The author of this post, Zachary T. Dutton, serves our yearly meeting as Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life. He is a white cisgender gay man working (imperfectly) to dismantle oppression in all its forms. He is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting.
While many Friends share Zachary’s concerns, the views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as a whole. Check out the Rainbow Railroad for information on one way to support international LGBTQ+ people. The PYM Website contains further resources on its page for Peace & Social Justice.
On March 15, 2021, the Associated Press reported:
The Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since God ‘cannot bless sin.’
This news is both saddening and unsurprising. It means that our work continues – the work of many LGBTQ+ people of faith to reconcile the differences between our own experiences of truth and the violent rhetoric espoused by powerful religions and governments across the globe.
This rhetoric does not end with exclusion from unions and marriage. At least 69 countries have national laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults. State-sponsored violence against LGBTQ+ people kills many people every year, and in the United States, violence against Queer people persists. For example, in 2020, CNN reported that “over the past seven years, there have been at least 202 reported cases of fatal violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people, 66% of which were black transgender women.” These tragic facts only scratch the surface.
Through their associations and policy choices, many yearly meetings and Quaker organizations perpetuate tacit or explicit acceptance of LGBTQ+ discrimination. At a time of increasing awareness of the need to address racism in the Religious Society of Friends and beyond, we must recognize that the liberation of LGBTQ+ is in part due to the efforts of Black Trans Women. Being in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives also means that we stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ+ people in the Quaker community and in our world.
The Bible is deeply contradictory, and many things within it have been used to justify all manner of oppression. Quaker continuing revelation clearly reveals that LGBTQ+ people are not sinful simply by virtue of being Queer, and no competent interpretation of the Bible can truly undermine this. We are whole and unfettered regardless of who we love, how we express ourselves, and what our genders are.
Zachary T. Dutton