Solidarity with the “Non-Human”
by Kalie Hargrove, originally published here.
“What’s it like to develop an entire identity around the sexual sin you desire…”
– Dave from Twitter.
I’ve often thought about what it means to be human and stepping into the person I’ve been created to be. However, we often don’t think about what it means to be non-human.
This is where the quote above comes into play. In just a few short words, Dave was able to take my entire identity as a full human and reduce it to a simple ideology that he could express into a simple idea.
It doesn’t bother me much when this happens, since it happens a lot. However, there is the problem that,
to people like Dave, my transness makes me “non-human.” I am a shell corrupted by an ideology that has reduced my entire being to a mere sin issue.
Granted, this is one person choosing to be bigoted on the internet, but this is also something that is happening in many of our most affirming and welcoming churches and organization.
In my tradition, many of the churches are now, or becoming, Open and Affirming. Essentially being identified as a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people. All of this is great, except for the fact that I am still not fully human in these spaces. I am still a non-human.
The problem is, LGBTQIA+ people are still seen as a theological issue, which needs to be discussed, voted on, and affirmed (or not). Even if a church is affirming, they are affirming because they have chosen allow queer people to join them after a time of deliberation.
The power is still held within the cisgender, heterosexual (often white) normative that has been infused into the western church.
This means, even in an affirming church, I am still non-human. My acceptance isn’t an ontological fact, but given to me by the “real humans.”
This is why the future of the church must not be in affirmation, but in solidarity. It is not enough to simply welcome queer people if the institution itself is not tearing down the very structures that alienated them in the first place.
Working toward this end is far more difficult than becoming affirming and allowing LGBTQIA+ people exist in religious spaces. It means making those with power uncomfortable because the work makes them feel like they are losing power, even if it is simply redistribution of the centering experience.
It means quieting the majority voice so the marginalized voice can be heard and welcomed as it shapes the voice of the organization to speak something new.
It subverts the very structures that our White supremacist society has so long relied on in religious spaces. But this is still the call; to make that which the world has declared “non-human,” through oppression and ostracization, human. God is always on the side of the marginalized and to hear the voice of God requires us to elevate and center the voice of the marginalized over our own voice.
This is why CPI has made the decision to begin working on a call to solidarity with LGBTQIA+ people in our churches and organizations.
We want to become a resource and a guide for those who want to take on the work of moving into solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized in our society.
We want to make the non-human human.