Monday, November 25, 2013

When it comes to equal marriage, not all churches are the same...


I remember the first man who loved me. He said I had beautiful hands and he kissed them.

It was a beautiful gestures, but I could not respond because my sexuality had become tangled up in my desire to be a woman; and in my terror and shame I had repressed it.

He was ashamed and frightened too because at that time homosexuality was still illegal; he was a nurse in a young person’s psychiatric unit and afraid that if his homosexuality became public knowledge he would lose his job.

Our relationship was destroyed by our mutual guilt, fear and shame; and its destruction was sanctioned by the law.

It is extraordinary to think that although this happened a long time ago, it still happened in my lifetime.

The man’s name was Mike. Mike Whelan: and I still think of him. I hope he’s happy and well.

I think of him travelling south through Carlisle, which figured in our sad story; and I think of him because in the same week as my journey the Scottish Parliament paved the way for equal marriage.

And did so with a huge majority; and those sad so-called ‘Christian’ opponents who not so long ago could have rested secure in their prejudice and their hatred, feeling that they somehow represented the views of the majority, now find themselves isolated and on the margins.

It all represents a sea change in collective values; something that is not confined to the secular world, with the Christian churches fighting a doomed rearguard action against it.

In fact I’m travelling down because three churches who have significant numbers of LGBTI members in their congregations and understand the importance of this want to create more inclusive prayers and liturgy for their churches; and have asked me to lead a writing workshop to help enable them to write it.

Our culture is focused on technological advance and outward change; but it’s maybe these deep shifts that matter more.

Whatever it is, I’m proud to be part of it; and it fills me with hope.

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