Q Christian Fellowship Conference 2024

I walked into the auditorium and was overwhelmed by the uniqueness and creativity I experienced in the room. I was surrounded by 600 individuals who knew what it was to grieve, endure, suffer, and hope. Where was I? I was standing in the middle of the Q Christian Fellowship conference. Q Christian Fellowship | Radical Belonging for LGBTQ+ Christians & Allies.

I am still searching for words to express all that I experienced.

Many of the people at the conference have paid a heavy price to be who they are. Story after story was shared of how they lost jobs, relationships, community, and family because of their coming out. I am amazed that so many of these people still want to have anything to do with the Church.

Mixed Orientation Marriages (MOM)

The most impactful session for me was the mixed orientation marriage (MOM) session. A mixed orientation marriage is when one partner is straight, and the other is queer. This session held particular importance to me because I am a kid of one of these marriages. When my dad came out as gay in the late 80’s no one in our family or church knew what to do. This was an agonizing time for my dad who finally had the courage to say who he was, for my mom whose family had just blown up, and for my brother and I who didn’t understand what was happening, but just knew we wanted our dad back.

During the session I heard story after story of how painful it was for the spouses/partners to end their relationships with someone they still loved and cared about and how much they worried about their kids.

Reimagining

I was absolutely blown away by the last speaker. His name is Irvin Heishman. Irv is a pastor and has been married for 30+ years. He eventually came out to his wife and congregation as gay, and they both received him with open arms. After some time, he and his wife decided to separate. However, unlike all other MOM relationships I’ve heard of that have ended they decided to honor each other in the most amazing way possible.

They created a ceremony to honor the life they had lived together, who they each were, and to release each other from the covenant they had made when they got married. I am still in awe of what I heard and experienced. The graciousness and redemption in their ceremony was palpable and beyond my imagination. What a gift they gave to each other, their kids, grandkids, and the MOM community at large. Irv was also kind enough to give me a “dad” hug since my own dad is no longer with us. Thank you Irv!

Another speaker at the conference was Brit Barron. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, take it! She is so real, inspiring, and full of love for people. She encouraged us to “write fiction” meaning imagine what could be. The ceremony Irv and his wife created was one amazing example of imagining what could be. They reimagined their relationship together in the most honoring way possible.  

What this means to me…

I realized after leaving the mixed orientation marriage (MOM) session and seeing the agony on people’s faces one-day mixed orientation marriages won’t exist unless the couple intentionally chooses to be in the marriage together. These marriages won’t exist because people will no longer feel they can’t be themselves because of what the church or culture says. They will one day understand God created them to be queer and did not make a mistake. They will no longer have to choose between loving their kids and themselves. And what I want for the kids of these marriages is a reframing of what is. Your queer parent isn’t bad or other. They aren’t being selfish by choosing to be who they were created to be. Rather, this is a systemic problem. The church and culture have created an environment where for many they felt marrying the opposite sex was the only option, only to realize later they couldn’t continue to cut off part of themselves for the sake of what? Being loved by God? God already loves you and created you to be queer. God is not confused. They intentionally and lovingly created you to be you.

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