Equal Voices has the vision of an equal place at the table. We are LGBTIQA+ people with our allies connecting, collaborating and advocating across Australia on matters of inclusion. We are supporting Australian churches and society in becoming fully affirming which means they acknowledge, respect, utilise and celebrate the gifts of all people, regardless of sexuality, gender identity or intersex status.
Today we ask you to join us in this work for 2019, click membership to sign up now.
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to just one of our members, Simon*. Simon has been a member of Equal Voices since early 2018. Equal Voices has empowered Simon and others like him to claim his place at the table and work towards inclusion for all. For Simon, working with Equal voices for the inclusion of all has been life changing.
This is Simon’s story. Simon was raised in the Church, attended a Christian School and thrived in his Christian community. He was very active in his church, running youth groups, leadership training, preaching and teaching, but he had a secret. He was attracted to other men.
The teaching he had grown up with in the Church was that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer was evil, was a lie of the devil and a sickness from which a person could be healed. Simon remembers one sermon that described being gay as a form of idolatry – because your passion and desire has turned from God and onto people of the same sex and, by extension, yourself.
In his youth, Simon internalised these beliefs. Over and over, he was led to believe that being gay was contrary to God’s design, and that there was a sickness inside of him. Simon tried for years to change himself. He prayed night and day, pleading with God to take away the darkness inside of him.
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 slowly began to recover, but the sense that God had abandoned him remained. When Simon first met another gay Christian he finally realised he wasn’t alone. In talking with other gay Christians, Simon learnt that there were other ways to understand the Bible, and that LGBTIQA+ people are fearfully and wonderfully created in the image of God. God created and loves LGBTIQA+ people.
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 LGBTIQA+ people.”
Simon is now part of the Equal Voice’s alliance of LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies. Equal Voices is connecting, collaborating and advocating across Australia on matters of inclusion. They are supporting Australian churches and society in becoming fully affirming which means they acknowledge, respect, and celebrate the gifts of all people, regardless of, sexuality, gender identity or intersex status.
At Equal voices we are building a movement, but we are still only just beginning.
Will you join us in this movement? Click membership to become a member today. For $25, you can become a member and be part of this affirming movement. By becoming a member you are helping us create change. For $500, you can become a lifetime member.
Instructions: To become a member we ask that you go to our membership (click this link). Please select the PayPal button below your desired membership level, which includes an option to either login to your PayPal account or pay by card. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address provided.
On behalf of the Equal Voices team we thank you for your support.
*At his request, ‘Simon’ is a pseudonym.