Two queer Christians talk about parenthood

In Spanish there is a great word for families formed by lesbian and gay parents "homoparentales" which translates to parents of the same gender.  In this blog for Christian LGBTQ people Esther Baruja, originally from Paraguay but living in Chicago and Carlos Osma from Spain talk about their families and their faith. Baruja studied theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary and is now in the process of being ordained as a minister for UCC.  Osma started a group for LGBT Christians in Barcelona called Comunidad Protestants Inclusius Barcelona. Baruja and her partner Kati are expecting a baby this year and Carlos and his partner have two daughters under six years old.

Some excerpts from the blog follow. This online conversation is a great one to share with other Spanish-speaking LGBT people of faith, inclusive non-LGBT people of faith, LGBT families and those who are interested in supporting LGBT families.

On Families:

Esther Baruja:

Kati y yo hemos hablado mucho sobre nuestros roles de madre gestante y madre no-gestante. Hemos llegado a conclusiones interesantes sobre nuestra propia relación en estas conversaciones. Primero que la decisión de tener un hijo/a ha sido de las dos, ninguna de nosotras lo hubiera hecho sola porque en nuestro caso específico necesitamos una compañera para realizar este proyecto, lo cual no significa que no apoyemos a las personas solteras que decidan tener hijos. Entonces, desde el vamos! este/a futuro bebé es nuestro/a, no solo de la que lo/a gesta en su vientre. El niño/a ha sido gestado primero en nuestro corazón. Es un proyecto de amor de las dos. 

Kati and I have talked about our roles as the mother who is carrying and the mother who is not. We have reached interesting conclusions about our own relationships to these conversations. First the decision to have a child was made by both of us. Neither of us would have done it alone because in our specific case we needed a partner to enter into this project, which by no means that we don't support single people who decide to have children. As a result, from the moment we said let's do it, this future baby belongs to both of us, not just to the one that is carrying the baby in their womb. The child was first conceived in our hearts. Our child is a project of love for both of us.

Carlos Osma:

Pero si hemos aprendido algo en estos seis años, es que lo más importante no es lo que los demás piensen sobre nuestra familia, sino proteger a nuestras hijas de los entornos que todavía no son beneficiosos para ellas. Y para tratar de conseguirlo hemos hecho dos cosas que creemos importantes. Por un lado intentamos buscar siempre entornos seguros para ellas, controlar los espacios donde se mueven (colegios, actividades extraescolares, amistades…) y ser nosotros los que “saquemos del armario” a nuestra familia. En realidad es nuestra obligación hacerlo, no la suya. Una de las decisiones más difíciles en este sentido fue romper la relación con familiares que no aceptaban realmente nuestro modelo familiar.

But if we have learned anything in these six years, it is that the most important thing is not what others think about our family, but to protect our daughters from the people around them that are still not supportive of them. And to try to do this we have done two things that we think are important. On the one hand, we try to look for safe places for them, we pay attention to the spaces they move in (schools, extracurricular activities, friendships…) and we made sure that we are the ones who "out our family." Because in reality that is our responsibility not theirs. One of the most difficult decisions we had to make as a result was to stop interacting with some family members that didn't really accept our family model.

On Faith:

Esther Baruja:

Están también los/as cristianos/as que creen que nuestras orientaciones sexuales, identidades de género, y relaciones de amor y afecto son intrínsecamente pecaminosas.  Muchas veces ellos/as no han escuchado la otra campana sino que repiten las teologías conservadoras que han recibido en sus templos como si fueran la única posible interpretación a los textos bíblicos. Por eso creo que la educación y el estudio bíblico con todas las herramientas hermenéuticas disponibles son clave para desmantelar la homofobia en la iglesia cristiana. He conocido personas sin conocimiento suficiente sobre el tema que tienen buena intención al predicar sobre el arrepentimiento a las personas LGBT, pero sus acciones causan mucho daño y lo saben pero prefieren defender dogmas que defender la dignidad de las personas.
Existe otro tipo de cristianos/as que han tenido la oportunidad de estudiar otros puntos de vistas, que han leído y han investigado pero aún así se niegan a cambiar de postura, rehúsan bajar de su pedestal de supuesta superioridad heteronormativa, rechazan vernos como iguales en derechos, no nos han reconocido como seres humanos, sino somos el “otro/a”, el enemigo, el “no-yo”.
Todas estas posiciones intentan deshumanizarnos, olvidando que todas y todos fuimos hechos a imagen de Dios, somos Imago Dei. Creo que la causa de esta penosa situación es el hecho de ignorar los dos mandamientos que resumen toda la ley, “amar a Dios y amar a nuestro prójimo/a como a nosotros/as mismos/as”.

There are also those Christians that think our sexual orientations, gender identity, and loving relationships are intrinsically sinful. A lot of times they have not heard the other side but just repeat conservative theology that they hear in their temples as if that were the only possible interpretation of the biblical texts. That's why I think that education and bible study with all the proper hermeneutical tools are key to dismantling homophobia in the Christian church. I've met people without sufficient knowledge on the subject and good intentions, preach repentance by LGBT people, but their actions have caused so much harm and they know it but prefer to defend their instead of defending the dignity of all persons.

There is another type of Christian that has had the opportunity to study other points of views and has read and investigated but still don't change their positions, because they don't want to come down off the pedestal of the supposed superiority of heteronormativity, they refuse to see us as equals in our rights, they don't recognize as human beings, instead they see us as "other", the enemy, the "not-I."

All these positions try to dehumanize us, forgetting that all of us were made in God's image, we are Imago Dei. I think that they get to these unfortunate positions because they are ignoring the commandments that are summarized in all the laws. "love God and love your neighbor as yourself."

Carlos Osma:

De todas formas uno se percata de lo peligrosos que son los planteamientos cristianos que están basados en una supuesta posesión de la verdad. Peligrosos no para la mayoría de la sociedad que los ve como radicalizados, sino para las propias comunidades evangélicas, ya que quienes padecen las consecuencias de los discursos de odio hacia las personas LGTB son las personas LGTB que forman parte de esas comunidades, al igual que sus familiares y amigos.

In the end one realizes how dangerous are the positions of Christians that base themselves on the idea that they supposedly own the truth. Dangerous not for the majority of society who sees them as radicals, but to their own evangelical communities, because those who suffer the consequences of their hateful rhetoric towards LGBT people are the LGBT people that are part of their own [church] communities, as well as their families and friends.

You can read the full conversation in Spanish here.