LGBTQIA+ Concerns Affect Our Community
“We want the world to know there are Christian churches and communities who are open and affirming, who proclaim God’s unconditional love and support for all, where everyone has a place and belongs just as they are – including the marginalized. Including LGBTQIA+ people. Including trans kids.”
Each month the CTS Connection e-newsletter is sent by email, sharing articles about theology, ministry, counseling, student life, and opportunities for our community to engage with us at events. We seek to lift up voices from our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and larger community on relevant and timely topics. We regularly include content that engages our values, from Faith & Action Project stories to philanthropy reflections. For this April edition of the CTS Connection, we are lifting up voices from the CTS community to highlight how LGBTQIA+ concerns affect us all and to raise concern around the urgency of this moment. We invited current students, alumni, faculty, and staff members to submit articles speaking about how the current climate and LGBTQIA+ concerns affect people at a human level. We received an overwhelmingly positive response from community members who share our sense of urgency and responsibility to speak out, share our stories, and consider how God is calling us to take action. This theme is directly in alignment with our CTS vision to be an academic learning community that gives witness to God’s liberative, restorative, and life-affirming message.
Why is this so important? The articles offer diverse perspectives that help you answer this question. Over the past month, we keep waking up to stories about LGBTQIA+ concerns – stories about proposed (many now passed) laws banning access to healthcare for transgender youth, legislation making dressing in drag illegal, suspensions and firings of employees over LGBTQIA+ concerns, and threats and stories of active violence towards people and organizations who support our LGBTQIA+ community members. Just last week, local Indianapolis nonprofit and children’s literacy organization Indy Reads received a bomb threat that forced them to temporarily close; the threat indicated a bomb had been placed at their Fountain Square bookstore because of their monthly drag story hours. Quite frankly, it is clear there is something happening in this time and place that is causing our LGBTQIA+ brothers, sisters, and family members to cry out for recognition, support, and solidarity.
For many LGBTQIA+ people, life experience has not shown them examples of faith communities where they are welcomed as they are. We think it is important that we honor our core CTS values, many of which are directly challenged by current legislative proposals and incidences of violence targeting the LGBTQIA+ community. Christian Theological Seminary is an open and affirming ministry as designated by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We affirm the God-given human dignity of all, holding the belief that all people are created in the image of God and therefore have inherent worth and dignity. We embrace diversity, holding the belief that the diversity of the human community is a gift from God and an indispensable resource in preparation for responsible ministry, leadership, and counseling. We promote healing and wholeness throughout creation, holding the belief that in doing so we participate in God’s work. We work towards justice for all, holding the belief that doing so is an imperative of Christian faith and life. It is time for us to live these core values boldly, prioritizing the safety and dignity of our fellow humans over any disagreements in the details. We want the world to know there are Christian churches and communities who are open and affirming, who proclaim God’s unconditional love and support for all, where everyone has a place and belongs as they are – including the marginalized. Including LGBTQIA+ people. Including trans kids.
After reading these stories, we hope you feel moved to spend time in reflection and conversation with God and those in your faith community. We hope you seek more information from a position of curiosity and a desire to learn more about how to love your fellow community members. You may find yourself asking, so what can I do? While that answer ultimately has to be sought and clarified by each individual, we offer these potential action steps you can take:
- Intentionally build relationships with LGBTQIA+ community members and seek to listen to their concerns, fears, and experiences. Seek to recognize their inherent worth and dignity without clarifying conditions.
- Support organizations that serve the LGBTQIA+ community.
- If your congregation openly affirms LGBTQIA+ people, make it more pronounced on your grounds and in your social media. It matters.
- Contact your legislators, especially your state ones.
- Support and vote for political candidates who protect LGBTQIA+ people.
- Run for office. We need more people in the State House who understand that everyone comes with human dignity and deserves to be treated as such.
- Use your social media to make clear your support for trans people and children specifically.
- Use your social media to make clear your support for all LGBTQIA+ people.
Above all, we hope you hear our message loud and clear: we want the world to know there are Christian churches and communities who are open and affirming, who proclaim God’s unconditional love and support for all, where everyone has a place and can come just as they are – including the marginalized. Including LGBTQIA+ people. Including trans kids. There are communities where you are seen, celebrated, and supported. CTS is one of those places, and we look forward to continuing to lift up the stories of our community as we serve God’s transforming of the world together.
- Learn more about current legislative bills in Indiana that challenge LGBTQIA+ dignity and how to help protect the rights of LGBTQ+ Hoosiers through the ACLU of Indiana, including how to contact your legislators, by clicking here.
- Read this article about dispelling myths about anti-LGBTQ legislation and gender-affirming care written by ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar by clicking here.
- Click here to learn more about Faith & Action Project grant organization Trinity Haven and the safe, welcoming, and affirming housing they provide for LGBTQ young adults experiencing housing instability.
- Learn more about Indiana Youth Group and the work they do to provide safer spaces for LGBTQ+ young people, including free programming for youth and providing LGBTQ+ Competency Training, by clicking here.
- Click here for a list of additional Transgender/Gender Diverse resources for seeking medical care, legal help, and other tools in Indiana.