Church of sinners

There was a review in The New York Times of an art show in the city. The show was focused on art that specifically explored the world of sexual identity, transgender politics and assorted “queer” issues.

The Times’ reviewer used the collective acronym for this alternative universe: LGBTQI. Which was translated as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex.

I had it wrong. I knew LGB and T, but had Q as “Questioning,” usually meaning younger kids who hadn’t made their minds up yet about gender or sexual identity. “Queer,” I thought, was a collective word — and usually of approbation — for homosexuals of either gender. And being a Hoosier, I had never heard “intersex” before.

So I emailed a friend. Raised on the West Coast and living on the East Coast, I figured he’d know the current lingo.

“Well, son, let me try to explain,” he began. He’s also a wise guy. As he understands it, “queer” is really more of a designation for political activism — “queer” politics. It is touchy ground if used outside a political agenda and aimed specifically at a person.

Also, don’t call anything “queer” in the traditional sense of slightly off-center. That use of the word is now banned as it equates “gayness” with odd behavior. Another perfectly good word gone.

He told me that “intersex” refers to the phenomenon of a genetic misfire where male or female is indeterminate.

He let me know that the Times’ acronym actually lagged behind where things now stand. Facebook lists 58 gender options — 58! — to choose from in your profile. The Times are pikers at six.

Scripture keeps life simple. “So God created human beings in his own image; male and female he created them” (Gn 1:27). So it goes.

Let’s get serious. All this sexual correctness is one of the social and psychological tragedies of our times. Simply stated, these semantic games are meant to prop up an ideology of gender identity and sexual expression. We must define these desires, these mental, physical and emotional signs and symptoms, as normal.

Treatment? None allowed, no matter the person’s hope. Accept whatever it is and build a life based on it. No matter the cost. And that cost is tragically high.

A few facts:

Over 40 percent of transgender people attempt suicide over a lifetime. That compares to about 4.6 percent for the general population.

One out of 3 transgender people will die from suicide, and surgical reassignment at any age has zero impact on this rate.

The attempted suicide rate among gay men, lesbians and bisexuals remains at a heartbreaking 20 percent, again, compared to 4.6 percent for the general population.

Blame it all on bigotry. Point fingers at everything from parents, bullies or the Church. But the research says it isn’t so. It’s inherent with the symptoms.

These people of God need help. To deny that help on the grounds of gender political correctness — or misguided faith — is a horror.

Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital.

This is where the Church must be strong. As Pope Francis has stated over and over again, we are a Church of God’s mercy and God’s forgiveness where no one can be turned away. The gay community, the transgender community, the intersex community, the 58-Facebook-options community have a home in the Church. The Church doesn’t accept lifestyles if they are still embraced. But she takes on people unconditionally. Because grace is everywhere. They need the Church. The Church needs them.

The call to conversion is constant. It’s a call we share. We are a Church of sinners struggling to be saints. We are one in our shared faith, hope and love.

Welcome them. Bring them in and keep them in. Let’s save our souls together. And unlike the society that surrounds them, we can also save their lives.

Robert P. Lockwood writes from Indiana.