The Issue of Celibacy for LGBTQ Christians

Christians are, as one may suspect, constantly torn between making choices that honor either their faith or their identity. Managing to find a bridge between the two can be highly difficult, if not downright impossible. Perhaps the biggest issue that falls into this Venn diagram is how LGBTQ Christians go about their lives, including the question of celibacy.

Within the LGBTQ Christian community, there are, as described by the Gay Christian Network (a group dedicated to bridging these two vital parts of one’s identity), at least two sides to this issue. On one hand, you have those who fall under the “Side A” category, those who believe that God approves of same-sex marriages. This belief can be backed by many factors, such as one’s personal experiences, and a deep study of Biblical history that supports this stance.

On the other hand, you have the “Side B” LGBTQ Christians. These are individuals who simply believe that their duty is to remain celibate for life. Side B individuals possibly believe, for whatever reason, that acting on their desires would go against what God wants for them. This stance could also be influenced by the discussion of God giving what has been called the “gift of celibacy” to a few individuals. This gift, stemming from 1 Corinthians 7:7, is believed to give somebody the capability of going through their life without desiring to be in a relationship.

Naturally, it is vital that both sides of this debate respect each other’s views, and discuss this matter civilly. Of course, people may never fully settle this argument. Side B individuals might never approve of their counterparts’ choices, while the other side might view Side B people with scorn for appearing to be punishing themselves.

It’s also important to keep in mind what celibacy is and isn’t. For example, choosing to be abstinent until marriage doesn’t necessarily make somebody celibate. Rather, choosing to remain single or abstinent for life would. Also, knowing the difference between celibacy and asexuality is even more important.  Asexuality means simply not having any sexual attraction, rather than making a conscious choice to not partake in sex.

This debate has posed a major struggle for LGBTQ individuals of faith. It has and will likely continue, to provoke deep questions about how one’s identity is meant to be.

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