Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day, a holiday started over twenty years ago to mark a celebration for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and adults who were coming out of the closet and sharing the fact that they’re gay. This year, the weeks leading up to Coming Out Day have been horrendous and sad as we’ve heard news after news of young gay people committing suicide because of despair in the aftermath of bullying or the accumulation of messages of hate they’ve received in their short lifetimes. Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Zach Harrington, and others before them and probably some other recent ones as well—a string of deaths of young boys who thought they had nothing left to live for.
It should go without sayingthat we do think their lives are meaningful and important, and cherished, and that whatever God there is or isn’t is a God of love. We think that people are born gay, and it’s not a sin, but a natural difference in a segment of humanity’s glorious diversity.
It should go without saying, but if we go without saying it, those needing to hear this life-saving message of our faith, literally life-saving message, won’t hear it. It can’t go without saying at a time when so many aren’t hearing it, and are desperate with the need to know that they are loved, and that we consider them whole and good.
So at this time, I wanted to say this, now, to all of our children, and to their parents and loved ones, that we love you, and that whoever you grow up to be, whether you decide that you’re a girl who loves girls or a girl who loves boys, or a boy who loves girls or a boy who loves boys, and whether you decide that you are the girl or boy we think you are now, or if you decide that no, I’m not a girl, I’m a boy, or I’m not a boy, I’m a girl, that we love you, and we will keep loving you and we think you’re wonderful the way you are, and we want you to be happy.
One of the best ways I know to say this message is with Fred Small’s wonderful lullaby that says you can be anybody you want to be. So if you're a parent, grab your child and cuddle up, and if you don't have someone who you can cuddle up with nearby, let this song be the arms of a loving community around you.
Adapted from homily given in worship 10/10/10 at the Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty.