Oh, that reminds me of some thoughts I had while at VidCon
So like, Iona is a pretty safe place to be gay and Christian. Like, out of anywhere in the whole world right now Iona is a tiny, far-flung sanctuary away from all the criticism Christians and LGBT people fling at each other. On Iona my sexuality is pretty unremarkable, so sometimes I forget it’s a problem in some of the circles I mix with at home. Living on Iona, my identity is bound up in Jesus, just like it ever was, not because I’m trying to hide my sexuality, but because it’s just not something I have to confront very frequently.
Going to VidCon was really interesting, because it was the first big, non-church thing I’ve done since I came out. I attended some really interesting panels about content made by LGBT people and there was an electric sense of togetherness in that room. It was one of the rare occasions LGBT people outnumbered straight people. Almost everyone there shared something, were fighting for the same thing.
I also had the very strange experience of having to ‘come out’ as Christian. I work in an Abbey, so after explaining what I do the question is natural: “Wait, so are you religious?” I said, “Well yeah, I identify as Christian. I’m a Christian.” Working for a Christian community means I haven’t had a conversation like that in years. On Iona everyone assumes you are Christian unless they’re told otherwise.
I mixed with Christians at VidCon too though, and I guess that’s where I’m trying to go with this: I moved easily between my gay friends and my Christian friends there, and I did it with integrity. It wasn’t always comfortable; I don’t always feel at home amongst either group, truth be told. Still, embracing a queer identity alongside a Christian one was something I wasn’t entirely sure I could do. I’m not going to lie, my faith comes first.
But even though addressing issues of religion and sexuality is laughably distant from its real purpose, VidCon made me feel like I can express gay pride. I am fully gay and fully Christian. It’s weird, and I know that statement is going to be misunderstood, but it’s part of my story and I have a duty to bear witness to it.
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