I am a celibate lesbian woman who has enjoyed ordained ministry in many settings — in rural and urban settings — in two Affirming churches, in team and as the single paid minister. At two churches, my summer student placement and the Regina Affirming church, I decided to be “out”. Since I didn’t have a partner and did conclude the environments would be safe I haven’t been out at all of my churches. Needless to say, I have found the intention of Affirming Churches exciting and welcoming. In Ottawa, I could attend a vibrant lesbian potluck group that went out of their way to welcome “newbies”. In Regina the LGBT chorus met in the church where I ministered. The choir which I joined and delighted in was a ministry to me. Equally, because of my fear of rejection, and my own internalized homophobia at the churches when they could barely express the words “gay” and “lesbian”. I was extra sensitive.
One church member in a rural church told me the whole high school was talking about me. Probably because my partner at the time attended my 3 point charge… one church at a time. She lived in a house we co-habited in together in Regina. I created immense internal stress and paranoia. I found just attending the cafe with her scary.
To educate about homophobia there — I never found the courage. But after I left, a lesbian couple came to minister and lived in the manse... for three years!
My daughter is married to a transgendered person. I am courageous and passionate about challenging homophobia but have had varying courage to do so.
[Shared with permission. Photo credit: Wix stock photo.]