For Clarity’s Sake
Frequently Asked Questions
As our colleagues at Church Clarity have been teaching us all, Clarity is more than reasonable–it’s essential. At Q Christian Fellowship, we practice our mission and vision in the following ways:
Does God affirm LGBTQ+ identities and gender-expansive identities?
Does God affirm same-gender sexual relationships?
Who are members of the Q Christian Community?
We are a diverse community with varied backgrounds, cultures, theologies and denominations, drawn together through our love of Christ and our belief that every person is a beloved child of God. More specifically, we include LGBTQ+ Christians and allies. We aim to foster community and to provide support to the LGBTQ+ community, their parents and families, clergy and other allies.
How do we cultivate radical welcome to all people?
While we know that we have much more work to do, we aim to protect difference and cultivate radical belonging for our entire community. We seek to pursue truly equitable and anti-racist outcomes. We aim to decenter the experiences and journeys of cis gender, straight and white community members with the intent of making space for the most marginalized within our community such as trans people and people of color, while providing support for all members to grow and thrive.
Who are members of our ‘Side A’ Community?
LGBTQ+ Christians who fully affirm both LGBTQ+ identity and same-gender sex for various personal and/or theological reasons. This includes those who have a broad range of sexual ethics.
Who are members of our ‘Side B’ Community?
LGBTQ+ Christians who affirm LGBTQ+ identity and who also are committed to refraining from same-gender sex for various personal and/or theological reasons. This includes single celibate LGBTQ+ Christians as well as those in celibate partnerships and mixed-orientation marriages.
What is ‘Side X’ or ‘Ex-Gay’ or ‘Once Gay’ theology?
This is dangerous and disproven theology that alleges that LGBTQ+ identity can and/or should be changed by God. Q Christian counters this theology in the Unchanged Movement.
Why use language like “Side A” and “Side B”?
We aim to move our fellowship beyond a debate between sides, yet we recognize that our community has adopted this terminology for a reason; it allows for clarity in sharing about the intersection between one’s theology and identity. Until new terminology is formed more organically, we will continue to use this language. Notably, there are other positions, including those who are ‘actively discerning’ and/or ‘agnostic’ when it comes to same gender sex.
Why does Q Christian include Side B Christians?
Q Christian is a fully affirming organization. We are committed to encountering each person wherever they currently are in their journey and cultivating a safe place for them to do their own work to integrate their faith, their sexuality, and their gender identity and expression. We believe that a personal call to celibacy, as Jesus affirms in Matthew 19:12, is to be honored. We practice mutuality with celibacy-affirming Christians, like those who attend Revoice Conference, because we respect individual convictions and prioritize a radical welcome in the midst of disagreement. We also honor and journey with those in celibate partnerships and mixed orientation marriages by respecting and supporting their commitments. Together, as a community, we can model the fullness of God’s love by growing toward healthy community and seeking justice always. Q Christian celebrates the presence of Side B people within our community, and, consistent with our calling since 2001, we remain committed to building a community where all can fully belong. Q Christian’s values affirm the radical diversity of the Kin-dom of God where we fully expect to encounter the Spirit of Christ in one another.
Is imposing on others a mandate of celibacy or change harmful?
Yes. Any mandated ethic of celibacy or change by a family member or institution is ultimately harmful for LGBTQ+ people. (For relevant research on the mental health and experiences of LGBTQ+ youth, check out The Trevor Project.) Q Christian honors the personal convictions of those who feel called to celibacy yet recognizes that this is a deeply personal decision and should not be mandated by another person or institution. Though sexuality can be fluid, we do not believe it is healthy or effective to try to change or manipulate one’s sexual identity or sexual attractions.
Is lifelong celibacy itself harmful?
Some LGBTQ+ people tell us that embracing the sexual ethic of lifelong celibacy is life-giving for them; other LGBTQ+ people say they have been deeply harmed by celibacy-affirming theology. Discerning a call to celibacy should lead to more health and wholeness. As with any ethic, circumstances, life stages, and personal factors like mental health should be part of the discernment process. We believe that obeying God will result in people becoming more healthy and whole. We reject any mandatory imposition of celibacy, which can be driven by shame and/or can lead to mental health issues, particularly among young people who are still in the process of forming their own ethics. Many LGBTQ+ people who connect with Q Christian were raised in church contexts that taught that celibacy was the only faithful way for LGBTQ+ people to live. When celibacy is externally imposed, rather than personally discerned, LGBTQ+ people often struggle deeply and may experience depression, anxiety, self-hatred, self-harm, and/or suicidal ideation. Celibacy may be freely chosen for many reasons, including by members of our community who identify along the spectrum of asexuality. Q Christian cultivates a safe space where people can question and assess how God is calling them to live in the confidence that God’s plans for us are good and will lead to our flourishing.
What is our hope for parents and their LGBTQ+ children?
Parents should unequivocally affirm their LGBTQ+ children’s identity and respect that their children should discern for themselves their own theology and sexual ethic. It is statistically and empirically conclusive that a non-affirming dynamic is damaging to a child, no matter their age. In particular, LGBTQ youth are “experiencing heartbreaking levels of stress, anxiety and rejection, but also overwhelmingly feel unsafe in their own school classrooms. LGBTQ young people who participated in the survey also made crystal clear that supportive families and inclusive schools are key to their success and well-being.” Q Christian has accompanied thousands of parents through the years and recognizes and respects the journey many parents take. Our top priority is the affirmation and health of the LGBTQ+ child. We also seek to equip parents to relate to their LGBTQ+ child in healthy and respectful ways. We respect the autonomy of adult LGBTQ+ people to choose the degree to which they engage with their non-affirming parents. We offer a variety of resources for families, including our annual Parent Summit. In all our engagement with parents, we stress these essential data points courtesy of The Trevor Project:
LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection
In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
What relationships are recognized by Q Christian?
We recognize a broad range of relationships to the extent that they align with our centered set of values on sexual ethics.
What is our hope with respect to dialoguing across a broad spectrum of identities and sexual ethics?
At Q Christian, we model having nuanced dialogue on sexual ethics with a recognition of the differences and diversity within our community. Our focus is the unequivocal affirmation of the personhood, identities, and relational commitments of LGBTQ+ people. We encourage people in the Q Christian community to clarify their core values and beliefs concerning sexual ethics recognizing that flourishing is best experienced when we live in alignment with our convictions. Q Christian centers Fellowship–your presence and participation in our work is what empowers all of us to realize this shared vision of just relationships, an inclusive Church, and an equitable world for LGBTQ+ Christians.
Are you trying to be too much to too many?
No. We aim to honor our mission, which is to cultivate radical welcome and to embrace disagreement and to value difference. There are already many spaces for those who want to gather with those who are like-minded. Our aim at Q Christian is to celebrate difference and understand the full diversity of the kingdom/kin-dom of believers without actually promoting a specific sexual ethic or interpretation of Scripture. There are those in our community who have adopted the various sexual ethics described in our Affirmation Guide on Sexuality and Spirituality, and we think it is important to bring everyone out from the shadows and into the light. It does not mean that we have adopted or agree with or promote any or all views. We all have our own individual views and yet, we think it is important for us to understand what views others hold to learn more about ourselves, about God, and about one another, each of us members of the body of Christ.
Why does Q Christian, at times, feature people who are active politically?
Q Christian is a religious non-profit and does not advocate for specific political parties or candidates. Yet, we live in a time when our very LGBTQ+ identities have been politicized and legislated in dangerous and divisive ways. We believe that seeking justice and loving mercy calls for us to lend our voice for justice in active ways. When LGBTQ+ Christians live this out in ways that we can learn from, we believe it is important to feature these voices. We also believe that representation of people of color and other marginalized groups, while it is not everything, matters.
How can I ask questions or express concerns about the organization or its work?
Any concerns regarding the annual conference, website, content and online resources, newsletter emails, social media posts, blogs, event site selection or other operational aspects of the organization should be directed to Staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (for questions or administrative issues) or email@example.com (for suggestions or concerns). Concern about the adopted mission, vision, values or budget of the organization should be directed to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about our whistle blower policy is available on our website at qchristian.org/accountability.