The word queer is a difficult term. For some, it is a painful word. One filled with hatred and homophobia. A pejorative term. For others it is an all-encompassing term to describe anyone in the sexuality alphabet soup. And still for others, it is there self-assigned term of identification. As one who is not a huge fan of labels and yet exists within a world where labels are the norm and are expected, this is the term that I choose to use to identify myself.
I do not believe in the gender binary. I believe that gender is fluid. A person should not be defined by their parts, but rather their hearts. Personally, it is a person’s heart or rather their personality that attracts me and not their genitalia, or the gendered characteristics. Those that are fans of labels might label me as being pansexual or omnisexual. In the past I have dated those that are cis-female and cis-male. I have been attracted to people in transition, people that are androgynous, and people that identify as genderfluid.
I am in a relationship with a cis-man. I will be marrying him next year. So if I am going to be in what looks like your run of the mill heterosexual marriage, why does my sexuality or sexual orientation matter? Sexuality is part of what makes us us. It is an important part of who we are. My sexuality and my involvement with the greater queer community is a huge part of who I am. I am done hiding this part of myself.
When I was fourteen years old I sat my father down and explained to him that I liked boys and girls. This was not taken well. I honestly believe this greatly attributed to the sudden rapid escalation of his alcoholism and thereby his admittance to a detox facility and continuous bouts in rehabs. At the time, the only people aware of my sexuality were myself, the girl I was with, and a friend. Perhaps it was my tomboyish nature or something else that gave it away, but a walked into school one day to find DYKE carved into my locker. Until the end of my time in college I did not tell another person that my interest was in more than just boys.
I am called to ministry. I have no doubts about it. However, my call does not lie within the white walls and stained glass of a church. My call is a bit messier than that. My call is to work with homeless LGBTQ youth. I do not know if my governing body will support my call. But it is a call that I cannot deny for any reason. As one who identifies as a member of the community, one who has dealt in many ways with rejection, as one who was abandoned, as one who was neglected, as one who has dealt with the family courts system, and as one who is now in a place where I can help others, and it a place where God is working in my life to help youth, I must.
Queer is a difficult word. It holds so many meanings for different people. But it is a term that I place upon myself. It is my term. It is the term for the kids I work with and hope to continue working with. Queer is me.