By Aaron Pazan
I look back at the past four years and so much has changed since the last time I was here at Glide UMC. I can picture freshmen me who just the previous summer spent a week and a half in foreign country without any family members. At the time I was starting to really allow myself to acknowledge the fact that I thought I was queer. I was always a person who wanted equality for everyone in the church.
But, at the time I wasn’t sure about myself being queer.
Now I’m here at Glide, in my senior year of college where just this past summer I visited a third world country and survived a category 4 typhoon. I’m now out as a genderqueer person to the majority of my Episcopal Area (Greater-Northwest). I have become a spokesperson of some sort for my Episcopal Area, if people have questions on ways to make their camp and retreat centers more genderqueer, non-binary, and trans friendly they ask me, the genderqueer college kid.
The sermon from Sunday Morning at Glide hit it home with me and my love hate relationship with The UMC.
Rev. Angela Brown said “If you’re not at the table, your probably on the menu.” Every time I partake of communion at a UMC church I feel like the queer part of me isn’t accepted. I feel as if I have to go back in the closet when I step inside churches that aren’t part of Reconciling MinistriesNetwork. I feel as if I have to become this fake pseudo person in order to save my sanity and my mental health.
I believe because The Book of Discipline says that the practice homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching that I am on the menu because my full authentic self isn’t welcome at the table.
I pray and work for the day that my full authentic genderqueer self can be completely at the table. Where I can be truly present without hiding any of myself in fear that a pastor or lay member may make unnecessary or rude remark about me being genderqueer. Where I won’t have to make that hard decision to be closeted in the ordination process even though I am outrageously queer.
I am now refilled with hope and my decision to stay within The United Methodist Church makes all the more sense at this current time period. I have come to realize that I must stay because my story of reconciling my faith and sexuality is something that needs to be told.
I pray that one-day the table will be open for ALL; the genderqueer person, the non-binary person, the abused, the disenfranchised. All really means ALL, period.