Ah the Bible. Some will say it was the source of all my woes. I mean as a gay guy in America, folks used the Bible as the source book for a lot of the homophobia I faced and then piled onto myself. But could the very same collection of ancient stories be useful in overcoming anti-LGBTQ trauma?
I reflect on this notion in a new personal essay I published on BelieveOutLoud. I remember how when I first came out, there was a flutter of activity about “gay” Bible characters.
… in 1999 many gay Christians and queer scholars were asking, “Who is gay/lesbian in the Bible?” Some pointed to Jonathan and David. Others to Ruth and Naomi. There were rumors of a gay Roman Centurion.
I understood why people were on a quest to find gay Bible characters.
After years of being bashed by scripture, people needed affirmation. Many of us wanted to defend ourselves from the many negative attacks from folks hurling Bible verses like poison darts. After spending nearly 20 years receiving harmful conversion therapy, I too needed Biblical recovery.
For me though I was disinterested in gay and lesbian characters. Rather I felt curious about the other queer folks in the Bible, the gender non-conforming ones. Maybe t because of the bullying I experienced came in the form of Gender Policing. I bumped up against rigid gender codes when I played on the playground, then when I sat in the pew at churches, and even years later when I hung out with the gays over brunch. These enforced gender rules and the supreme value of masculinity soak all the worlds where I sought to belong. Ah, but in the Bible there are people who trouble gender, and to me that is Good News.