Opinion

Day of Silence: What would Jesus say? | Amy Johnson

What are you doing April 16?

I hope you will support any youth and young adults you know who participate in the 14th annual Day of Silence. This national event has grown since its inception in 1996. It strives to bring attention to and proven intervention in anti-GLBTQ name-calling, harassment and bullying at schools.

My question to you this year: Where do you stand on the continuum regarding the issue of GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning) rights?

Are you a person who hates all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people? One who thinks they are sexual deviants and that God is punishing our country by killing soldiers because some of us embrace tolerance, compassion and even (heaven forbid) inclusion? Do you succumb to the message of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, whose Web site is www.godhatesfags.com and has banners proclaiming that "God hates fag enablers" and even "God hates you?"

Perhaps you’re a step down on the continuum and would never be that extreme. Perhaps you are like readers of my past articles on this subject who imply that I am some sort of Christian abomination because I support homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender and heterosexuality as natural on the spectrum of human sexuality. Perhaps you think my Christian church is also a disgrace because we have pamphlets with covers reading “What did Jesus say about homosexuality?” and when you open them up, they are blank. If you are in this group, you might also agree with Derek Webb’s record label (INO) that forced him to release his latest album, “Stockholm Syndrome,” to the public without the controversial song “What Matters More.” The song basically calls out the general Christian community regarding hypocrisy concerning treatment of GLBTQ people. If you want the song, you have to go to www.derekwebb.com to either download it free, or order the version of the album with the song included.

Maybe you’re on the other end of the continuum that thinks all Christians are crazy and fanatical, and you are close-minded about all people of faith because of a loud minority. You may share John Fugelsang’s view that “although his parents are both ex-clergy, he’s come to view Jesus the way he views Elvis — loves the guy, but the fan clubs freak him out.”.

Or maybe you are someone who is disdainfully making fun of Ricky Martin for coming out when “we all knew that already” (insert eye roll here). Seriously, given the number of people all over this continuum, can you blame a guy for being cautious about speaking up about being gay and Latino?

I asked a friend who identifies as lesbian and Latina what she thought about Ricky’s situation. She said she thought he had probably finally gotten comfortable enough with himself to be honest about who he is. And then she reminded me that it’s interesting (ironic?) that GLBTQ people have to “come out” with a statement about their sexuality, when straight people don’t.

So here it is, folks, for the record. I’m coming out, even if you think you already know this about me. I am comfortable enough with myself to tell you that I am a straight, white, married, Christian, middle class, college-educated (master’s degree) American mother — identities that hold a boatload of privilege in this society. I am in favor of GLBTQ rights and GLBTQ marriage, and I support GLBTQ people. I oppose discrimination due to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. And other than on April 16, I don’t plan to be silent about it. How about you?

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