Yesterday and today, my mum has been gathering ingredients to make yuzu-shu, and I’m excited! (I’m crossing my fingers she’ll let me have a taste since I’m of legal drinking age…) Because she forgot her wallet yesterday, I went on an adventure to get it to her all the way to the Kits area. I’ve always wanted to explore around there, and to my greatest joy, stumbled across several used bookstores (two Shakespeares and All the Light We Cannot See for $3-something), found a Donna Tartt book at the library branch there, and chanced upon two excellent condition typewriters!
But without mincing words, I’ll get straight down to business today…
The topic is LGBTQ2+ and the Christian Writer. When I took a survey on IG to see which controversial topic to write about, I was honestly hoping people would pick swear words instead. (I guess swear words aren’t controversial enough.)
And TBH, I didn’t want to write about this topic–I kept pushing it off to the next month, and then the next. Obviously, it’s highly controversial. It’s sensitive. People will get offended.
Who cares? I mean, really. Some people may find what I’m going to write super helpful, others, not so much. Some will probably even hate me for saying this. Yet I believe that it’s one of those things that need attention, especially Christian writers. We can’t just sit and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. You can’t wish it away.
So prepare to be offended, wounded, or else. I will do my best to speak with love, tact, and truth. Assuming I haven’t scared you away, let’s dive into the topic.
Definition of Christian and LGBTQ2+
The very first thing any court would establish is the definition of terms. I’ve narrowed the terms down to two distinct groups: Christian and LGBTQ2+.
Put both of them quite broadly, here are the definitions:
LGBTQ2+ = Someone who falls under the sexual orientations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirited, & c.
Now, I’m going to assume you know what the Creeds are (if you don’t, give them a quick read-through) and what all the terms in the abbreviated sexual orientation means (the full thing is LGBTQQIP2SAA, I believe).
With these definitions in mind, hear me out.
1. Explicit or Implicit?
Chances are, you’re a Christian writer reading this. (If not, what I have to say will probably have no impact on you.)
But one thing to always consider as a Christian writer is the question: Is your faith explicit or implicit?
Some time back, Story Embers did a series on How Should Christian Authors depict___? This was when I was just starting out writing seriously and was realising there were such things as Christian fiction.
Yes, that’s right. Before, books were books were books. Obviously, I was obsessed with C. S. Lewis and classics. No, I never thought there was a distinction between Christian and non-Christian books.
When I go into writing a book, I don’t start out thinking, Oh, I’ll be super explicit about my faith in this story! Or, I think I’ll be implicit about my faith in this one. There’s usually a story that’s on my heart, and I write it as it comes. There are obvious merits and demerits to each, but chances are, if you’re a Christian, your worldview leaks through your writing. It’s just a matter of saying it outright or not.
For more information, I would recommend taking a moment to read this article on SE, How Explicit Should My Faith Be In My Stories.
Another factor to consider is the audience. I personally think it’s wrong to write LGBTQ2+ heavy story for children, seeing they don’t have a full grasp on sexuality yet. (Which, by the way, is the same reason I would not focus on ‘gender disparity’.)
I grew up without knowing a cent about LBGTQ2+, the same way I didn’t know the internet didn’t exist until I was fourteen. Did that make me a narrow-minded, sheltered kid? By all means, no!
I think there are age-appropriate topics. One wouldn’t show an R-rated movie with graphic and swearing scenes to a toddler. (One wouldn’t show movies to a toddler, in my case.) In the same way, Young Adult and over is a more appropriate audience for LGBTQ2+, since that’s the time you’d start thinking more about the discrepancies between the world you believed in as a child and the world around you. Even Paine had more common sense about these things.
3. Personal Conviction
Lastly, personal conviction is probably the most important factor to consider.
I live in what’s said to be the Northern Hollywood, the Most Liberal City in North America ™. Drugs are legal here, our prime minister attends the pride parade, court cases cast in favour of teenage trans, all washrooms and changing rooms are trans-friendly, you could get sued if you use the wrong pronouns. (It’s always a good idea to ask first if you meet someone new!)
From being an almost-Amish homeschooler from Japan, I had to process and come to terms with the Liberal culture in BC.
Many people are angry at the church for being racists. And I agree, some Christians are racists. But then we have the other extreme of churches afraid to speak Biblical truths in a polite but resolute fashion.
I personally struggled with coming to terms with a healthy sexual orientation and understanding. So, I would write about LGBTQ2+ in my stories. My first major novel features an intersex person. Other works feature SSA (same-sex-attracted) casts. I’m convicted to write from my Christian perspective that God designed us to be male and female, His plan for us is the best one, and our identity is ultimately in him, not in any sexuality. I come from a place of great brokenness. I believe Christian writers can cast light and hope to that darkness.
But maybe that’s not your conviction. Perhaps you aren’t comfortable writing about gender issues that you have a hard time understanding. Perhaps you feel you won’t be able to accurately portray this certain reality.
Not everyone has to write about this topic. I for one write about gender and sexuality, mental health and violence, but won’t write about other controversial topics. (Swear words distract me from the story, so I won’t write them. No graphic scenes or steamy scenes either for the same reason.)
What matters is to write the truth with beauty and care as God did in His Word.
4. Things to Keep in Mind When Writing LGBTQ2+ in Your Story
- Always remember the Biblical stance on LGBTQ2+
In the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, we are introduced to all the sins of mankind that ever will be including various sexual behaviours. The Bible is against all sin including exchanging gender identity from what God ordained, not just in the OT but also in the NT.
- All the wages of sin is death
Sex outside the marriage of man and woman is a sin. So is lying, stealing, and killing (something YA tends to make light of). Don’t focus on one aspect but maintain the consistency that all human beings are broken and in need of salvation.
- Following Jesus is a narrow gate and path
Whether writing implicit or explicit Christian themes, remaining true to your personal faith is important. J. K. Rowling isn’t a Christian, but she still got cancelled when she stated her conviction on trans-sexual issues. If you’re a Christian writing about LGBTQ2+, it won’t be a wonder you might get cancelled or persecuted. Jesus himself did (by Jews and Gentiles alike).
- God is a loving and just God
No matter the sin, God sent His Son to die for all sinners. Like the old saying, ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’, hate speech and ideas will get us nowhere. God, in his inherent love and mercy, saved us from eternal damnation. He didn’t get rid of the damnation because if so, he wouldn’t be a just God. Let’s stay true to his character.
Out of a Far Country (Christopher Yuan)
Holy Sexuality (Christopher Yuan)
Is God Anti-Gay? (Sam Allberry)
DEAR CHRISTIAN NOVELISTS: CLEANNESS IS NOT NEXT TO GODLINESS (Story Embers)
C. S. Lewis on Homosexuality (Will Vaus)
Christianity and Homosexuality: A Review of Books (Timothy Keller)
Thank you for reading!