authentic self is valued and safe.

Accepting your smile while you snicker behind my back is a disservice to my life partner who must see and endure the stares and the scrutiny that follow her wherever she goes in this world, day after day.

Some say that blood is thicker than water.  I say that anything less than unconditional love, a love free of hate, slurs, jokes, and violence, thins the blood until you can no longer tell the difference.



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