After [the crucifixion of Jesus] Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus[e] by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds[f] in weight. … Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
–John 19: 38-39
Jesus was killed like a common criminal but was buried in a private tomb by two wealthy men. They were closeted followers of Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea was afraid of blowback from the religious leaders of his day and Nicodemus was the one who sneaked in the night to ask Jesus for guidance. He was rich and didn’t want to lose his wealth. In the end, they both risked their lives and wealth to care for Jesus’ body.
Today, it is still risky to come out of the closet as an LGBTQI person. Despite progress on marriage equality and recent legal protection, LGBTQI people still often face disrespect, discrimination, and, in some places, prison and execution. Around the world, fundamentalists want to punish sexual minorities with prison or execution. Families in the US usually avoid talking about sexual minorities which leaves kids to sort out identities on the playground rather than at home or in church. Schools are even banned from talking about LGBTQ people in eight USA states. Transgender people are viciously targeted for beatings and mob violence while political and religious brokers barter for power by fear mongering over bathrooms.
In The United Methodist Church, LGBTQI United Methodists have struggled for 40 years to find acceptance in the church. Groups like Affirmation United Methodists and Reconciling Ministries Network work to change policies and practices.
Dear God, we lift up all those who suffer persecution for being different. We remember how Jesus was killed by a mob who shouted “Crucify him!” and officials who turned their backs and washed their hands. Help us not to turn our backs. Show us how we can be more supportive of people who are LGBTQI. Give us the inner peace and strength to tell our children that there is diversity among people and who they love. Free us to be comfortable with our own bodies that you created in your image. AMEN
Discrimination against LGBTQ youth in schools
Anti-Violence Project tracks violence against all LGBTQ people.
Anti-Violence Project looks at violence specifically against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people.
The United Methodist Church is poised to split over exclusion of LGBTQ people.
Postponements of the UMC General Conference, normally held every 4 years to set church policy, due to Covid 19, has left the denomination in limbo.
Affirmation United Methodists
Reconciling Ministries Network
The Fellowship Global (a global LGBTQI faith network)
Sexuality Study Resources (umaffirm.org)
LGBTQ deacon ordained by New York Conference | United Methodist News Service (umnews.org)
How to Support the LGBT Community: 11 Ways to Be an Ally | Best Life (bestlifeonline.com):
W probably all recognize the standard rainbow flag as a representation of the LGBTQIA community. However, there are many other beautiful and meaningful flags, each with their own special symbolism. Read more:
An especially noteworthy inclusive flag is this Progress Pride Flag designed by Daniel Quasar. Read the story: This Pride Flag Redesign Is Going Viral | them.
You may purchase this flag here and support this wonderful cause: quasar.digital // Shop | quasar.digital // Shop
If you search, you may also find this flag for purchase at other web sellers.
Understanding and using a person’s preferred pronouns is a sign of respect. We should not make assumptions about a person’s pronouns simply based on physical appearance. Letting people know your preferred pronouns helps reduce confusion, and an easy way to do this it to include your preferences as part of your email signature.
Read more: What Are Pronouns? Why Do They Matter? — MyPronouns.org Resources on Personal Pronouns
Coming out into one’s authentic, God-created self fosters spiritual renewal and call to ministry. As John Wesley discovered his true spiritual identity, he experienced a strangely warmed heart. Through poignant stories and well-reasoned principles, Karen Oliveto discloses why and how spiritual renewal and a personal call to ministry emerge in the strangely warmed hearts of lesbian and gay Christians.
Our Strangely Warmed Hearts | Cokesbury
Signs of Hope…
Biden’s LGBTQ rights executive order and the transphobic backlash, explained – Vox
Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from sex discrimination in employment decisions under Title XII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and apply it wherever sex is a protected class in federal law. That means that LGBTQ people can no longer be discriminated against in housing, education, and health care as well as employment.
Biden selects transgender doctor Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary
June 26, 2015 – With a 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
2020 in LGBT rights – Wikipedia:
In 2020, several countries legalized same-sex marriages, many countries and provinces banned conversion therapy, some additional areas made discrimination on the basis of sexuality illegal. Sudan lifted its death penalty on homosexuality.
Special thanks to Ann Craig for researching this social justice issue
2004 General Conference, Courtesy/Credit: Mike DuBose
2016 United Methodist General Conference, Courtesy/Credit: Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS
2016 United Methodist General Conference, Courtesy/Credit: Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS
Newly ordained at the NY Annual Conference, Courtesy/Credit: Photo by Stephanie Parsons, NYAC.
Progress Pride Flag – Daniel Quasar Facebook
Bishop Juan and Sign for Ministry for LGBTQ, Courtesy/Credit: Photo courtesy of the Rev. Israel Alvaran.
Each station was researched by one or more members of our church community to help provide the detailed information that has been presented. Are you interested in this social justice issue? Do you have additional information or action items that you would like to share? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. These web pages are a dynamic, active work in progress, just like the people of our community!