For about a year now I’ve been aware of the great work being done by Kathy Baldock, of Canyonwalker Connections. I recently invited Kathy to use this space to introduce herself to those of you who may not know her. Readers, meet Kathy. The rest are her words.
In 2000 I had no gay friends (that I knew of), and believed the traditional biblical view of homosexuality. All that changed after I met and became friends with Netto, an agnostic Native American lesbian.
Over the course of the next five years, as Netto and I developed our deep friendship, the gay and Christian issue became personal to me.
For over six years now, I have actively sought equality for glbt Christians in the church. After dozens of glbt Christian conferences, where I was one of the few or only straight Christians present, God has deepened my compassion and created within me a zeal to speak to, and stand for, these too long maligned brothers and sisters in Christ.
This year I formed a 501(c)3 called Canyonwalker Connections, the mission of which is to repair the breach between the church and the glbt Christian community. Through my blog, CanyonwalkerConnections.com, I seek to educate people on issues of reconciling faith with sexual orientation and gender identity. I challenge those who belief that “gay and Christian” is an oxymoron to think beyond the English words in (modern translations of) the Bible. I encourage glbt Christians to stay connected to their faith. I act as a mother to many gay young people. I also try to motivate straight Christians to speak up and do the Jesus-thing: to fight for the equality and against the oppression of glbt Christians.
Four years ago, at San Francisco Gay Pride, I began the initiative “Str8Apology,” where I and those increasingly joining me go to gay pride events wearing a tee shirt imprinted, front and back, with the words, Hurt By Church? Get a str8apology Here. People at such events read my shirt, and talk to me. They tell me their often heartbreaking stories. I am often the first and only person who has ever told them that the Bible has been misused against them. On behalf of Christians everywhere, I apologize to them, and tell them that it is not the heart of Jesus to reject them because of their orientation. I direct them to my site, where they can learn about how the Bible does not, in fact, condemn them. I hold their faces, and look into their eyes. I assure them that God adored them.
At the many gay pride events I attend, I get hugged a lot.
If you would like to help repair the tear, please consider joining me in wearing a Str8apology t-shirt at an upcoming event where glbt people gather. Christians regularly tell me that they know the treatment of the glbt community is not Christ-like, yet they themselves remain silent on the issue.
God used an agnostic lesbian (who is now a Christian) to help change me into someone who is willing to fight for what’s right. Perhaps I can help change you in the same way.
Perhaps you and I together can help change the world.
I will be at San Jose Pride on August 20 and 21.
Here I am:
[Update: At the 2011 PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) national convention (November 3-6), Kathy will be conducting a workshop on faith and GLBT youth.]