by Austen Hartke
"If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up."
- Psalm 27:10 (NRSV)
Sometimes it's hard to have good relationships with your parents, even under the best circumstances. Those of us who are LGBTQ+ take a huge risk when we come out, and for most of us the scariest thought is the possibility that we may lose contact with members of our family. There are so many stories of teens kicked out of the house for being gay, or transgender adults who haven't been invited to Christmas since they transitioned, and the weight of that possibility can feel like too much to bear. We can start to question our worth--if our parents won't accept us, does that mean we're unlovable?
Into that terror and loneliness come the words of Psalm 27. This song to God begins, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" The author of the psalm is telling God all about what scares them, but then expressing hope and faith in God's presence at the same time. This tension between fear and hope probably sounds familiar--we tend to get caught somewhere between the what-ifs and the maybes. In verse 10 the psalmist stands with us, as LGBTQ+ Christians, when they acknowledge the possibility that human relationships may fail when we need them most.
But when we feel most abandoned and most needy, God promises to be with us. You may see God with you in the actions of others, or in that still, small voice in your own soul. No matter what anyone else says or does, God promises to hold you when other arms and hearts aren't strong enough.
For more thoughts on Psalm 27, check out the Transgender & Christian video "Take Courage!" (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOI3Ta18OGo&list=PLwWfCs7vnwdC1wbIAmH3_kIm0fE7oN9tE&index=16&t=148s)
About The Author
Austen Hartke is the creator of the YouTube series “Transgender and Christian,” which seeks to understand, interpret, and share parts of the Bible that relate to gender identity and the lives of transgender individuals. Austen is a graduate of Luther Seminary’s Master of Arts program in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies, and is the winner of the 2014 John Milton Prize in Old Testament Writing from the same institution. He has spoken at conferences all over the country, including The Reformation Project Conference in Atlanta, the Gay Christian Network Conferences in Houston and in Pittsburg, and the 2016 Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference. Currently Austen lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he is working on a collection of biblical and modern narratives from gender-non-conforming people of faith, to be published with Westminster John Knox Press in Spring of 2018. As a transgender person of faith, his greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-non-conforming people see themselves in scripture.