Note: This is not an article about what the Church teaches about homosexuality or gay marriage. I’m just focusing on take-aways Catholics can have from the month of June as “Pride Month.” I believe very strongly that Catholics are called to acknowledge and affirm the Truth wherever it may be found. I stand by the Church’s teaching on traditional marriage. Full stop. But I believe that there are ways that we can better love and serve the LGBTQIA+ community.
If you’re looking for posts about the Church’s teachings on gay marriage, Jason Evert has an AMAZING video on this topic.
- LGBTQIA+ suicide and self harm is a pro-life issue. As a youth minister, I believe strongly that priests, youth ministers, young adult ministers, DREs, and a variety of lay people should be equipped with knowledge of how to help struggling LGBTQIA+ persons. At the very least, we should know how to help people get the help they need.
- We should raise our kids to stand against bullying. This includes standing up for LGBTQIA+ peers and reporting bullying to trusted adults. Bullying is not OK. It is never OK.
- Watch your speech. If we want to show the LGBTQIA+ community that we love and care about them, we need to remove “gay,” “fag,” etc as derogatories from out speech and remind others to do so as well. And it doesn’t stop there. When we talk about LGBTQIA+ topics, do our words shine with love and the truth? If not, don’t say anything at all.
- Understand where many are coming from. One thing I’ve seen so strong from people posting about Pride is that many members of the LGBTQIA+ community have been hurt by (or know someone that has been hurt by) someone who supports traditional marriage. This hurt could have been in many forms: emotional, physical, etc. You may not have been the aggressor, but they now associate those who espouse traditional marriage with aggression.
- Ask loving questions. One way that we can approach with charity is by listening first. Not too long ago I reviewed Everyday Evangelism by Cathy Duffy. She made the phenomenal point that:“…while an understanding of doctrine and worldviews is helpful, more often than not, the most valuable skill you bring to the table for an evangelistic conversation is the ability to listen.” We are called to become active listeners, because through listening we show that we truly care about the person as an individual. Duff continues later to say: “Most people recognize that if we really care about someone, we should want to listen to them. And, conversely, if we don’t care about someone, we convey that message by not listening to them. The challenge for us is to improve our listening skills…” Before we do anything, we should listen.
- Be so careful as to what you post on social media. I love social media. But proceed with caution. What you say is a public pronouncement to everyone and can be so warped out of context. Fellow inkslinger Maurisa Mayerle wrote an incredible guide to interacting over social media which you can find here.
- Stop talking about “straight pride parade.” This is a specific thing but it’s cropped up this particular pride month. It feels like we’re drawing battle lines as opposed to forming relationships. This is not how we show love, or start open, loving conversations.
At the core of all of this, sisters, is Love. During this Pride month, a story went viral. It was about a man wearing a “Free Dad Hugs” t-shirt (you can read it here). He shares about people who would come up to him, crying, desperate for that “dad hug.” So desperate for that love. It’s heartbreaking to think of someone who feels so hated. Especially when we all have a Father in heaven who longs to give them the Love that they seek.
Sisters, many of those who participate in Pride truly feel like Catholics hate them, look down on them, refuse to love them. We are called to re-write that script. We are called to be the Love.