Slate meets side b

So there’s a surprisingly fair article in Slate about us celibate gay/same-sex attracted Christians:

Far from the mainstream LGBTQ experience of pride parades and marriages, Outward and the Advocate, there exists a small, tight-knit group of LGBTQ people who, though fully out, remain committed to conservative Christian prohibitions on gay sexual activity. While some refer to themselves as SSA or “same-sex attracted” as a means of distancing themselves from queer identities, others proudly use the LGBT or LGBTQ initialisms that highlight their connection to the wider community. This latter group, in straddling one of America’s deepest cultural divides, present a challenge to the tolerance of both their churches and the secular LGBTQ community.

Celibate LGBTQ Christian bloggers often refer to themselves in shorthand as “Side B” Christians. The terms Side A, for those who support marriage equality and believe that gay sex is not necessarily immoral, and Side B, for those who believe that homosexual sex is sinful and/or prohibited by the Bible, originated with a now-defunct website called Bridges Across the Divide and was created to foster respectful communication between people on opposite sides of the gay rights debate. Side B gay Christians are, by definition, committed to remaining celibate, while those on Side A can date and marry. LGBTQ people on Side A also tend to fit reasonably well inside the secular LGBTQ community. B Siders, on the other hand, can be a pretty isolated lot—while they may have friends who are secular and devout, gay, straight, and bi, they remain on the fringes in both the Christian and the LGBTQ world…

The author gets to know some of the usual suspects (Eve Tushnet, Ron Belgau, Joey Prever etc.) and tries to understand them on their own terms while still disagreeing with them. I appreciate also how she suggests that we’re not exactly a monolithic, homogenous group; we have our disagreements and our different approaches.

It’s not perfect, but it’s still something of a minor miracle – especially coming from a publication like Slate. I mean, to the extent that our existence is acknowledged at all, it is usually either as unfortunate culture war casualties or as self-hating bigots who need to shut up or be shut up (no, no bitterness here).

So kudos to you, Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart.

About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
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3 Responses to Slate meets side b

  1. tsaebxiii says:

    At times, even as a heterosexual, I struggle with singleness; I know that Christ is sufficient, but translating that intellectual knowledge isn’t as easy as merely stating the knowledge. My struggles come with the knowledge that, in all probability, I probably won’t remain single. Coming from that perspective, I never fail to be awed by those who are homosexual and commit to remain faithful to the teachings of Christianity regarding expression of sexuality. Just thought I’d drop by to share the faithfulness that you, and other Side B Christians, show is an inspiration 🙂

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