I am excited about this Saturday. Until a couple of days ago it was going to be a great day with a couple of friends. Now it has the potential to be an even better day.
I was going to spend the morning and afternoon with one friend (who is gay) participating in our local HIV/AIDS walk. Saturday night I was going to meet up with a buddy from church (who is straight) for dinner.
My straight friend has never been to an AIDS walk before (or in any setting with a large number of openly gay people). He asked if he could join me and my other friend Saturday morning. So the three of us are going to make a day of it: AIDS walk and related activities – then back to my place where the two of them will help me cook dinner.
These two men are virtual strangers to each other. And due to the initiative of one, both will be stepping out of their comfort zones.
On a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being unwilling, 5 being eager), how willing are you to learn about someone who is gay? How willing are you to learn about LGBT culture and/or history?
If you are unwilling or hesitant, what is causing your hesitation?
If you are interested in such an opportunity, what inspires you about this learning process?
Every stereotype can be broken with a face, and every face has a story.
I encourage you to have a dignified, grace-filled conversation with at least one of the following people. Engage someone who self-identifies as . . .
- a gay man
- someone who is same-sex attracted
- a transgender individual
- a lesbian woman
- a postgay person
- a bisexual individual
Ask if they would be willing to share their story with you over coffee. Take care to listen and ask open-ended questions. Communicate love, respect and transparency. Make an intentional and humble effort to learn and acknowledge. DO NOT lecture, preach or debate.
Regardless if they are Christians or not, keep these biblical directives in mind:
“Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.”
– Colossians 4:5, 6 (Easy-To-Read Version)
“In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.”
– Philippians 2:3, 4 (Easy-To-Read Version)
If you have ever done so, describe a time when you sat down with someone who is LGBT and listened to their story. Without revealing names, what did you learn about them? What did you learn about yourself?
As many of you know, October is LGBT History Month. One way to learn more about this community is to check out historical and cultural documentaries. I highly recommend these three titles as an introduction (the links take you to their Amazon.com product pages). The 2-minute video is a trailer for “Stonewall Uprising”.
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2014.
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