In August 2021, the CTK church council decided to explore this church becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. The purpose of the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is to ensure the welcome, inclusion, celebration, and advocacy for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions; work for racial equity and commit to anti-racist work and support the national program. More information can be found at ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation website.
We see the letters all over. Gay, Queer, Trans, Bi, the terms can be confusing. Then there is sex, gender identity, gender expression, and all the pronouns. What does it all mean?
First, it is important to remember that every person is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14 NRSV). It is the church’s calling to make sure each person has an inclusive, safe, and affirming faith community to celebrate the person they are. (ReconcilingWorks). We are talking about people who are precious, have feelings, are part of us, have dreams and desires, who are God’s delight. We are to honor and respect every person’s humanity.
With that, people understand themselves in a variety of ways. The following is a short definition of the acronym and does not attempt to explain what they mean or how people self-identity. Definitions are from LGBTQIA Resource Center.
Lesbian: a woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender
Gay: sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same gender
Bisexual: person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same and other genders
Transgender: one’s internal knowledge of gender is different from conventional or cultural expectations based on the sex that person was assigned at birth
Queer: an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender
+ : other identities such as Intersex (a wide range of natural body variations that do not fit neatly into conventional definitions of male or female) and Asexual (sexual orientations generally characterized by feeling varying degrees of sexual attraction or desires). Some other terms to clarify:
Cisgender: a gender identity that society deems to match the person’s assigned sex at birth. A term used to highlight the privilege of people who are not transgender.
Sex: a medically constructed categorization. Sex is often assigned based on the appearance of the genitalia, either in ultrasound or at birth.
Gender: A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity. Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth.
An excellent place to begin understanding is interviews at ReconcilingWorks website, Clunky Questions.
There people of faith speak for themselves.
Pastor Chris Hagen