The laws happening in Texas targeting trans youth is absolutely breaking my heart. Our trans brothers and sisters (never mind youth) are already such a vulnerable community and they do not deserve this. I wish I could do or say more, & I am struggling. So I wrote this Blessing. Sending so much love to you, my trans friends.
A blessing for our beloved trans youth. (Who feel anything but, right now.)
May you, my magnificent trans friends, know that you are entirely exquisite.
May you have the courage to block out the hate, knowing that these voices, these laws, these lawmakers – they are the abusers.
May you inhale breath into your God-made lungs, and be filled with a profound sense of purpose. You are no mistake. You are perfect.
May you find a safe and soft shoulder to exhale all of this grief. Do not hold it in. This is not fair. This is not just. This is abhorrent.
May you reach out and connect with the many strong hands, wanting to keep you safe. Let us pull you away from despair. Let us remind you that you are loved and celebrate your very existence. May you know that anything else is a lie.
May you feel that for all the loud, hurtful voices, there are many other voices shouting our love & support into the ether. May your heart & soul absorb every last positive vibration.
May you embrace the innate beauty of your identity, and see yourselves as your Creator does. As I do. May it seep into your bones your intrinsic belovedness.
My trans brothers and sisters, I stand with you. I’m so sorry you are continually targeted for simply existing. May we never stop fighting for your right to feel safe, at home & beautiful in your own body.
We had a lovely conversation about queer books for kids and teens & why they are important. We also chatted about the writing process, since both of us wrote a memoir (her book Outlove, mine Still Stace) – how do you decide what to put in the book, and what not to? Julie is doing such great work for the LGBTQ community, I was so grateful for this conversation!
Well let me tell you what it means to ME – a queer Christian person.
Taking that step to be affirming, quite simply is like turning a light on a very, very dark path. Now, that light isn’t going to tell you how long the path is, or what direction to go. It’s also not going to tell you how treacherous the path is up ahead. But MAN, that light is going to make it a WHOLE LOT easier to see.
And it’s going to be a WHOLE LOT SAFER to keep walking. And having safe spaces to an LGBTQ person of faith, is like having a drink of cold water in the middle of a massive desert.
Now, let’s be clear. Becoming affirming isn’t the end of the journey, rather it is the beginning. It doesn’t mean the work or the learning is done. It doesn’t erase the years and years of deep hurt and trauma that the church as a whole has caused to gay people.
BUT it means, now we can acknowledge and grieve that TOGETHER. It means taking each other’s hand, and taking that first big step toward healing. Because we were CREATED for healing.
By saying you are affirming, it means you are saying to me and people like me: I SEE you and I CELEBRATE ALL of YOU as a child of God – your sexuality included.
PHEW! Let me tell you. That is REVOLUTIONARY to us. It always makes me emotional, because quite honestly, it does NOT legitimately happen very often. And when it does, it’s actually hard for our tender hearts to believe.
Because so many of us have been promised a real welcome, but when it comes right down to it, they were hiding a huge ASTERISK that allowed them a way out. I personally have been a part of that journey many times, and each time it happens, it chips away a little more of your soul.
So please, be gentle with our fragile & untrusting hearts.
For a church to actually FOLLOW THROUGH with being affirming – for us queer folks… it is life CHANGING.
It means that you are not just saying we have a seat at the table, but you are showing us where to sit.
As far as our (gay) research shows, there are over 100 churches here in Chilliwack, BC. Two of them that we know of are fully LGBTQ affirming. TWO. That’s less than 2%. Since moving here in the summer, many people (gay and straight) have asked if we have found a church here. There is a NEED for many more affirming churches in this community.
If your church wants to have this conversation, contact me.
If your church is struggling with this conversation, contact me.
If your church wants a gay Christian (yes we exist!) to speak about this from the pulpit so a pastor doesn’t have to – contact me.
If you are queer and go to an unaffirming church and want support, contact me.
If you are queer and you have left or been kicked out, I’m so sorry. I see you. I’m here if you need someone in your corner.
We need to change this. I will do what I can to help change this. We need more inclusive spaces in our churches. It’s not about comfort or being trendy.
Who’s marriage/relationship is really struggling right now?
In a prolonged pandemic, In the Polaroid of social media, In a perfection obsessed world, I want to be honest about the reality of what IS right now.
This season of marriaging (and parenting young kids) through a prolonged uncertain pandemic HAS BEEN THE VERY HARDEST.
I have been working from home FT since March 2020. That’s coming up on 2 solid years, and let’s be honest pals – no one is supposed to be around their spouse 24/7 forever, right?
This is no one’s fault. This is the result of this intensely difficult season. Bless, we are doing our best. We have therapists and close friends we confide in. And still – the words separation and divorce have come up.
But we aren’t giving up.
Instead of talking about it after the fact, I thought it might help to talk about it IN the fact. Let’s shine a light on this. This is hard. This is scary. If you feel that, I see you.
Maybe we too, want to know we aren’t alone in this struggle.
Here’s what we are trying:
Let bad days be bad days. Let good moments be good moments. Come together in the joy, the grief, the exhaustion. Give space as much as possible under the same roof. Create moments to be silly as much as possible. Be honest with what you need. Work on yourself, learn from the lessons this tough season is trying to teach you. Apologize, forgive, give grace. Keep going.
That’s what we are trying to do, every single day. That’s all we can do.
“HOMOSEXUALITY is sin, no doubt about it. And it’s the worst kind of sin because it twists our sexuality and tries to make us believe we could be something we are not. God created man to be with woman. That is black and white. Do not be deceived. Let us pray.”
My blood ran cold.
As I sat there in the wooden church pew next to the girl I had been secretly kissing (and more), it felt as if suddenly everyone knew. I stole a quick look at her, but she evaded my eyes. I felt as though I had forgotten how to breathe.
The pastor’s words were coursing through my veins like a drug my body was rejecting. There was my confirmation. Homosexuality is the worst kind of sin.
I closed my eyes in an attempt to calm myself, but all I saw were flashes of us. Me, lying on top of her, kissing her, and then a lightning bolt coming down from the heavens, careening us into a fiery pit. Was I destined for hell?
How could my body betray me like this, becoming so weak at the touch of another girl? How could my Jesus-loving heart allow such sinful desires to consume it?
I had heard shocked whispers about homosexuality in our church hallways, but never before in my youth group. Not until today.
How did I get here?
I loved being an Evangelical Christian. At my public school, I was pretty sure they called me “Christian Stace.” I was convinced that wearing overtly Christian-themed T-shirts and a cross necklace was going to bring my “secular” friends to Jesus.
But that was before Joanna’s soft lips pressed against mine for the first time, and my entire being buzzed with pleasure. Nothing seemed to matter after that—except more kissing.
When my lips were apart from Joanna’s and trying to pray instead, I was filled with equal parts shame and guilt. They were getting heavier by the minute. I felt so heavy after that sermon that I feared I might crash through the pew and onto the soft purple carpet.
I carried that foul burden for the next thirteen years. I had no tools, no support, and no understanding of what being gay meant. I had only ever known this straight, heteronormative Christian world, and my feelings were coming from an entirely different universe.
In my desperate attempts to free myself of this sin, I learned all about ex-gay ministries and about people who had apparently “prayed away the gay.” Christians in the ex-gay ministries spoke of “same-sex attraction” as a disease that spread rapidly.
I was definitely infected. I hated myself. I prayed, I kissed her, I prayed, I enjoyed sex with her, I prayed… It was an endless cycle of giving in to lust and lamenting that I was paying for it with my soul. But my prayers were futile. How could I live a life God would be proud of if I couldn’t cure this disease?
Looking back, I have a lot of compassion for my younger self. I was just trying to “fight the good fight.” Except it wasn’t good at all. I know God was grieving as I bullied and hated and tried to erase this beautifully creative and sweet part of myself.
My church had taught me that this sort of sin was too large, too ugly, too damaging to be forgiven. God despised homosexuality, so logically God must despise me.
This is not what I believe today. Today, I have a wife and two kids, and I stand fiercely proud and wholly beloved by God in this gorgeously gay body of mine. Today, I do a little preaching of my own: queer preaching. My sexuality used to be a thorn in my side that needed to be removed. Now I know that my sexuality enriches my faith.
Since coming out as a gay Christian in 2010, I have chosen to be visible: to speak up, to share, to challenge, to take up space in this world as I am, and not to exist quietly.
I never had someone to look up to, and I vowed that one day I would try to be the person that I needed when I was young. For gay Christians like me, being visible might save someone’s life. I loved my church community, but they were not able to love me back. It almost broke me. And it has broken too many other people.
So many harmful messages that the church has sent out are still ringing loudly in the ears of LGBT people. We have a lot of work to do to rebuild, reframe, and reclaim these messages as the beautifully beloved people that we are.
Stacey Chomiak illustrates & writes kids books. Her young adult illustrated memoir, “Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming-of-Age Story”, was recently published in October 2021 by Beaming Books. She lives happily nestled with her wife and two kids in Vancouver, Canada. Stacey identifies as a gay Christian and loves to have conversations around faith and sexuality.