Bekah Bowlin, age 36, Ally
What do you love best about this area? It’s a safe place to raise children. I also love the scenery. It’s a better view of God’s creation than the concrete streets of the city. (I also love the city for what it has to offer)
What is it like living in this area as LGBTQ or as an ally? It can be challenging to advocate for the LGBTQ community here because people are so driven by their faith. It usually leads to unfriendly debate so there are times I avoid it. Also, I can’t discuss it at times when I really want to. For example, at work – I’m the HR person and shouldn’t participate in any discussions regarding religion or politics.
What would you like for local residents to know about the LGBTQ community? They’re harmless! Homosexuality and trans is not contagious. My LGBTQ friends will not try to coax you to be gay nor will they molest your child. They’re just people who are different than most, and they’re looking for acceptance like anyone else in this world. Your devotion to your faith will not be compromised by befriending or accepting an LGBTQ person. In fact, it will bring you closer to God as you will be more Christ-like in doing so. Isn’t it Jesus who shows compassion, acceptance, and loves everyone? EVERYONE.
And anything else you would like us to know…. It is not required to understand ones lifestyle in order to show them compassion or accept them.
One last thing: Teach your children the same principles about acceptance and compassion. It will serve them well and it will make the world a better place.
Photo/Essay project highlighting the LGBTQ and Ally Community in Obion County (a rural area in TN). Some participants still live in the area, while others have moved away after growing up there.
Confession: I never wanted to start this blog! Like I said in my first post, I am only doing this because I felt that God wanted me to write. So, I am trying to be obedient; it’s a constant struggle!
My intention is to produce at least one post per week – maybe two. Already, I am finding myself struggling to write. I guess I have what one would call “writer’s block.” This doesn’t make any sense because I have so many ideas and thoughts running through my mind about faith and sexuality. Likewise, I have many experiences with this topic that I desire to share with others so that they see that they are not alone.
So, what is stopping me? I think I have an idea… I fear conflict! I absolutely hate it! You will not find me engaging in debates on Facebook, comment sections, or even in person. I try to avoid them whenever I can. I know, I know…I am working on this! I guess I don’t like how these debates usually reduce down to both sides talking past each other and being ugly. I honestly don’t see the point!
And my blog is focused on a topic that brings out the worst in people! I have dear friends who embrace a traditional Christian sexual ethic, as well as dear friends who embrace a more “progressive” Christian sexual ethic. (Note: I don’t necessarily like the terms ‘traditional’ and ‘progressive,’ but they are the two words used in this debate to address views from both camps.) I don’t want to offend either side, but I know I will do this in my blog. I feel that both sides are guilty of talking past the ‘other’ and acting horribly. As a result, dialogue that could be productive is reduced down to mud-slinging, and we just repeat the cycle over and over again.
Frankly, I am tired of it! I have met too many people who feel caught in the middle of this issue and feel hopeless. Where are the voices for them?
So, I will write and be a voice for these beautiful people! I will offend both sides, but I feel that the conflict will be worth it for those who feel voiceless.
You are loved!