Sexuality and Gender-Labels

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I was born into a world where gender stereotypes were clearly defined. There were clear expectations of appropriate interests and activities for boys and girls. It wasn’t just that boys will be boys; boys must be boys.

My Christian home and background was always strong and supportive. When I grew up as a man I would get a job and get married. Women became ‘housewives’… All was simple and straightforward.

Messages about homosexuality were confusing and mixed. Sometimes it was a joke – Larry Grayson, the ‘camp’ comedian or character; sometimes it was a term of abuse implying you were less than a man; sometimes it was an illegal activity that you mustn’t talk about. There was a lot of ignorance and prejudice.

Many things have changed since then. Attitudes are very different; there’s a greater awareness of differences; the law has changed; what was simple has become more complex.

Schools have had to reconsider what’s ‘normal’… what should be taught in what used to be called ‘sex education’; hospitals are having to consider different forms of treatment and surgeries; the church is faced with real challenges that it wouldn’t have faced in the past.

I look back on many conversations that have influenced my thinking…

  • …gay friends who grew up with insecurity and prejudice, not daring to ‘come out’…
  • …Christian friends with gay children – anxious that other Christians would judge and wouldn’t understand…
  • …Jacob – who I used to know as Wendy; why he transitioned…
  • …church leaders who express ignorance and prejudice…

And the lessons that I am continuing to learn…?

…To listen better: hearing people’s stories, understanding their journeys, differences struggles, feelings, beliefs.

…To talk more. being open in discussion, not sweeping issues under the carpet, being humble and confessing ignorance.

…To apply my faith better: reading my Bible carefully, balancing clear moral standards with compassion and inclusion.

…To return again to the good, true, beautiful story of God that is for everybody.

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