A Response To Our Supporters

Last night a friend sent me a guest-blog to publish on our site which began with a statement declaring “I am gay, Side A affirming, and fully support equal protection under the law,” and followed with his explanation of why he wholeheartedly supports the work of LOVEboldly.  I refused to publish it.  I won’t allow him to out himself in a way which will ostracize him from one of his current faith communities and damage his future permanently.  Not for me.  Certainly not for LOVEboldly.

Yesterday, after we released a “A Response To Our Critics”, we received some negative feedback.  We had expected this.  What I hadn’t expected was the overwhelming barrage of texts, Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and face to face conversations with people, like this friend, who were outraged by those who have made false accusations or assumptions about our work, intentions, and beliefs.  I hadn’t expected to hear so much from those who were hurting by responses they read which made them feel, yet again, that even Christians won’t afford them the grace they need to exist outside of either the Gay Rights or Religious Right boxes.  And I certainly didn’t expect to hear so many thanking us for holding the middle ground we stand in, encouraging us, and pleading with us to continue being that voice.

Many agree that framing the conversation differently than the traditional rights-based approach is precisely what is needed to make progress towards healing the divide between the church and the LGBT community.  A few of these folks wrote these things publicly yesterday.  But most of them stayed the silent majority because they were too angry in the moment to form responses they could feel proud of, or because they are still closeted, or because they just didn’t want to get brutalized by those who would misdirect anger towards LOVEboldly onto them.  I don’t blame them.

We will continue to honor those who are very angry at us, and those who strongly oppose us, no matter how ugly things get, and we will constantly work to come to the table with them, resolve our differences, and find a way forward.  But I refuse to divert our focus onto those conversations with the negative minority who don’t understand our mission and don’t want to.

This post is for our supporters.  You matter.  I write tonight to say “thank you” to all who have stood by us through trying times, who have sent encouraging messages, who have been enraged on our behalf just because you love us as much as we love you.  For all the bold and brave folks who have supported us, and for those who have hung with us when they were skeptical of our work, thanks!  You are the reason we won’t be discouraged.  You have changed our lives.  You inspire us every day.  I am more excited and determined to move forward than ever, and it’s because of you!

Many have asked, “What Can I Do To Help?”  The answer is simple.  Get out a pen and a paper and write a sentence or two telling us why LOVEboldly matters to you, or why you believe in the work we are doing.  Email that statement to us (loveboldlynow@gmail.com) along with your first name (if you want it mentioned) and the city and state you live in.  Or, leave it in the comments below.  We will be publishing these on our site.

I want all of the positivity I received to be heard by the rest of the LOVEboldly family, and by all of our followers – critics and supporters alike.   Some folks, discouraged by the conversations of the past few days, desperately need to hear that they are not alone in their middle ground, and that this is a safe place for them.  So please share!  Two minutes of your time – it’s all I ask for.  I can’t wait to hear your responses.


17 thoughts on “A Response To Our Supporters

  1. Heidi: Martin Luther King stood firmly for the principle of equality under law for ALL people, so it’s a bit ironic that you would choose his words and image to support taking a “middle ground” on an issue that he took a clear stand on.

    I suppose I am one of those people you are referring to as “critics” of LOVEboldly because you refuse to support that fundamental right of equality under law.

    But I don’t think I have ever said “ugly” things about you. I have said that it frustrates and confuses me that you seem to think this is an issue of “gay rights” or “religious rights” boxes. It is not.

    This transcends “boxes” of any type. ALL people –regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion — deserve equal treatment under law. Why would anyone “plead” with you not to support that basic civil, human and Constitutional right?

  2. I too am confused. I have seen no ugliness. My question for you and your supporters is how is not taking a stance on equality a middle ground?

  3. I know that I am one of the “critics” being addressed in this post. I stated clearly that I was disappointed, but I certainly never said anything “ugly.”

    Today, I will state again that I am disappointed…and a bit stunned…and offended that Dr. Martin Luther King would be used for the non-committal goals of this group. Unlike Lovebodly, Dr. King was always clear about his stance for equality. His Christian faith moved him to action, not compromise.

    Would he support GLBT rights today? I believe he absolutely would. Regardless of how uncomfortable it would make those in the church.

    The truth is, Dr. King was fighting for the right of the black people, which of necessity, meant that white people would be uncomfortable. He wanted unity, but his primary mission was justice. “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

    And while Dr. King advocated a non-violent approach, that did not mean it was not confrontational. Blacks entered businesses that did not want them there…and clearly had signs which said they were not welcomed. I remember those signs. Some whites who were in those places would feel violated and even threatened, though no violence was intended. Justice was not discussed…it was demanded.

    And make no mistake. In the end, Dr. King did not care what people thought about the morality of the movement and his stance for equality; he knew it was right and worked to change the laws…regardless of how people felt. He said: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

    Yes, I do think Dr. King would be actively involved in today’s gay rights struggle. And his wife agreed. Coretta Scott King said “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice… But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ … I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

  4. Love Boldly is a link in a woven section of society that’s existence allows neutral and unbiased opinions in the LGBT community.!.I for one think it is an amazing organization that allows fellowship and understanding to both “sides of the fence “!Being a proud transgendered individual I can see nothing but good things from this organization and or it’s members.!.The idea of conformity to either side shows no civility to the opposition opinion which then makes each or both take a step back.!. I have met many people through the organization that I may have not met without the hard work and dedication of the organization and it’s leaders.There is much to be learned for all of everyone will take the time to listen … I am lending not only my voice but my ear … Perhaps others should take time to listen and then make an objective opinion … No one can tell me that I’m not in the fight because I live it daily as a trans woman in Kentucky … God bless all … ((Mwahs)) ~Lu~

    • Lu I am glad to finally hear from someone in LGBT community that supports LB. Your post here was very vague so excuse me for asking follow up questions. I don’t want you to think it is an attack on you. Do you think you are making any difference with LB? It seems to me it isn’t changing minds of those in the church. In fact I noticed one of the people who liked Heidi’s post had blog post after blog post about how to minister to our community. Having those type of people involved along with not taking a stance makes people like myself very leery. Has any one at any event try to minister to you to show the errors of your ways?

      • Lu: I think you misunderstand the point we are raising. We are grateful that groups like LOVEboldy are reaching our with compassion and understanding — trying to help the church be less homophobic and rejecting. That is a VERY good thing.

        By urging LOVEboldly to support the principle of equality under law for ALL people, we are not suggesting that LOVEboldly “conform” — only that they stand for the principle of fairness, justice and the right of ALL people to be treated equally under law.

  5. This is not in reference to any of the previous comments but rather to the article. As for me, I want to say thank you to love boldly. Thank you for taking hits from both sides to create space for a conversation that must be had. As for me, I gained a lot from your work. If anything, just having the opportunity to listen has opened my eyes to so many things I had no idea about. Thank SO MUCH for focusing on conversation rather than changing people. My time spent listening to the wisdom of those leading love boldly and participating in the many conversations of diverging views impacted my life profoundly. Thank you. You all have done something many others have been too afraid to do, so thank you.

  6. I am a Side A member of the LGBT community, and I definitely support the work that LoveBoldly is doing.
    I have realised that the most productive way of conversing with Christians who disagree with me on this issue (and others) is to come from the standpoint that we are not in opposition to one another, but are seeking the will of God together. At the moment we disagree about what we believe the will of God might be, but we have a shared purpose in finding the truth together. I realised that most people who disagree with me are not trying to be hurtful – they are just doing what they believe to be right because they love God (just like I am!) I’ve also found that when I listen to others, they are more inclined to listen to me too.
    LoveBoldly has helped me to remember to have this attitude of grace when conversing with others, and I really value what they are doing.

    • Thank you Sian! I hope you will be able to receive some of the harsher comments with grace, realizing that there is space for you to have your own thoughts on these topics, even when some LGBT folks may marginalize, exclude, or demean you for the grace and belief you have extended to us. We are thankful for your voice and participation in the conversation!

      • Heidi, I continue to be troubled at how you portray those of us who are urging you to support equality under law for all people. How is that “harsh”? How is that hateful? How does that “marginalize, exclude, or demean” anyone? On the contrary, to support the principle of justice and equality under law (as Martin Luther King courageously did)is inclusive and elevating. It proclaims that ALL people, regardless of their religious beliefs or sexual orientation, are entitled to the same rights.

  7. “The board members of LOVEboldly have reached varying conclusions about this and some of us are still in the process of trying to reconcile what we think and believe about living sexually in a way that honors God and others. However, no matter our diversity on faithful Christian standards for sexual behavior, we maintain that sexual orientation is not inherently sinful.”

    It’s a very difficult thing to represent an organization that has its focus on diverse viewpoints about a challenging and divisive issue like marriage equality.

    How could your organization take a stand one way or the other? It would mean that one or more of your team would be signing off on something they do not believe. This wouldn’t make sense.

    I’ve found that when I have the freedom to think for myself, and to dialogue within a safe and non-critical atmosphere, I change, my heart changes, my views will change. I believe these changes are most often for the better in my own personal life and hopefully the changes will spill over in my ability to love people better.

    But as individuals, each of us do have a stand that we believe in. I also know that we often change our viewpoints. I wonder what would happen of LoveBoldly would post stories of the individuals involved that include their personal views? Then, what would happen if those stories merged into what truly makes up LoveBoldly, that is a diverse community of respect and dialogue? Might it be possible if you did this that you would each personally represent the very ministry that you espouse to lead?

    There are other organizations that also attempt to be bridge builders. They are similar in that they do not take a stand as an organization, and their staff and close participants also do not share their personal convictions or viewpoints. This is disconcerting for me. It seems sinister, or distrustful. I know that you each of you that have an opinion.

    Maybe some of your critics would feel more connected to LoveBoldly if something like this would emerge.

    “LoveBoldly as an organization made up of people of faith who work every day on our relationships knowing that we disagree on things like marriage equality. We find ways to build bridges into each other’s lives. It is our hope that through our own experience we can help you to do the same. To love one another deeply knowing that you disagree on some very significant matters.”

    And then make public their differing opinions to reveal how you are able to accomplish loving each other.

    Heidi, if I knew you were deeply convicted that gay people should remain celibate or marry the opposite sex and yet you still respected me and loved me even knowing I am in a gay relationship, that would mean something to me. But remaining noncommittal causes insecurity and questions that actually create somewhat of a divide between us. I’m hesitant at times with you because I’m not sure where you are coming from. I wonder what you are thinking in your private space and therefore I feel insecure about where your love is actually coming from. I don’t know what your opinion really is. I can handle whatever you may think or believe, but not knowing can be a challenge.

    It is possible that your critics may feel the same way I do. Maybe this is where some of the tension comes from.

    • John,
      As always, I appreciate your honest feedback and have been grateful for your friendship over the past several years. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation tonight and thank you for the kind way you pose difficult and pointed questions. I think you have a good understanding of the complexities, and am thankful enough trust has been built in our relationship where we can discuss these things honestly. I invite your continued questions and concerns.

  8. I am so very grateful to have become aware of LoveBoldly and the work you’re doing to let EVERYONE know that they are loved by God.
    I’m a KY girl raised in the Baptist faith and for so many years was taught what ‘sinners’ other people are who are different from me and that God couldn’t love anyone until they ‘change their evil ways.’ It took me nearly 50 years to learn that teaching was incorrect … GOD IS LOVE, God loves everyone.
    I even carried that teaching into my own life, so, when I became aware my friend of 30 years was ‘different,’ was a transgender individual I told her what I had been taught for so many years, “You’re a freak.” It took me several years to realize that the wonderful person I’d shared a 30-year relationship with was still the same wonderful person they had always been — knowing them as a transgender person changed me, not them.
    I see your work as a wonderful ministry to tell EVERYONE of God’s love … I know LoveBoldly seems to be focused on the GLBT community, but believe that is the community that needs this message the most because GLBT persons are the ones who have been told for so long they are unlovable. Thank you so very much for sharing God’s love with EVERYONE … especially sharing with those who so many others have turned away.

    aka Alana’s Spouse

    • Bobbie, thank you so much for your kind words. I just love you and Alana to death! I’m so glad you are part of our community. I am the one who feels grateful to YOU, for the ways you have welcomed us into your lives and supported and encouraged us in a hundred different ways since we first met. Thank you for your faith in us, but most of all, for your friendships! HUGS!

  9. To all of the leaders of LOVEboldy: Please watch this video. And then ask yourselves, “How can we continue to refuse to support equality under law?”

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