Affirming the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, two-spirited people, and their supporters in the Catawba Valley region of North Carolina

Q&A

Q:  Why do gays and lesbians need a pride day?

A: For many centuries gays and lesbians have been persecuted. We have been told that somehow our love is unnatural or even evil. Even though we’ve come a long way, gays and lesbians are still fired from their jobs, beaten in the streets and the brunt of cruel jokes. Some people think we’re an abomination, but we think we’re just fine.

Gay Pride is our day to say, “We’re here. We’re proud of who we are. We’re celebrating ourselves, no matter what the rest of you think.”

Q: Who will see me?

A:
If you are just coming out of the closet, you may fear that someone you know may see you and recognize you. This may happen, but here are some things to keep in mind. First, if they see you, they are there too. Most gay and gay-friendly people will not out you to others without your permission.

Second, many people attend gay pride events, gay and straight. Just because you are at a gay pride event, does not speak definitively to your sexual orientation. You can have an answer prepared, such as, ‘I’m here to support my gay friend,” or “I’m writing a paper on gay marriage for English class.” Chances are you won’t need to use your excuse.

Q: What if there are protesters
A: Some gay pride events attract protesters, people who think being gay is wrong or a sin. Some gay and lesbian supporters like to get into debates or screaming matches with protesters. My advice is to just ignore the protesters and have a good time.

Q: Can I go to gay pride if I’m straight?
A: Yes! Gay Pride is a celebration.  Go to watch or you can even join in the activities. One of the largest contingents at many pride events is the Parents Friends and Families of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG). Consider holding a sign that says, “Straight but not Narrow,” or “I love my gay friends, sister, mother, brother, co-worker… Whatever!”Go check it out. You’ll probably have a great time!

– The above responses are from About.com

Q:  How should I deal with people who use the Bible to “prove” their hatred of homosexuals is justified?

A: Perhaps this clip from The West Wing will help…

…and this clip from the 2007 documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So”

Q:  I know that I am an old fogey, and behind the times, but I haven’t encountered the term “two-spirited” before seeing it in the Pride mission. Could you please explain that term to this old geezer?

A: The “two-spirit” was a sort of Native American transgender person who wore the clothing of the “opposite” sex. Two-spirits were highly regarded and respected as artisans, craftspeople, child rearers, couples counselors and tribal arbiters, and yet, one of the reasons they got respect was out of fear, because two-spirits were considered to be touched by the spirits and considered to have powers on the order of a shaman. [1]

Today, The two-spirit identity theory is an inclusive concept that can be used and applied to different groups of people who have faced exclusion from society.[2] Much more in-depth information is available online through various sources.

Comments on: "Q&A" (12)

  1. Michelle said:

    I totally agree with Pastor Calvin & I 100% love the Scriptures he quoted !!! God’s word is a tool to help people not beat them to death. God is love & His love was shown through His Son Christ our Lord. Thank you Pastor & God bless 🙂

  2. Lindsay in Mooresville said:

    Is there any chance Catawba Pride might consider adding “Pansexual” to their description?
    I have nothing against those who identify as “Bisexual”, but I simply do not identify that way. For me, attraction isn’t inclusive of gender, but rather inclusive of people, with gender not even being a factor. I know that there are many others who feel this way who do not identify as Bisexual, and we often feel a bit left out bu organizations that don’t include “Pansexual” or at least “Queer” in their mission statements. Queer is a decent catchall, if you want to be less specific, since it covers a lot of variant genders and sexualities.
    Thanks for considering this,
    Lindsay

  3. I am responding to all of God’s people who are “tiredofitall”.

    I became a christian and a minister as a young teenager almost 40 years ago. Through 40 years of ministry I have seen person after person struggle with who they are and how they balance that with Christianity. First, we must all understand and embrace that God is LOVE I John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”. God does not love conditionally. We did nothing to get God’s love and there is nothing that we can do or be that stop God from loving us. God’s love is unconditional. Secondly, we are all wonderful creations of God. “In that I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”.—Ps 139:14
    Every person!!!regardless of their sexual orientation – Is loved by God and seen as something wonderful in God’s eyes.
    That is WHOSOEVER. (period) John 3:16 is for whosoever. “God love the world so much He gave His only Son that WHOSOEVER could believe would have Life in Him.” Jesus Christ made ‘Christianity simple and inclusive’ by giving us the greatest commandment: Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Bottom line Christianity is LOVE. There are so many different opinions, one person says do this do that, another says this or that but one thing is sure God is Love.
    The struggle that one may feel may be difficult – if one feels they are hiding something or if they feel that someone or family would not love them if they revealed their true self. These are the same feelings millions of other persons have felt and have successfully come through the struggle. The most important thing is to Love God and Love others. Seek God first and He will work everything out. Coming out as a christian gay person is a process and a journey. I know Christian teenagers who have come out openly, I know ministers who have come out and I know adult Christians who are wrestling with how to come out. That is an individual decision, process and journey. But in your journey NEVER let go of the fact that God loves you as you are.
    There is a Gay Youth Support Group forming in Hickory, there are good professional counselors who understand – these may be a good resource. In addition, there are churches in Hickory that unconditionally accept persons who are gay. But most of all God accepts you. If I may point out the statements made by “tiredofitall” I am christian and I am gay. Notice you know who you are – God knows who you are and loves you – although others may not know who you are. Many people know they are christian and gay. What is most important is that everyone knows that God loves everyone THAT includes YOU – just as you are.
    In Christ
    Pastor Calvin Vaughn
    Unifour Christian Fellowship Church
    http://www.ucfc.net
    336-749-0816

    • i think gay people slhuod be allowed to marry eachother and have it called marrage. I think its just discriminating when they dont allow it to be called marrage just because the two people are of the same sex. Marrage is supposed to be the union of two people who love eachother, it slhuodnt matter what your gender is.

  4. Kessiah Young said:

    I was very moved by your openess about your struggles as a young man realizing you are Christian and gay. I am in seminary or Divinity school to be a teacher/pastor. I also knew at a very young age around 4 or 5 that I was different (gay). I would love to talk with you anytime. I am the youth pastor for two churches, Abundant Grace Church in Granite Falls and St. Jude Community Church in Winston Salem. We have ages 16-28 in our group and a wide mixture of gay and straight young adults. We’d love for you to join us. Please contact me: Kessiah Young (828) 994-1783. I love to text or you can call or email: kessiahandstephanie@gmail.com

    I know it is hard to find your way in this world, but God did make you just who you are. We can help you grow in who you are. In fact, I had a very similar experience in my life as a Highschool basketball player dealing with coming out when I was 17. We love you! Jesus died for you too. He accepts and loves you and scripture does back this up. I would be happy to show you in the Bible all the wonderful things God has to say about you!

  5. Stephanie young said:

    Tiredofitall….
    I want to let u know that I realized I liked girls when I was very young but had no idea what it meant until I was 16 years old when I met this amazing girl who was also 16 and we fell in love and started dating. The problem was the same for me so I hid my happy relationship and felt like as long as no one else knew about us it was ok. My mom found a letter from her and started putting things together and I was so scared of being outcast by my family I chose to let her go, ended up pregnant at 17 and in a long abusive relationship. I was fortunate enough to meet back up with her when I was 33 and realized our love had never died and I needed her so badly in my life I didn’t care what I had to do to keep her. The problem by this time was that I now had not only my parents to tell but also four sons! It was hard even then but eventually everyone came around. My advice to you is to be true to yourself at some point. God loves you for who you are because he made u who u are! Trust me it is easier for your parents to know you and love u for who u really are than for u to pretend to be someone you are not knowing that they don’t love the real you but an actor who you have become. I am a gay Christian and there are many more of us out here in the world who will help u in any way possible. I know u are at a tough age now and acceptance is huge for u at this time but please understand that if U can’t learn to accept yourself for who u are and for who god loves, no one else’s acceptance will mean much to you anyway. Right now u are a gay Christian and that is truly something to be proud of!! Hang in there and let me know if u want to talk more sometime! I will pray for u!!

  6. tiredofitall said:

    I am 16 and believe I am a Christian. I am very active in my Baptist Church and so is my family. When the doors are open we are expected to be there. I know that I’m gay and have been having a hard time with figuring it out cause I’ve had to do it alone. I don’t look gay, I’m on the baseball team and I even pretend to have a “girlfriend”. She is just a girl that I’ve been friends with for a long time and we just hang out. She is ok with us being just friends and we haven’t kissed or anything and she has never tried but I know she probably thinks I’m weird because I’ve never tried anything with her. I’ve known I was different since I was 4 or 5. I’ve prayed and prayed and asked why He made me this way and I still don’t know. I do not like that I have to lie to my family and to my friends. I feel like I AM a lie. I am afraid that my parents will hate me and make me leave. I don’t know what I would do then. I was surprised when I saw on here that there are churches envolved with your pride. I thought that if you are gay you can’t be a Christian. That’s why I did’t want to be gay because first most I know I am a Christian and I don’t want to give that up. Can you be both?

    • tiredofitall,

      First and foremost let me assure you that you can in fact be both. I would direct you to a passage in the Bible you are likely familiar with that was recommended to me by a pastor in my time of confusion. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I do not pretend to know why we are gay but I do know that in this passage he does not qualify. There are many passages in scripture that discuss human behavior that we now know are not necessarily accurate or relevant. I believe the time will come to see this for LGBT persons as well. In the meantime there is a new youth group forming in this area for LGBT young people and I have attached our email as well as our Facebook page. Please know that it does get better, parents, friends and family often adjust, high school ends, and in general life improves. I would strongly suggest seeking out pastor Calvin Vaughan of Unifour Christian Fellowship church as well as Pastor David Thomas of Abundant Grace church. Both are very knowledgeable on this subject and quite helpful. Also check out http://www.whosoever.org. it is a wonderful resource for gay christians. Feel free to email OUTright for any other questions or concerns.

      Best,
      David

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catawba-Valley-Out-Right-Youth/139647562714558?ref=sgm

    • Dear Tiredofitall,

      My heart feels deeply as I hear the hurt, confusion, and isolation you have shared as you reach out for answers. The good news is YES you can be a Christian who happens to also be created gay. God loves you and you are a blessed child of God. I admire your strength and courage to reach out to find connections and answers….you are speaking up for many others who still have not found the voice to share where the are or how they feel. Thank you!

      I would love to share there are lots of great local and online resources out there and know you are NOT alone. Some of the resources around this area are Catawba Valley Out Right Youth (have a FB page); http://www.gaychurch.org which list the local gay affirming churches (there are over 5 I know of in the Catawba/Burke/Caldwell area), and WOW Ministry who offers Christian coffee/conversation Bible topic times at local coffee house in Hickory see their FB page for more details or email me at wowministryinfor@gmail.com. Main thing is to get connected…to keep reaching out.

      You are God’s beloved child who is saved by the same grace, mercy, and unconditional love given at the cross for all to accept. You are in my prayers…Blessings!

      http://www.facebook.comhickory-nc/WOW-Ministry

    • Dear Tiredofitall:
      I can really relate to everything you are saying. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, gave my heart to the Lord at five years of age, felt the call to the ministry when I very young, but I also knew there was something different going on deep inside me. I loved girls but it was never the same kind of love that I had for guys. I gradually figured out that what my best friend was feeling about his girl friend was the way I was feeling about him.
      I became suicidal at one point in my life because I was tired of it all! I made the commitment to serve God with all I was and then the Lord graciously brought me books and other christians that helped me understand that the Lord made me this way, wanted me to be gay but to live in such a way that glorified Him. I now know that a person can be gay, have a lifelong committed relationship and still be sold out to Jesus. I pastor a church called Abundant Grace Church in Granite Falls. If you would like to talk to someone, you can call me at 828-638-0566. I know how crazy it can get sometimes: the fear of those important to you finding out and rejecting you, the desire to please God but finding Bible verses that seem to say that you are evil and your heart is perverted but you really can be true to God, true to the Scriptures and true to the way God made you. I will pray for you that you find the peace that only Jesus can give (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15).

  7. Barney Barnhardt said:

    What exactly is/are “two spirited people?”

    This is NOT intended to be an improper and/or disrespectful question. I have never seen or heard that term used as related to gay people.

    Thanks

    • admin said:

      No disrespect at all in asking since we learn from our questions. It is a closed mind that harbors fear and hatred.

      “Two-Spirited” is a Native American term which “refers to a belief among some tribes that there are people who manifest both masculine and feminine spiritual qualities. According to Native American scholars, many tribes once revered Two-Spirits, viewing them as a third gender with a special spiritual connectedness. In these tribes, Two-Spirits filled important tribal roles as counselors, storytellers and healers.”

      – from an article by By Shadi Rahimi, Pacific News Service

      http://www.imdiversity.com/villages/native/dialogue_opinion_letters/pns_gay_twospirits_0305.asp

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Catawba Valley Pride, Inc.                       PO Box 3551, Hickory, NC 28603