When navigating relationships with those who experience same-sex attraction or struggle with gender identity, it is important to be mindful of the individual, said a speaker in the Gentile Gallery Tuesday.
Anna Carter, co-founder and president of the Eden Invitation, said in her talk “Fellow Travelers: Solidarity and Accompaniment Within Same-Sex Desires and Gender Discordance” that “truths build on each other gradually.”
According to its website, Eden Invitation is a group dedicated to the “original personhood beyond the LGBTQ+ paradigm.” The group connects with individuals experiencing same-sex attraction and helps them to develop a connection with God.
Carter said relationship is important to establish understanding when talking to people who struggle with their sexual identity and gender. These individuals are also part of the Church, Carter said, since experiencing certain desires is not the same as acting upon them.
It is important to be mindful of what is said about such issues, Carter said, because cruel language can push people with these attractions away from the Church and the truth of who they are as children of God.
Not every person who struggles with sexual identity or gender has the same life story, Carter said. It can be easy to generalize and place people into categories, but each person is in a unique situation.
Carter said those who engage in dialogue with these individuals need to talk about the many aspects of the individuals’ lives and not just the feelings with which they struggle. A person cannot know that he or she is cared for as an individual if people don’t take the time to ask about interests, hobbies, and other things that are important to him or her.
“What really struck me is that you do not always have to put theology in the conversation,” said freshman Sophia Propson. “You need to focus on actually loving a person.”