I have drafted this piece three times. Each time I delete it because of how difficult it is and because I constantly feel like I lack the right words to explain what I want. My feminism means fighting for myself and everyone to be able to occupy any and all spaces we choose to with safety and comfort; to freely be and live one’s truth.
I am Christian. And I am queer. Two aspects that almost never intersect. One aspect being something I have struggled to accept and own for a very long time. The reason being the fact that for decades, Christians have persecuted and oppressed queer people in the most horrific ways. In his book ‘What’s so amazing about Grace’ Philip Yancey reckons that the church is where we seek to find grace but unfortunately the church is where “ungrace” thrives. The Christianity we are subjected to does not accommodate queer culture and queer folk and as a result, queer people steer away from Christians as much as they can. It’s been particularly difficult for me because my queerness is not something I can choose to not be part of me and my Christianity is something I consciously and very passionately desire and fight for. And I want to be able to be loudly Christian and queer with both my Christian friends and my queer circles.
In an effort to fuse both of these worlds, I had to go back to the basics and question of what Christianity means to me and what it should stand for. Christianity is about being like Christ; emulating his heart and his actions, and not the world and religion forced upon us before His coming. I believe that God sent Christ on earth so that He himself could experience firsthand the trials and tribulations of being human, so that God could have an understanding of us and all our complexities. Being Christ-like, to me, means embracing virtues taught by Him. Love, goodness, kindness, patience, understanding, being gentle and caring and so on. Christ was a strong advocate against the self righteous, bigoted, holier than thou judgmental folk which unfortunately happen to be the Christians of today. Christianity isn’t about how many passages in the Bible one can quote, or how often one goes to church, it isn’t about calling other human beings abominations and sinners just because you disagree with their lifestyle. You don’t have to have an understanding of one’s lifestyle and/or choices in order to be kind and loving to them.
Christ embraced all kinds of people, even those that did not subscribe to His religion; he went against all the written rules/commandments that the Pharisees so strongly held onto and went out of his way to show love and care for all. In studying all of this, I also came to the realization that true virtues of Christianity are no different from our own African traditional virtues. God is God, regardless of the religion you subscribe to. It is us who have corrupted it to fit and suit us and give us power to oppress those we don’t seem fit. God doesn’t have a problem with who I choose to have sex with, it is those who’ve appointed themselves gatekeepers of Christianity that do.
Most queer folk practice the tenets of Christianity better than we Christians do, and that is a shame. Its so hard to be Christian when the Christianity practiced by some is full of disgrace, anger, hostility, judgement and discomfort. Christianity has been used as a vehicle for hatred, violence and misogyny from the beginning of time, when it shouldn’t be so.
How many times do we hear that Christianity has no room for feminism? In fact, feminism actively tries to dismantle the violence and misogynistic agendas pushed by most religions, Christianity included. Christianity tends to be very patriarchal and of favour to (cis-hetero) men only whilst demeaning & oppressing women (and the queer society), setting the social constructs we are aggressively trying to unlearn; on how women should be, how masculinity should be, on what women cannot do, whilst not offering the same restrictions on men. And even in practicality, men who don’t fall in line aren’t persecuted and condemned with equal energy as women. For hundred of years, this religion that holds itself to such high standards has been the centre of horrible crimes and scandals such as rape, conversion therapy and so on, which have been covered up to protect religious leaders. It therefore is important to realize the need for feminism in the religious space to highlight such grave violations like these, and the intersection of the different marginalized communities inhumanely persecuted by Christianity- queers, sex workers, atheists etc.
I want to be able to celebrate and glorify God without being told I am not allowed to because my lifestyle is against God’s will. I love sex, and enjoy this gift with both men and women and I consider it a blessing.
God is love, all the faces of love.