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  • That Christian Lesbian

Do I Come Out As Gay First or Christian First?

So your coworker asks you what you did this weekend. Do you answer by explaining the fun trip you and your partner went on, and open up conversation about your sexuality and your relationship? Do you answer by saying you had a fun church event, and reveal you are one of those “religious” people? Do you do neither and just say “not much, just relaxed”? Or are you one of the brave souls that says both? Maybe you say, “Homie, I’m gay and I freaking went on an amazing hike with my partner, and I’m Christian and the sermon at church this weekend hit home.” Which response category do you usually fall in?

As I progressed throughout adulthood, starting new jobs and meeting new people, it felt more and more as if I had to come out twice to people: once as a gay woman and once as a Christian. Both of those come with a lot of stereotypes and a lot of potential judgment. Not all stereotypes and judgments are bad, but I didn’t want assumptions to be made about me or my character without someone actually getting to know me. So, most of the time I just avoided coming out as either. Internally I felt as if this was a disservice to myself, but externally I just couldn’t muster up the strength. I would fall into the category of “not much, just relaxed,” and sometimes I would even go crazy and explain a new cooking recipe I tried, but that was if I was feeling uber vulnerable.

Deep connection with another human is one of the most beautiful things of this world. Friendship, love, trust, openness, vulnerability, etc. are all incredible pieces of the human experience, and it brings me such great joy to be able to experience those things, but how come someone knows I’m a runner before they know I’m gay? How come someone knows I’m vegan before they know I’m a Christian? How come someone knows my career hopes and dreams before they know my relational hopes and dreams?

Within the political and cultural climate we live in, the stereotypes and judgments associated with the LGBTQIA+ and Christian community are pretty potent and might not be altered for a bit longer. There are areas that have made fantastic improvements but also areas that haven’t gotten better, or actually have gotten worse. While a part of me would love to just sit back and wait for the world around me to catch up with how awesome it is to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community and how awesome it is to be part of the Christian community (and how awesome it is to be a part of both), there is this greater part of me that sees my vulnerability, my sharing, as a way to serve the world I live in and also to serve myself.

The more I suppressed those parts of myself - parts that inspire my future, parts that influence how I treat others, parts that make me me, and parts that glorify God - the more I realized I was losing out on living, losing out on worshiping God with my life, and losing out on loving myself.

I know that everyone’s environment is different. There are some parts of this world in which it is dangerous, even deadly, to come out as either LGBTQIA+ or Christian, and so I acknowledge that I speak from a place of privilege. All our stories are different and there is beauty in each and every one of them. But I still wonder, from one member of the LGBTQIA+ Christian community to another, do you come out as gay first or Christian first?


That Christian Lesbian

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