Contribution to Queer Theology synchroblog 2018
I teach 10-year-olds for a living, and was chatting to Millie* today about books she loves. After talking Harry Potter for some time, she said, “See miss, I know they’re a bit babyish, but I still really like the Famous Five books. I just love George so much.”
Because everybody loves George. George is an icon of independence; of being able as a child to choose your identity despite the cis-heteronormativity of posh mid-20th century English culture; of breaking expectations and living the adventure.
For me, this is the essence of healthy queerness. For me to own my difference, to celebrate who God made me and live it to the full, this is a classic disruption of expectations. It pulls the rug from under those Christians who expect me to be broken and scared, because I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God, in whom God delights daily. I don’t need a theological breakdown of the clobber texts to justify my existence because God made me exactly the way God wanted me.
I do not need to conform to the pattern of this world, whether the secular world of materialism and tribalism, or the religious world of exclusivity and rule-keeping. I am being transformed daily by the renewing of my mind, seeing more of the generosity of God revealed in science and Scripture, in the lived experience of my friends, queer and straight.
The truth can set you free only when you can actually consider it. So many Christian friends are locked in a cage where they know they do not believe all that is preached from their pulpits, but they fear that if they question even one tenet, the whole house of cards will fall down. My very existence is proof that the love of God reaches far beyond any one interpretation of Scripture and is strong enough.
Queerness forces me to make choices, to forge my path in a way others don’t have to. The default options don’t work. As we make our way, we open doors of possibility for others feeling pressure to conform, or take the easy route.
Maybe even for Millie.
She’s not said whether she feels she may be trans or gay; she definitely does not conform to gender norms. But George and I, we’ll make it as easy as we can for Millie to make the choices that are best for her. We’ll show her it’s perfectly possible to be a happy, balanced, well-functioning human without having to live up to society’s expectations of gender stereotypes. I can show her the unconditional positive regard I’ve experienced from God every day I see her, and encourage her to live life’s adventure in all its fullness.
(*names have been changed obviously)