Psalm 139 reminds us all that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” It’s an affirmation of reminding us that each and every one of us is created in a fully divine image.
With the changing public square and the legitimate fears many minorities have, we need those affirmations to remind us that each and every human is divinely inspired.
A couple of weeks ago, my seminary education and my queer identity took me to the dedication of a historical marker in downtown Kansas City, MO that commemorated the start of what we now call the LGBTQ movement. It celebrates a national meeting of 40 organizations who met to create a strategy to strive for full inclusion of the LGBTQ folk in our society.
The dedication featured the typical pomp and circumstance with speeches from local politicians and activists as well as a performance from the Heartland Men’s Chorus, the local gay men’s chorus that I have been a member.
That night a friend from that chorus took his own life. A light in this world, one who was one of the first people I have met who demonstrated contagious, spiritual joy. He performed in concerts specifically designed to combat bullying and prevent suicide. Yet, he died by his own choice! It was a shock to all of us who mourn him. Worse, his reasons are not clear. Instead, those who loved him were left with only questions: Why? He was always so happy; how can this be? After the questions came the if onlys and what ifs: If only I had called him more, seen him more, been there for him. What if I had just sent him a message?
In my own processing of loss, I found myself wondering if he suffered internalized homophobia –that feeling of self-doubt, shame or worthlessness that comes from believing homophobic rants of others. It is believing those things that question our own Divine image.
In the reality of the recent election, I think that is why positive visibility of queer individuals in media is so important. How we show the complexity of television show characters, for example, is vital to show the normalcy of being queer. GLAAD just put out a report showing the percentage of characters on major network TV shows who are LGBTQ. They are at an all time high however, it could be better pointing out how these shows fall short in their portrayals of queer women.
It’s why Gay and Lesbian choruses, historical markers, and positive media portrayal matter. They are continuing affirmations of how we as members of the Queer community also bear a part of God’s creation. We were made in “our mother’s wombs,” are part of God’s works and, called “good.”
May we see those works in ourselves.