Equal Voices is saving lives as it works to achieve an equal place at the table for LGBTIQ+ people. Its mission is to connect LGBTIQ people and advocates across the Australian church, supporting them to become truly welcoming and affirming churches. We are working towards a Church that acknowledges, respects, utilizes and celebrates the gifts of all, regardless of sex, sexuality, gender identity, or intersex status.
Today we ask you to become a member of Equal Voices to help us build this movement. Click membership to sign up now.
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Simon. Simon has been a member of Equal Voices since early 2018. Equal Voices has not only empowered Simon to work towards having a place at the table, but it has also given him a reason to live.
This is Simon’s story. Simon was raised in the Church, attended a Church School and thrived in his Christian community. He was very active in his Church, running youth groups, leadership training, preaching and teaching, though he had a dark secret. He was attracted to other men. Simon was gay.
The teaching he had grown up with, and that existed in his Church circles, was that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer was evil, was a lie of the devil, something a person can be healed from. He remembers one sermon where he was told being gay was a form of idolatry – because your passion and desire has turned from God and on to yourself. Simon was also taught that homosexual love and attraction is a form of idolatry because, by loving someone of the same sex, you are loving yourself.
In his youth, Simon believed this and then tried to begin to live that lie. Over and over, he was led to believe that being gay is not the way God had designed him, and that there was something wrong with him – a sickness inside of him. Simon tried for years to change himself. He prayed night and day excruciating prayers, pleading with God that this darkness inside him would be taken away.
Simon shares a story when he was in his early 20’s.
“After leaving Church, I was walking home. I had a powerful experience of God during that service. I felt like my curse had been lifted. However on the way home I noticed another man. There was a brief smile between the two of us as we walked past each other. This was enough for me to spiral down into the lowest depth. I remember praying, begging that God would make me blind so that I would no longer be tempted in my thoughts.”
For years Simon continued to pray daily that God would change him. It eventually became too much to bear. The years of emotional turmoil had taken its toll and Simon had become seriously mentally ill and was contemplating ending his life.Simon recalled,
“There was no other way out. I had been to prayer meeting after prayer meeting. Confessed and re-confessed. Healed and then broken again. The only conclusion I had was that God wouldn’t heal me so God must have abandoned me. I was too much of a mess even for God. The only way out I could see was to end my life.”
Simon managed to crawl his way out of this space, but that sense that God had abandoned him remained. It wasn’t until Simon met another gay Christian that he realised he wasn’t alone. This other gay Christian shared with Simon there were other ways to understand the Bible, and indeed Simon is part of God’s image and design. God loves gay people too.
Simon wishes that Equal Voices had existed when he was going through his darkest time.
“The work that Equal Voices is doing is lifesaving. It is the leading voice in the Christian Community declaring the truth that God loves LGBTIQ people.”
Simon is now part of the Equal Voice’s team which is an alliance of LGBTIQ+ Christians and allies. Equal Voices is supporting, sustaining and empowering LGBTIQ Christians like Simon to express their religious identity in community with others and in the public domain.
At Equal voices we are building a movement and this movement is only just beginning.
Will you become part of this movement? Click membership to become a member today.
We are looking for new financial members to join us at Equal Voices. Will you partner with us to save lives like Simon’s? For $25 you can become a member of Equal Voices and be part of this affirming movement that is making a difference. For $500 you can become a life member.
To become a member we ask that you go to our membership (click this link) section on our website and click the membership level that applies to you. After you have done this, Click ‘add to cart’. You will then need to make a manual bank transfer from your account to Equal Voices, you can do this by following the instructions on our website.
We appreciate the partnership and generosity you already have with us and look forward to this growing as we as an organisation grow.
Ps. Simon is not the real name of this person’s story. He has asked to be anonymous in this letter. So we respect his wish. We point out this further demonstrates the need for Equal Voices to be advocating for an Equal Place at the table.