What does LGBTQ Pride mean to you?
I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means refusing to be ashamed of who I am. It means raising my voice loudly to reject condemnation, stigmatization, and Othering.
When I was a little boy, I used to regularly cry myself to sleep, horrified to realize that that I was “dirty, sinful, and shameful.” I was less than my fellow human beings
Less moral. Less good. Less valuable.
In the language of the Roman Catholic and evangelical Christian faiths my family worshiped in, I was a “depraved sinner.”
I’ve never told anyone this before, and honestly, I think I’d mostly forgotten about it. When I was 14 and 15 years old, I used to cut deeply and extensively into my belly with with a razor blade. I stuck needles into my arms. I pulled out clumps of my hair until I bled. I’d never heard of self harm. Nobody talked about that in the 1970s. I somehow figured it out all on my own.
That’s how badly I felt about being a “depraved sinner.”
In my capacity as an LGBTQ advocate and activist, conservative Christians often communicate with me. I can’t tell you how often they write to me that we LGBTQ people are (in their eyes) equivalent to murderers, thieves, and other sinners.
They casually condemn us as immoral just because we happen to be minority variants of human beings. Many conservative Christians (though by no means all) engage in this sort of invective on a daily basis.
Franklin Graham comes to mind.
Roman Catholic Church leaders count among the worst offenders
The Catholic Church teaches hundreds of millions of school children every day that we LGBTQ people are “depraved,” “disordered,” and “ordered toward intrinsic moral evil.”
They print those exact words in books and distribute them to children in schools.
Horrific — Stigmatizing — Hate Speech
Those are the only words I know to fairly characterize the language of the Roman Catholic Church with respect to us queer people. Do those words upset you when I use them like that? Do you believe I’m going overboard?
Pride is the opposite of shame
Children shouldn’t be driven to self-disgust at the urging of organized religion. Young teenagers shouldn’t cut themselves and pull out their hair because revered religious figures label them as depraved and disordered.
If you’re LGBTQ like me, you need to be outraged at the savage language the Roman Catholic Church and other conservative Christians employ against us.
If you aren’t outraged, wake up. You deserve better than that. You aren’t depraved, and no one has the right to call you depraved.
If you’re a straight/cis ally, then help us, please. We can’t do this alone. There aren’t enough of us.
We beg you to be outraged with us
We beg you to join us in raising your voice to tell Pope Francis and the rest of the Roman Catholic hierarchy to put a stop to their “savage and insensitive” language, to stop stigmatizing us as depraved and disordered, and to stop teaching children that we are “ordered to moral evil.”
Savage and Insensitive Language
Those aren’t my words. Allow me, please, to quote Irish senator and practicing Christian, David Norris, a respected member of the Anglican community.
As a believing and church-going Christian I have to say that the history of the Christian churches in relation to gay people is a shocking record of criminality and brutality. At the instigation of the churches, gay people have been routinely ostracized, tortured and murdered. It is unacceptable that there should be any continuation of the savage and insensitive language employed by some of the churches in dealing with gay people. It is salutary to remember that Jesus Christ not once mentions or condemns homosexuality.
These Catholic Christians are calling on the Pope to change Vatican theological language that is “gravely insulting” to LGBTQ people.
“Words like ‘objectively disordered ‘ and ‘ intrinsically evil’ to describe any human being is wrong, but for an institution like the Catholic Church to teach that these words are an expression of the mind of God to describe her image in LGBTQ persons is not alone scandalous but blasphemous.”
Calling us depraved is more than merely insensitive. It’s savage. Calling us disordered is savage. Calling us intrinsically evil is savage.
We are Church Ireland is also calling on the Pope to renounce and apologize for his shocking comments stating that LGBTQ families are not real families — a further example of the Roman Catholic leadership’s gravely insulting stance toward inherently decent and good people.
This exclusion from and further marginalisation of LGBTQI families in the life of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis leaves us with very little hope that LGBTQI families will be included as equal participants at the forthcoming World Meeting of Families being held in Dublin next August. Unless LGBTQI families are included in this World Meeting it will be seen as a contradiction of Gospel values. This reinforcement of anti-LGBTQI attitudes and the refusal to recognise LGBTQI families as true Catholic families by Pope Francis will be treated with incredulity and dismay by the Catholic faithful. Pope Francis should meet with and listen to LGBTQI families experiences of loving family life.
— Brendan Butler, spokesperson