12 June 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
Aunty, I’m not one of those people who hates LGBTQ people. Some of my best friends are gay. But recently when I was talking to my gay cousin, I mentioned something about his “gay lifestyle” and he got all huffy. He said he didn’t like that term applied to him. I dropped it, but I’m still trying to figure it out. After all, he is gay, and he is married to a man.
Signed, What’s Wrong?
Yeah, you put your foot in your mouth. But rather than trying to explain it, Aunty asked Floyd Pönitz, president of SDA Kinship International. Floyd responded,
Remember the TV show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? People watched it to admire (or to be jealous of) the luxurious things that rich people could buy.
Nowadays, though, the word “lifestyle” in the same sentence as “gay” automatically implies decadence or immorality. It has come to mean an excess of sex, a lack of faithfulness, and probably drugs—not because they know that’s what our lives are like, but because they’ve been led to believe this by vague accusations, likely from religious figures condemning the LGBTQ community.
What they obviously don’t realize: for most LGBTQ people, like me and my husband, “the gay lifestyle” means going to work every day, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning house, and at the end of the day watching some favorite TV shows together.
In other words, our gay lifestyle probably isn’t much different from your heterosexual lifestyle, except that I’m married to a man.
Most LGBTQ people aren’t leading Lady Gaga lives; I know very few who do. Just because a LGBTQ person loves a person of their same sex doesn’t make their lifestyle any more bizarre than a straight person loving a person of the opposite gender. Our lives are about as routine and boring as yours.
I’m not saying there aren’t LGBTQ people who live wild lives—of course some do. But so do some heterosexual people! Do straight people who have affairs outside of marriage, for example, or who go home from a bar with people they barely know, or single people who “sleep around,” define the heterosexual lifestyle as you practice it? Assuming you are like most married heterosexual Adventist folks, I think you’d be offended if I implied that that summed up “the straight lifestyle”!
Your cousin found the term “gay lifestyle” derogatory because it implies that since he’s gay, he must indulge in wild, unrestrained behavior. But one lifestyle doesn’t fit all. If you respect your LGBTQ friends and family, delete that term from your vocabulary. Instead, interact with LGBTQ folks as you would other friends: listen and show respect.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identifying the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.