Next Wednesday is Lesbian Visibility Day. I came out as a lesbian in my mid-40’s. I almost came out when I was 20, but then suppressed it and it took me another 20 years to fully own my sexual orientation. While I proudly consider myself part of the lesbian community, I prefer the word queer because I’ve used bi-sexual, pan-sexual, and lesbian all to describe myself and queer feels like the more appropriate broad range to describe my identity.
Throughout my life, strong lesbians have taught me far more than sexual orientation. They have taught me how to be a fierce feminist, an advocate for equal treatment, a force in breaking traditional gender roles and deep, deep resistance to the harms of patriarchal norms. In our history, it was lesbians who provided care-giving for our men with HIV and AIDS when others abandoned them—even when those same men seldom gave lesbians power in the struggle for gay-rights. And it was Edie Windsor—a strong lesbian—who won the landmark case that overturned the Defense of Marriage act and gave rights and privileges to same-sex couples.
Some of the attacks of the right-wing extremists who harassed us a few weeks ago targeted me because I was a female minister (oh the shock!). I don’t think it even occurred to them that I may be a lesbian female minister. My very existence in this role is an act of resistance to the conservative forces that would forbid me to exist, to lead and to minister. I am proud to be out and proud and I am proud to be your minister.