|TOP TEN TIPS
Learning How to Speak About and Honor
Yourself as a GLBT person, or
your gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender
child, friend, or relative…
Naturally & Easily Without Missing a Beat!
The #1 question people usually have is, "What do I say to people who throw biblical scripture in my face regarding their prception that homosexuality is 'an abomination and the Bible says so!' Even my church, minister, and family members are doing this. Please help me! I love my son/daughter/parent."
First of all, Robynne and I NEVER DEFEND statements with which we do not agree. Why? There is no reason to do so. Create that new habit of not taking the bait and defending. Defending such statements automatically makes others think you might agree in some way. If you are clear that you (as a GLBT person), or that your GLBT child, friend or relative is absolutely OK in the eyes of God (or whatever spiritual entity is your reference point for your religion), simply respond in the best way we have found (supplied by Bob Minor with the Fairness Project)..."Some people believe that. I don't," as you look directly in their eyes. Let them be the first to look away. Be confident and empowered in the gift that you are as a GLBT person or as an ally. If you find yourself agreeing that homosexuality is "an abomination" because that is what you have been told by others that is what the Bible says, but aren't really clear about the scriptures and want to get more information, click below and decide for yourself.
What the Bible Says/Doesn't Say about Homosexuality -
Rev. Dr. Lisa Davison is a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Lexington Theological Seminary. This short piece is consise and easy to read and absorb.
If they persist, "But the Bible says," again calmly repeat, "Some people think that way. I don't." Why is it important for you to reply like this? You have to determine if you have encountered someone who is in the "uninformable" group (people in this group have no expressed desire to be educated regarding their understanding) or if they are in the uninformed group (this group acknowleges that they are unclear and are "wrestling" with their understanding). This group also includes GLBT persons who are "wrestling" with their own acceptance of self. Most likely, you will be dealing with the former group...the uninformable. It is important to note that people do not have to remain in this category. Take for example, Mary Lou and Bob Wallner. Evangelical Christians, they were at one point in this "uninformable" group. They would most likely have stayed there if their lesbian daughter had not committed suicide. That tragic event put them on a new journey, one which immediately threw them into the "uninformed" group. Finding themselves there, they became hungry for information as they "wrestled" with their understanding, finally evolving to the "informed" group today. Mary Lou's book, The Slow Miracle of Tranformation, and their organization Teach Ministries is testament to their journey. They introduced Robynne and me.
If you find yourself talking with someone in the "uninformed" group, and they are truly seeking information and answers, we have some great resources below. Just "copy and paste" the first two links on the list and send to them if they request information. Send additional information, such as the one on books, when they request it.
Once they identify as an "ally" and are ready to discover more, send them a link to the "Ten Tips" that you are now reading. Remember, the idea is to help people, wherever they are on their journey, keeping in mind that there will always be someone in front of you and always be someone in back of you on the journey. In each case, we can take help from the hand in front of us, or offer a hand to the person in back of us. We are truly all in this together!
Spiritual Advisors - These theologians can answer specific questions. Email them.
Recommended Books - read about them ... order them right online!
Recommended videos - you can watch right from your computer!
Below are some of the ones you will find at the above link, but there are more!
Professors and scientists fought back about their research being distorted by Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) after a guest column criticizing Mary Cheney in Time Magazine, where he justified his trashing of gay families by citing the work of renowned researchers.
Various researchers have "come out of the closet" to state how Dr. James Dobson has distored their research.
Click below to hear an interview with Dr. Carol Gilligan at New York University.
Click below to hear an interview with Dr. Kyle Pruett (son of a Baptist minister) at Yale University. "Two Mommies" is not the whole story. It is love that surrounds children, not the gender of the parents, that prepares them for the world, explains Dr. Pruett. He contacted Dr. Dobson asking for dialogue, and never heard back from him.
Lisa Darden, conducted the interviews of Dr. Gilligan and Dr. Pruitt for Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out. Click here to read more about her documentary, For Such a Time as This, that is in production through her company, Hope Unlimited Productions.
Click below to hear an interview with Dr. Robert Spitzer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.
Click below for video of interview with Dr. Judith Stacey at New York University. Soulforce provided the video of the interview with Dr. Stacey.
PFLAG Houston makes the following possible (Contact them to order DVD)
Dr. Cynthia Chappel: A Biological Explanation for Human Sexual Orientation (1 hour/17 minutes/52 seconds)
- utilize these resources! Email us if you discover one we don't have listed and we will add it!Helpful articles
- read one a day until you are finished with them.Our direct and non-violent experiences with Focus on the Family
- you will be able to witness through our experiences what it is like to engage hearts and minds and create authentic connections with the intention of dissolving differences that separate us.Note:
If you are atheist, answering in this manner is extremely important as well. You do not have to defend yourself, and you don't have to feel afraid of encountering "religous people" because you don't have/aren't interested in biblical knowledge. The truth is some atheists know more about the Bible that some religious people. What you need, you already have...that is the ability to simply say, "Some people believe that way. I don't." And if you also encounter one of the "uninformed," who truly wants to learn more, you can share the resources that I recommended. My truth is that I have learned as much or more from my atheist friends, as I have from people who consider themselves spiritual. The bottom line is that, if we are all connected, as I believe we are, each of us has "something" to offer to the other, and whatever affects one of us affects all of us.
Many people who are using scriptures to bash gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons are often simply repeating what they have heard, and have never studied the original Greek and Hebrew. They also don't realize that the term "homosexual" did not come into existence until the 1800's, so how could it have been in the Bible?
QUESTIONS are far more important than ANSWERS!
Before making assumptions or jumping to conclusions, ask for more information when someone makes what you perceive to be an anti-gay remark. Request clarification before defensively responding. Hear them out. When people are heard first, they tend to listen better. That opens up the heart, and creates an opportunity for authentic communication where all parties can feel empowered.
LEAN IN rather than defend. This opportunity constantly presents itself when people speak in ways that triggers something in you. Remember, if you feel triggered, the person has given you a gift, and has revealed what needs healing in you. Respect that gift, create a new awareness about yourself, and choose a response that empowers you in the situation. This is a time to lean in and ASK QUESTIONS; i.e., “Why do you feel that way?” While they are answering, it also gives you an opportunity to compose yourself so that you don’t return their fear with your own fear, creating a lose/lose situation rather than a win/win situation.
When people in the "uninformed" group share their fears with you, repeat back to them what they have just shared with you (rather than becoming defensive if you find yourself thinking "I can't believe they think this way."). That is called LEANING IN.
Example: "I feel so confused. My minister and church are telling me that I should take my child to an ex-gay ministry." Rather than saying, "Your minister is out of his/her mind, and your church is uneducated," (which is going to cause the person to DEFEND), just repeat what they have said, letting them know you have heard them... "So I understand that you are frightened because your minister and church are telling you that you should take your child to an ex-gay ministry." This is LEANING IN, allowing the person to feel safe. This will help lead them to their own questioning, which inevitably leads them to their own new understanding and personal transformation.
- When someone asks whether your family member (who you know to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender) is dating, and they have decided to live authentically, learn to answer with an affirming “yes” if they are or if they have a partner/spouse. Proceed to naturally speak about the person your child, relative, parent, etc is dating (or in a committed relationship), using the appropriate pronouns and their name, rather than avoiding discussion. Approach the situation exactly like you would treat it if the person being discussed was not of variant sexual orientation and/or gender. Why? In those cases, we never say it is “nobody’s business” when discussing the person one of our family members loves.
- When someone then says they just don’t understanding the “gay lifestyle,” again, use probing questions as you reply, “Could you tell me what you mean?” or “To what ‘lifestyle’ are you referring?” Read my article on ”Lifestyle”…Co-opting a term to denigrate GLBT so that you can become informed and knowledgeable regarding the misuse of this word.) This will give you confidence to know how to effectively respond when people erroneously use this word to describe variant sexual orientation and/or gender.
- Click on this link and read ALL of the opinion editorials we have written…. These will broaden your understanding regarding the semantics of language, and its importance for how others erroneously perceive gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, using “socially acceptable and subtle ways” in everyday life to diminish GLBT persons. It is important to be aware of these so that you can reframe your own language, and educate others in the process.
- If you are heterosexual, refrain from talking about your children and/or husband/wife for 24 hours, even with people you know. We often hear people say, "Well, they don't need to push their 'preference' in my face" when mixed gender people talk about GLBT persons. Hmmmm...How would it feel if it were "reversed?" This is an exercise I often have people do in diversity training workshops. (After all, you don’t want to discuss your “heterosexuality” too much).
For this exercise, you may not mention a name or use a pronoun if you are dating or in a committed relationship or marriage. Be very vague if questioned further by these individuals. If they have a new grandchild and are raving about how great it is, do not speak of your new grandchild. (You would not want to disclose your heterosexual status and have anyone accuse you of pushing your "heterosexuality" in their face).
Notice when you encounter someone if you notice whether they are male or female, and what comes up in your mind about them regarding their gender. See what you learn about yourself regarding both sexual orientation and gender in 24 hours.
Click on Straight and in the Closet on Valentine’s Day, an excellent article by Julie Enzser, encouraging a similar exercise for Valentine’s Day. Of course, it is a good exercise regardless of the day for heterosexual people, either currently in or out of a mixed gender relationship, in order to better understand why gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons also need to honor our love relationships by speaking about them.
- From Myth to Empowerment…How GLBT persons can Shift.
Read this article and realize the myths by which many GLBT persons live. You will also see how a heterosexist society, as well as our own community, often perpetuates these myths. Becoming aware of them allows people to make a new choice in their life, and refuse to be held hostage by a myth.
- Ancora Imparo…it means “I’m still learning.” Are you? Click here and sign up for our newsletter, so that you will continue to challenge yourself and give yourself opportunities to learn, grow and evolve. It will be the best decision you ever make, and will open up your relationship with your gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender relative or friend or acquaintance.
- Ok, so there are more than 10!
Wear SOMETHING that invites people to talk with you…anything with a rainbow is a great start! It is a sure way for people to believe that you offer them a safe place as an ally. And, if you don’t yet consider yourself an ally, please go through these tips and understand why this might be important. Go to our podcast link below, and listen to these interviews with transgender persons, theologians, sexologists, trainers and consultants. Consider doing the following:
Wear a T-shirt/cap that communicates that you are an ally (a Two Women & a Poodle one would be FABULOUS!). Click here to order.
At work, display a rainbow sticker.
Wear a rainbow wristband! Click here to order.
Listen to our podcast interviews! Click on link below. These individuals are amazing!