Church & Hate

Nick Brown reads the Bible every morning to begin his dayText & Photography by D. Giles Clasen

For most of Nick Brown’s life the thing standing between him and true love was a deep belief in God. 

“It occurred to me that the word ‘gay’ might apply to me when I was fifteen,” Brown said.  “I was terrified. Just terrified. I’ve never prayed so much in my life. ‘God, take it away, take it away, take it away,’” he said. “I’d known that I was attracted to guys. I’d just never really realized that that attraction was also sexual.”

For Brown, who is deeply religious, being gay and Christian became a defining struggle in his life, a source of confusion and empowerment, but the process has not been perfect.  Nor is it complete.

Brown’s life is like a narrative exploration of one question: is it possible to be gay and Christian? According to a 2009 Gallup poll, 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian, putting this question at the heart of many people’s lives.

And churches fall on all sides of the issue. A Canadian organization called the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (OCRT), which publishes the website  religioustolerance.org, have been following the debate closely. Their website lists the positions of 47 Christian denominations in North America. “Of the thousands of Christian denominations in the United States, it is the mainline faith groups who are most actively discussing homosexuality,” OCRT said.

 

Read More

Respect My Pronouns

By Patrick Naylis

Toby loves waffles. His nickname is Waffle. “I ate 336 waffles over three days while my dad was in the hospital,” said Toby, explaining how he acquired the nickname. “Chocolate chip are my favorite,” he said with a bright smile. He loves waffles so much, his mom is bringing back a waffle iron from a trip to California.

Toby attends Aurora Central as a freshman. He and his family recently located from Manitou Springs. “I actually like getting up and going to school. I look forward to it. And on occasion I’m early so I can hang out with my friends,” said Toby of his new school.

Toby didn’t always enjoy school. In fact, he found school in Manitou Springs to be a de-valuing experience. “We had to transfer out of the old school because of LGBT bullying,” said Toby.

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, and for this group of people, bullying in and out of schools is a big problem. “It’s a problem for all students,” said Erin Yourtz, Colorado One safe schools coordinator. However, according to a study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) bullying is the norm for LGBT students in their day-to-day experiences at school.

Read More