Friday, 15 August 2014

Concerning Vicky Beeching, Kellie Maloney and other Special People

The first blog that I posted on here related to same sex marriage. I stated quite firmly my support for what should really be known a ‘inclusive marriage’. But reading over it again, there are some parts of it that now make me feel uncomfortable. I talked about it as a ‘subject’ that was driven by religious and political arguments. I talked about those who were ‘for’ or ‘against’ ‘Gay/Lesbian’ marriage. Worst of all, I declared myself in favour of ‘it’.  

I have not changed my opinions, far from it. But the blog was all about an issue, a controversy, an ‘it’. I seriously overlooked that behind all the talk, there are real people who suffer real pain, real rejection and real loneliness. At one level, those in the LGBT community are as ordinary as the rest of us. They have mortgages, they go shopping, they worry about paying the bills, they go on holiday. And they are as special to God as the rest of us. 

They are fully included in the words of the writer of Psalm 139 –

‘For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.’ (NIV)

It is shameful that we have talked about a group of humans as if they are somehow different. And that goes for those who support and oppose inclusive marriage. It is not about being right.

This has been highlighted by two stories in the last week. The first concerns the Christian musician, theologian and media personality Vicky Beeching who gave an interview to The Independent in which she said that she was gay and also talked about her life.

You can read the interview itself here –

It is a very honest and powerful read. But one small section says more than anything else. Talking about her struggles as a young teenager she says  

"I remember kneeling down and absolutely sobbing into the carpet. I said to God, 'You have to either take my life or take this attraction away because I cannot do both.'"

Nobody should have to face that level of pain in any circumstances. But for a young girl to struggle alone for fear of God and the church is, or should be, unthinkable.

The other story concerns the well known boxing promoter Frank Maloney who has publicly declared that he is transgender and is going through a process of becoming a woman. He will now be known as Kellie. Boxing has an image of being a sport for the macho – despite the recent success of women boxers. It is a tough world. When I was about 10 I went to a local boxing club in Bootle. Part of me wanted to learn to look after myself and part of me wanted to glide like a butterfly and sting like a bee. I still remember when I got in the ring and was quickly smacked in the face. It really hurt. I went home and decided that incisive wit was a far more effective form of defence!

Boxing is tough. So it was particularly brave of Kellie to place herself in the public eye. In an interview with the Mirror she also talks about her struggles –

‘I can’t keep living in the shadows, that is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me’

She mentions the lifelong conflict within her –

‘What was wrong at birth is now being medically corrected. I have a female brain. I knew I was different from the minute I could compare myself to other children. I wasn’t in the right body. I was jealous of girls.’

There are, of course, hundreds and hundreds of others who remain trapped in silent fear.

So I think I need to stop arguing about an ‘issue’ when we are really talking about special, valuable people who are suffering and alone.

We should also be grateful for these two people, from different worlds, who have made themselves vulnerable so that we can all learn this important lesson.

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