‘A Winter Message: LGBT children and young people and faith.’ by Jess Wood MBE (Allsorts Project Director)

December 12th, 2013 by

Jess WoodTo be a person of faith, what does this mean? Taken out of specific religious contexts, we use the word very positively: as re-assurance – ‘I have faith in you!’ or in adversity – ‘Have faith. It will be okay!’ I think the word is deeper than trust and broader than hope. So a person of faith is someone I should have faith in! Faith that they would be a safe person to refer an LGBT child or young person to for pastoral support.

But who, in a religious context, can bear the heavy responsibility of dealing faithfully with a child or young person in distress because they believe that aspects of their identity (the LGBT parts) are flawed, or damaged or dangerous or wrong or contrary to accepted belief systems or standing outside the hearth of their heritage and community? Who in good faith leaves that LGBT child out in the isolated cold?

This brings us to the heart of faith in a religious context: Is suffering to be met with an open heart or a closed mind? Is confusion to be straightened out and the complexities of our lives beaten flat and narrowed like a blade on an anvil or could our doubts and deep sense of inner multiplicity mirror a creation filled with diversity and abundance and fruitfulness?

Who we are and who we should become – can these be reduced to identity-tags such as being gay or lesbian or bi or trans? Surely for people of good faith, who we are and who we should become revolves around a different kind of concept – words spring to my mind like compassion, justice, loving-kindness, trustworthiness. re these not words used universally across all cultures, faiths and religions and scattered like petals through every holy book?

Please help us to reach out to communities of faith in the hope that they will focus on the blossoming of children and young people, whatever those children and young people feel their sexual orientation or gender identity may be now or may need to become?