All of the sudden…

This past week I have been uplifted and angry.

I am overjoyed that Union Theological Seminary students, staff, and faculty have come together to voice a positive and inclusive message to LGBTQ youth. The comments we have received have been heartfelt and grateful. One in particular says “This is the first and only message from Christians about LGBTQ people that I’ve ever heard that was supportive, loving and in the spirit of Christ. I am deeply moved and profoundly grateful for these words today. Thank you and God bless you.”

I am also deeply heartbroken and angry. Over the past week I have heard from friends and family who ask “what is happening all of the sudden?” To them, I reply, “all of the sudden? What do you mean all of the sudden?”

The media has recently started to pick up on the LGBTQ issues, most popular being violence and suicide. They are feeding off of these headlines, which gives them the ability to create revenue and promote themselves. In a few weeks the issue will most likely be dropped. This is another reason why it is important for the Christian community to speak up.

Yes, it took us hearing from the media to get this project going, I’ll admit that, but it comes at a time when we are aware of these two problems:
1. There aren’t many positive Christian messages of inclusion that are being heard and recognized outside of our safe churches and affirming communities
2. The media will use the stories of violence to promote themselves, because it sells, and soon it will all be forgotten. And, we in turn, will shake our heads and move on.

I must confess to being slightly complacent and comfortable on these issues over the past few years, excusing myself for being young and thinking that someone, somewhere was already doing the work. However, I realize that my ability to reach out to the community is supported by the Seminary and I have access to resources for networking and sharing compassionate stories of hope and love. It was most regrettable that there were no headlines from churches or religious leaders across the country speaking against hate crimes, hate language, exclusion, quality of education, equal rights, youth and young adult services, etc, etc, etc… It is devastating.

Please, let’s all work together and create an on going positive Christian message to our communities so we do not have to ever answer “what is happening all of the sudden?”

–Stephenie Stovall