It's BGLASS week at PTSem. BGLASS is a student organization, the goal of which is to provide a safe space for those on campus who are bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender or heterosexual with questions about sexuality and spirituality. The acronym stands for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight (Seminarian) Supporters. Each spring, BGLASS sponsors a week full of events to raise awareness about issues facing the "queer" community and, as I already mentioned, this is it.
In the words of my very clever boyfriend, "I put the ASS in BGLASS." (We might even get t-shirts that say that next year ;). Anyway, today was the official, nationwide Day of Silence and as a straight supporter, I participated in the event. Each of us who participated carried cards with the following printed message to be given to anyone who questioned our silence:
"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discriminaton. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today."I don't have any official position on whether homosexuality is a sin. That is an easy question for some of you to answer, but the answer no longer seems as obvious to me as it once did. If you must, you can chalk it up to my liberal seminary education, but I assure you that I was questioning a lot of my "answers" long before I arrived at Princeton. Anyway, right now, it seems more important to do my best to love people than to spend my time labeling their sin because I no longer believe that labeling someone else's sin for them is the most loving thing I can do... Perhaps it's wrong, but that's where I am.
So, today, I donned my t-shirt and shut my mouth. Unfortunately, my silence is not rare, so only the people who already knew what was going on noticed that I wasn't talking. Still, the experience was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. There was no real suffering involved, but it did spur some contemplation about how horrible it would be to not be able to express my needs to those around me. What if I couldn't tell my beloved how I felt because I knew that I would be ostracized, harassed, beaten, or even murdered? Generally, I'm not a sharing person, but there are some things that need to be told!
Being heterosexual, I don't know what it's like for someone to tell me that who I love is wrong, but I have had the experience of being told who I am is wrong and I don't want to perpetuate that pain in other people, who did not ask to be homosexual any more than I asked to have brown hair or my mother's hands. I choose not to force people to live in silence because they are different, that is why I was silent today.