Thursday, May 16, 2013

Coming Out As A Tool Of Exclusion

She crawled from the wreckage to walk
 in the sun. Let's not turn her away.
Recently, I've noticed certain voices in the LGBT rights movement attempting to tighten their enclosure of who is in and who is not.

Perhaps it's part of human nature--I've certainly seen it a lot. Let me speak from experience.

  • When I hung out with evangelicals, there were discussions of who was really dedicated to Jesus and who just thought they were. 
  • When I taught in a school that was 99% African American, students would exclude each other for not being "black" enough, either because of their name, or their clothes, or how they talked, or the music they listened to.  
And now I'm seeing it within the LGBT crowd--sadly, much of it is aimed at Chely Wright. That is rotten; that is just a rotten way to treat someone. Those online celeb discussion boards (along with being really creepy) tend toward being a sort of "throne room" where judges decide the true motives of the celeb du jour, decide who is "gay enough" and who isn't, decide whether or not someone somewhere is a "sell out."

I've had conversations with LGBT people who, after seeing the documentary Wish Me Away, feel the need to declare Chely Wright's "actual motives" for coming out. It saddens me, not because she is being second guessed or misunderstood, but because a coming out narrative is being used against the one coming out.

I hate it. I hate what I'm seeing, and I wish I had the words to get my point across to everyone. Let's not do this--let's not go here. Let's be a movement of inclusion, not exclusion; of emerge, not submerge. Let's funnel our energy into shared projects--there is so much yet to do.

Chely Wright has established that she can lead. Through interviews and a couple of op ed pieces, she demonstrated that she can cast a vision, model how things should be handled, and mobilize listeners and readers.

During her opportunities to speak or write to specifically LGBT audiences, I hope Chely Wright will address this disturbing issue I'm seeing. Certainly not to defend herself, but to insist that, as a movement, we are not going to do this to each other. We will not endorse exclusion based on personal narratives.

In the New Testament, Jesus is recorded as saying, "Whoever is not against us is for us." (Mark 9:40)

For the love of God, let's be light in this world.