I came out as queer and transgender while serving as a board member on the General Board of Church and Society. I was supported by many other board members, although I also experienced deep (and very non-Christ-like) condescension from some board members who believed I was “misguided” in embracing who I truly am.

But one of my most telling experiences was serving as legislative chair for the first Global Young People’s convocation, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2006. There, I worked along side a variety of young Methodists to plan the legislative assembly. The goal of this legislative assembly is to enable young people’s voices to carry to General Conference, and to the general church, through legislation inspired by our experience in the church as young people.

I watched something incredibly profound happen at this legislative assembly. Young people from around church and world and from a wide variety of theological backgrounds came together to discuss changes that need to be made in the church to enable it to be a church in which we can feel at home and invigorated.

By 2/3 majority, we passed the most LGBTQ positive legislation that this denomination has ever seen.

No matter what their theological beliefs, youth agreed that shutting LGBTQ individuals out of The UMC is unethical and DEFINITELY not Christ-like. This experience allowed me to feel that I could stand proud as a queer and trans United Methodist.

I am very grateful for the ways that I’ve been empowered, mentored, and nurtured by The UMC. Every young queer deserves this. Closing the church door on LGBTQ individuals is closing our church doors for good. In order for The UMC to thrive, we need to embrace moments of discomfort and allow Christ to lead us through these growing experiences. We have so much to teach each other! 

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