As a clergywoman, I find myself most troubled by the fact the sponsors of these laws often do so in the name of protecting Christianity. Is our Christianity so fragile that it must dictate where people pee?
By Jennifer Bailey 04-22-2016
I will never forget the day my friend Aaron* asked me if God loved him. It was a few weeks before our high school graduation and signs of spring had finally begun to break through the deep freeze of the Chicago winter. Driving down Lake Shore Drive on our way to school that morning, I could tell Aaron’s mood was somber and reflective. We went to a gifted school full of nerds and oddballs like us. Common high school stereotypes did not apply. The stars of our powerhouse basketball team were as likely to end up at prestigious schools like Northwestern as the captain of the chess team. Against this diverse backdrop, Aaron still stood out. Tall and slender, he was fond of wearing lace gloves and tight Michael Jackson T-shirts. His presentation was what I would later learn is termed “gender non-conforming.”
Even at a high school with the first LGBTQ Pride club in the state, Aaron was relentlessly mocked and harassed. He was made to feel other and isolated because of his presentation. Against the odds, Aaron flourished. Days before our drive to school, Aaron was accepted to the college of his dreams. He would be moving to a large city on the East Coast where I hoped that he would finally feel free.
His question about God’s love for him caught me by surprise. We never talked about religion. I was, admittedly, the “churchy” one in my group of friends — president of the Junior Usher Board and active in my church youth ministry. Yet even at the age of 17, devoid of theological training, I understood the core inquiry at the root of the question: Could this Christian God that I proclaimed loved us all so much accept Aaron even when so many of this God’s “followers” did not? It was the mid-2000s and ostracizing the LGBTQ community had become political catnip for elected officials wanting the favor of socially conservative Christian communities.
My answer to Aaron that day was… – See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/gods-love-time-bathroom-bills#sthash.YUR5wTA7.dpuf