Good Sunday morning!

Today is the last day of February and so the last day of LGBT history month. Just as I was browsing through my Facebook I came across this picture:

While it made me deeply sad, it also made me happy that Rayne and I got shouted at as we walked down the street holding hands yesterday!

“Faggots, faggots….”

And the other day Séamus got something similar

“He’s a faggot, he’ll suck your cock”.

You might be wondering what there is to be happy about but for me there is a lot to be happy about.

1. I get to experience directly what others experienced in school or growing up.

2. It strengthens me on the mission of evangelisation and the fight for justice and equality.

And looking at this poor young guy who lost His life reminds me of another innocent man who was brutally killed also.

Yes, Jesus.

And it is the same Jesus that calls us all forward today to love and to standing for justice, especially for the poor and the weak who are not able to defend themselves.

St. Mother Theresa was a voice for the poor and we too need to be voices for the poor of our society.

For me that is the LGBT community and the ongoing discrimination and abuse young gay people face today in our catholic church and system.

“A stitch in time saves nine” as the phrase goes and so proper education and spiritual support for young gay people could save them from a lifetime of mental health and associated problems.

To some people I probably sound like a broken record, always ranting on about the same thing but sadly that’s what needs to be done until change happens because the “thank you for sharing your story” approach and then doing nothing about the ongoing structures of injustice quite frankly is a grotesque and scandalous omission on the side of our church leaders.

One priest recently gave out to me saying that he had other issues to deal with and couldn’t speak about LGBT every day like me!

Was I asking him to? Of course not.

So why did he react like this? Fear.

And when I said to him that he could speak about it now and then he nearly fell of his seat.

“Do you not think that you have gay people in your church and parents with gay children?” I asked.

He couldn’t get away from me quick enough. Who knows, maybe he’s gay himself and in denial.

And so you see these pressures and lack of transparency and ease in discussing these issues keep many people in the closet and everyone in the closet reinforces the silence and shame and homophobia that has caused so much damage.

Jesus on the other hand calls us to be free and to be ourselves. He does not call us to cowardly hide in closets but rather to take up our crosses and to follow Him.

The cross is the injustice and the abuse that we face from being true to God and true to ourselves but yet it is in bravely carrying our cross that we can inspire others to do the same and free our church from centuries of shame and repression and silence.

And so today my prayer is simple. I pray for more and more catholics to walk out of the closets of shame and silence and to be brave advocates of love and transformation in our catholic church so that one day our catholic churches and schools will be welcoming, accepting and affirming places for the gay community.

My prayers also for all gay people like Matthew and their families for the horrendous suffering and pain that homophobia has brought to their lives.

Happy LGBT history month!

Michael

P.S. A big thank you to my mum and dad who donated €100 to cover the cost of my bike. God bless them both!