The #WeAretheRCA project has been quiet for some time, but as General Synod 2017 approaches, a few more letters have arrived. Today’s letter to the General Synod comes from Hava Zuidema, a member of Third Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. If you are an LGBTQ person or an ally who is affected by the decisions of General Synod regarding same-sex marriage and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people, please consider submitting a letter for this project to email@example.com. Letters can be published with full name and bio, first name only, or anonymously.
I have some things to say.
Before I came into my sexuality, the RCA was a family to me. I had a home in the church; I felt like I had a place within the body of Christ. I miss that.
My friends and family were all supportive when I came out as bisexual, and I wish I could say my second family was as well. But despite my research that lead to the conclusion that there is no conflict between my sexuality and my religion, I became increasingly aware that I was no longer welcome in the church.
I don’t think people realize how much they’re hurting us by telling us part of us is fundamentally wrong. I carry a lot of weight because of the church. I have a close friend who’s trans. He had to drop out of college because he tried to kill himself again. I wasn’t surprised. It would be naive to ever find a trans suicide surprising.
My mom was at General Synod this past year when they made moves towards blocking same-sex marriage. She was upset and surprised. I wasn’t. It’s been repeatedly communicated to me over the past few years that I’m valueless in most Christian communities.
I’m currently living in a mostly Christian town where it’s not safe to be visibly queer. Queer kids have been physically and verbally assaulted, had beer bottles thrown at them from cars, and been kicked out of restaurants with their partners. In a town like this, we need a family more than ever. I wish the church could be that for us.
I am very tired of all of this and I don’t think it’s my job to explain to you why I’m in pain, or why you should care. I don’t think it’s my job to talk someone down from suicide every few months. But here I am. So the least you could do is acknowledge my existence.