I wonder what it will be like for the children of same-sex couples to be in school in Florida. I wonder what it will be like for parents who identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) to show up for a PTA meeting, or a teacher conference. I wonder how students who identify as LGBTQ+, whether they are out or not, will navigate the insane uncertainty of their existence. Can they be sued by a fearful parent for simply being who they are?
The new law in Florida allows what amounts to vigilante litigation against students, parents, and staff who identify as LGBTQ+ or have someone in their family who does. It may look on the surface to be benign, forbidding any conversation about human sexuality from grades K-3, but in reality, what does a staff person do when a gay couple comes to campus for an event and the children in their 1st grade class start asking questions. Kids talk. They ask questions. It’s in their job description to be curious. That’s how we grow and learn. If that staff person simply answers, “Joey has two daddies,” that opens up a conversation about human sexuality. A hyper-vigilant, fearful parent has the right to sue that staff person, according to the law.
There is a reason our congregation is clear and explicit about being a place of sanctuary, welcome and affirmation to people in the LGBTQ+ community and the people that love them. People, institutions, and even governments are explicit in their exclusion and even hatred toward people who are LGBTQ+ and to the people who are part of their lives. We are clear and explicit because we believe Jesus is explicit and clear in his welcome to the Table of God’s hospitality. We are clear and explicit because we believe everyone is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated that way.