Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Internalized homophobia and church

Last night was the last session of the "coming out" support group. There's a new one that will start up in a month that I might join. The topic for this session was internalized homophobia. We discussed this article on internal homophobia and this bloggers reflection on internalized homophobia. We also read through this quiz researchers created to test internalized homophobia. You rate it: strongly disagree, disagree, unsure, agree, strongly agree. Here are the questions.
  • I have tried to stop being attracted to women in general.
  • If someone offered me the chance to be completely heterosexual, I would accept the chance
  • I wish I weren't lesbian/bisexual
  • I feel that being lesbian/bisexual is a personal shortcoming for me
  • I would like to get professional help in order to change my sexual orientation from lesbian bisexual to straight
  • I have tried to become more sexually attracted to men
  • I often feel it best to avoid personal or social involvement with other lesbian/bisexual women
  • I feel alienated from myself because of being lesbian/bisexual
  • I wish that I could develop more erotic feelings about men.
I felt soothed somehow that most of us said we would have answered agree to these things at one point, but we also now are doing a better job accepting ourselves.

After group one of the group members and I went out to a place that is known as a lesbian type restaurant and bar for appetizers. It's actually a place I have felt scared to go to. But "e" told me that being scared of this place was like being scared of puppies, so I went. It was that scary at all. Although I made totally sure I wasn't the first to arrive. We talked a good while about christianity and religion and her being curious about finding a church. It seems hearing me talk, and other friends of hers who go to church, has caused her to want to check out spirituality. She wants to go to a church that would accept her though. I was really glad that I could invite her to that new church (the open reconciling one) that I've been enjoying. Thank God I live in a city!

The tie-in to internalized homophobia is that I wonder how a churches stance on homosexuality would impact someone's internalized homophobia? I have been very clear in group discussions that I am a christian and am keeping my beliefs even though it's hard sometimes to put these things into dialog. This has brought out conversations about church and christianity. I think the first time I talked about my own faith, verses how hard it feels to come out to family, one of the leaders said in a bit of a surprised tone: "So you are a christian then?". And I said, "Yes I am." I think God and faith are big enough and can have enough spaciousness to hold (contain) all that is me whether I can explain it or not. Still it's not always easy and I am ever more aware of how "the church" can cause someone to be unsure about seeking spirituality of a Christian variety. Over and over again I come back to the book "Leaving church" by Barbara Brown Taylor where she says "True salvation is divine spaciousness in tight places!" I love that!

No comments: