Bisexuality & Christian Homophobia | Queer Theology


So, I’m bisexual and I was
raised Evangelical Christian and today I want to talk
about how Christian homophobia got in the way of me acknowledging and accepting my bisexuality. If you don’t already know me,
my name is Brian G Murphy, I’m one of the co-founders
of queertheology.com and today we’re going to talk
about Christian homophobia. Growing up, the message
that I got from the church and from Christian culture around me was that homosexuality was
something that you did. Orientation was secondary,
if it even existed. Or it was seen as a temptation. So homosexuality was looking at gay porn, having gay sex, kissing
boys, fantasizing about men, looking at male underwear models. And the emphasis was always on actions rather than orientation. It didn’t matter so much if
you had a bisexual orientation just as long as you weren’t
“committing homosexual acts”. In fact, after I came out, I went to a Christian therapist, he asked if I would go to more therapy to move my attractions
closer towards bisexuality. And then I could just choose to only act on my attraction towards women and not my attractions towards men. When it came to bisexuality, the message that I got
was that the only problem were the homosexual parts of it. Now that I’m out and proudly bisexual I understand that bisexuality
isn’t one part gay and one part straight. I’m just 100 percent bisexual. But this particular type
of Christian homophobia defines homosexuality as particular acts and then discriminates against people based upon those actions. Orientation be damned. And so bisexual people
and homosexual people both experience this
particular type of homophobia. (record scratch) Wait, wait, wait! Aren’t you bisexual? What do you mean your therapist
asked you to go to therapy to move your attractions
closer towards bisexuality. Yes! I am bisexual, but it took me a little
while to figure that out and part of the problem for me was that this particular
type of Christian homophobia defined “the sin” of
homosexuality as specific actions. And so for me the tension came
around my attractions to men, my desires to be with men and so that’s what sucked up
all the energy and the focus. You know when you bite
your cheek and it swells up and you keep biting it? Or you hit your hand with a
hammer and then any discomfort you might be feeling elsewhere goes away because all you can focus
on is the thumb you just hit or the cheek that you just bit. That was sort of, for me, what it was like realizing that I was attracted to guys. That sort of, “problem” what
I thought was a problem, what I thought might be a
place where I was going to sin, sucked up all of my time, energy and focus and I didn’t have time
or space to consider any other attractions that I
may or may not be experiencing. Another problem for me was the, “God made me this way,
I don’t have a choice” defense of being gay. One of the most common
arguments that I heard for how you know it was
okay to be gay or lesbian or transgender and Christian
was that God made us this way and we didn’t have a choice and
so therefore it must be okay because why would God make us this way if it was only going to be a sin? So my entire world view
of it’s okay to be gay, hinged on I don’t have any other options. And then every now and then I
would be attracted to a woman and suddenly I would be thrown into crisis because suddenly it felt
like I did have a choice or I did have other options and then I was maybe just
supposed to choose women because, oh, I’m attracted to this person so if I could choose that, then it means I’m not stuck being gay and being gay isn’t necessarily
a choice because again, being gay was defined
as homosexual actions rather than identity or an orientation. And so it was hard for me to any healthy, meaningful relationship with a person who was causing me to have
this existential crisis about the goodness of
myself and my LGBTQ friends. So when we talk about how
it’s okay to be LGBTQ, I think it’s really
important that we remember the experiences of bi, pan, queer folks who sometimes do feel like we
had a choice or have a choice. And I now understand that
when it comes to this idea of choosing, it’s often framed
as choosing between genders, but really the choice is
between fracturing yourself or between wholeness. And so regardless of who bi+ people choose to be in a relationship
with at any given moment or choose to have sex with, we shouldn’t have to choose
between our queerness, our bi-ness and our Christian faith. And for me as a bi person
its important to remember that bisexual people can be affected by biphobia and homophobia. That it’s important
that we notice and name and work against the
particular ways we’re targeted because of our bisexuality, because of biphobia and it’s
also important to notice the ways in which we’re
affected by homophobia and work in solidarity
with our homosexual peers because we’re all part
of one big queer family. That’s all for today. If you’re new here, hello and welcome, subscribe to get more
videos about queer theology and LGBTQ Christian issues. You can also check out queertheology.com where we have a ton of resources for you no matter where you are on your journey. From whether you’re still sorting through whether it’s okay to be LGBTQ Christian, trying to figure out how to be an ally, to all the way if you’re going to really queer up your church,
read the bible queerly and bring a queer lens to your faith, to the bible, to everything. So check that out! We also have a weekly
bible podcast where we give a queer take on the
week’s lectionary reading. I will put all the information to that, how you can connect to us on social media, how you can connect to me personally and my co-founder, Shay. We would love to say hi, be your friend! That’s all for now and
I’ll talk to you soon. (upbeat music)

6 thoughts on “Bisexuality & Christian Homophobia | Queer Theology

  • This is the third time in the past few days that I've seen this issue discussed: that as bi, we find ourselves pressured to choose a side, since, unlike gay people, we do have a choice. This has been the biggest problem for me for my whole life — I've spent many years thinking it made no difference if I just let people think I'm straight, and acted accordingly. But that's not working, and I'm trying to figure out why. This video helps.

  • I have also thought about this for a while and is really helpful to hear other people talk about this subject that is close to me.

    Just a question, do you have any books that you would suggest about queer teology?

  • I am really struggling right now. I am a firm believer in Christ and the Bible and I have discovered, or realized, that I am bisexual and I don't know what to do. I'm in a bit of distress because I feel like it isn't a choice but the people at my church are like "no that's wrong 100%" and I just don't know what to do

  • I'm bisexual too and Christian but baptized and raised in a Lutheran denomination that is super conservative and believes me being bi is wrong. I am testing out an open and affirming church and planning to leave my church someday soon for one that accepts LGBTQ people. have been reading the queer theology daily affirmations and they're so helpful!

  • Really great video! Thank you so much for talking about the nuance here and the way being bisexual can complicate the "born this way" narrative especially as it relates to being part of a religious organization. Great work 🙂

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