The world is often a mirror to the individual. What we see and react to in the world is often the best way to see our own soul reflected back to us. The controversy and struggle around the LGBT community has a lot to teach us about the Church and our society as a whole. Ultimately, the conflict going on right now affects everyone, no matter what your sexual affiliation. Here is what we should all be learning, no matter who you are.
Sex Is a BIG Part of Our Identify
Society often tries to minimize sexuality as an extra-sociological function. We like to think we all function as completely unsexual entities for most of our day-to-day life, and are only sexual in select moments. The truth is that our sexuality is a big part of our lives, effecting many of our decisions. Gender roles, and success in those roles, forms a huge part of our own self-identity. If it were not, we wouldn’t care so much.
One of the biggest accusations to the LGBT community is, “they are free to do whatever they want, I just don’t want them pushing it my face.” This is an extremely ignorant comment, as if hetersexuals don’t constantly advertise themselves. The truth is we all advertise and flaunt our sexuality. We praise men for their status as bread-winners or studs. We exalt women who are “desirable.” Being successful in your gender role is a huge part of our identity, and how people treat us.
We Are All Terrified of Our Sexuality
LGBT individuals are simply exposing a dark part of society we all try to hide from. We are absolutely vicious and judgemental to each other about sexuality, even heterosexuals. Heterosexuals have the luxury of blending in or hiding sexual deviations from cultural norms, as they occur in the privacy of their homes or behind closed doors. LGBT individuals simply can’t hide themselves so well as, eventually, they are going to need to interact with their partners in public.
But heterosexuals are not so different, we know the consequences if people found out about our own personal sex lives. We would be petrified if people knew the details of our intimate activities, and we would fear judgement just as much. The truth is that many people live in fear thinking they are “the only ones” who like certain things or desire certain activities. The persecution the LGBT community lives under isn’t because they are “different, ” as much as they are forcing us to talk about something we are terrified of.
We Are Still a Male Dominated Society
My favorite definition of homophobia is, “The fear that other men will treat you the way you treat women.” Men still enjoy their place in society as dominate. Just look at how we dress. It is considered “degrading” for a man to dress sexually and vulnerably, but women are still expected to always be attractive and somewhat exposed. We are far from gender equality. The LGBT community is a big threat to male dominance as it questions and breaks down our rigid gender roles. Men are terrified of being treated like women, and that should say a lot.
We Don’t Even Understand Sexuality
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28 (ESV)
The truth is that we are still making the mistake of defining ourselves, and others, by our genders. While we like to think the line between men and women is distinct, and each has a clear “ideal, ” but they don’t. There is no “perfect man” or “perfect women, ” there are very masculine women and very feminine men, even among heterosexuals. Divorce and conflict is just as high, if not more, among Christians as it is in the secular world. We just don’t really understand our own sexuality yet, and telling others the “right way” to be sexual is just plain arrogant and blind.
What we really need right now in the Church is an open dialog on intimacy and how we can build strong relationships that lift each other up. It is a waste of energy to imitate an external picture of sexuality when we are all struggling behind the scenes.