An almost 7 year old asked me yesterday what discrimination meant. We talked about gender discrimination – nods followed. Then colour discrimination – again, nods. Then, just before we came to sexuality her parents whisked her off to shop for Polly Pockets.
A few friends around me are gay or lesbian, and I don’t envy them the awful sexuality double speak they have to do in order to survive in our Church of England. In true Anglican style, we don’t want to discriminate against people who are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), but we don’t want them to be sexually active, even within stable, monogamous partnerships. I welcome inclusively. The bible appears to teach many things that I would not. But I remain under authority as an ordinand and in time to come, as a paid up member of the clergy.
I fear that my nearly 7 year old friend will see discrimination still at work when she is old enough to understand sexuality. In the mean time, friends suffer exclusion and robbed of a voice. This isn’t just an intellectual argument: this is about people with whom we have relationships, friends, neighbours, colleagues. And as a church we must find ways to hear their voice, personally and institutionally.