Living in a world where we are discriminated against by both cisgender-straight people and monosexual gay men and lesbians alike, bi people suffer exorbitant rates of physical and mental health issues. We are frequently isolated from the larger LGBTQ community, locked out of resources, and underserved by professionals who we entrust to care for us. With high rates of suicide attempts, eating disorders, intimate partner violence, sexual assault and more, it’s no wonder that my community is facing a systemic mental health crisis. Even worse, many people, even people who consider themselves to be allies to the LGBTQ community and those within the community as well, are silent about it.

Yet, despite these challenges, despite this discrimination, bi people–particularly bi Christians–are some of the most extraordinarily spiritual people I know. Bi people have been endowed by our Creator with specific gifts for ministry, not despite our bisexuality, but because of it.

In a world so entrenched and entrapped by the prisons of boxes and binaries, bisexual people challenge the rigid dichotomies that others take for granted. In a society that insists on a false choice of either/or, bisexual people exist every day in the world of both/and, proving that another world is indeed possible.

This has specific implications for ministry because, as Christians, we worship a God who became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, the very personification of both/and.

We expected our God to be God and for humans to be humans. We expected that these things were at odds with one another and that they could not both be true at the same time. Yet, Jesus comes to us–different than the God we thought we understood, different than any human being we know–and tears down our expectations as someone who is both 100% God and 100% human.

Those of us who defy binaries in our sexual orientations, as well as people who defy binaries by their gender, have special insight and kinship with a God whose very existence busts binaries. We know that breaking down of binaries well. We live it daily. It’s in our very cells. 

It’s because of this betrayal against the world full of binaries that bi people are called “traitors.” And it’s true, we do betray the strict lines delineating sexual identities. We don’t behave in the ways that we are expected to.

We aren’t gay enough, we aren’t straight enough, we are something wholly different.

And because of this, we are often taunted with cries of, “choose a side!”

But Jesus knows what it’s like to betray systems, too. 

Jesus betrayed the expectation of complete allegiance to the Roman Empire AND he also betrayed the zealots who were intent on a specific kind of rebellion against that same empire. I’m sure the crowd who was disappointed in Jesus’ methods wished that he would “just commit,” too.

Unfortunately, it turns out that living out your authentic self when you are a person who does not fit well into the established categories of your culture has violent implications. Bisexual people resist the status quo by simply expisting. This resistance is a liberating gift to bi people and to the world as a whole, but it is not without consequences. Being bi is dangerous. It is dangerous to an oppressive world order that insists that everyone fit neatly into easily understood categories, and it is dangerous for those of us who rebel against that decree.

As a victim of abuse, Jesus shows solidarity with the countless numbers of us within the bi community who have experienced abuse as well. Jesus was isolated and alone, as we often are. Jesus was cast out of his community, as we often are. Jesus suffered and was a victim of beatings and violence, as we often are.

Bi people are Jesus’ beloveds. 

And so when bi people are erased in the media, made invisible by our friends and our families, when we are abused by our lovers or cast out from our community as traitors, we can be encouraged by knowing that there is a cosmic witness that will always see us.

The God of the universe, who created us for a purpose and knows us intimately, sees us exactly as we are, and loves us for it. Jesus sees our suffering and our joy. Our identities, our losses, our longings are all visible to God.

And that is something that no one can erase. 

Elle Dowd

Elle Dowd (she/her/hers) is a bi-furious #pastorschool student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and a candidate for ordained ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Elle has pieces of her heart in Sierra Leone, where her two children were born, and in St. Louis where she learned from the radical, queer, Black leadership during the Ferguson Uprising. She currently works as a community organizer with #DecolonizeLutheranism and on weekends tours the city of Chicago in search of the best Bloody Mary.

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