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Divide Issues, Not the Movement: A Reflection on Being GLBT and Pro-Life


Take a moment and think of one of your favorite pro-lifers. Maybe it's an internationally recognized leader in the movement; maybe it's your friend or relative. Maybe this person saved you from abortion, or saved your child from abortion, or provided an example of strength at a time when you desperately needed one. Think of someone whose influence on your life has been positive and lasting. Think of someone whose very existence makes you thankful or inspired.

Now imagine that this person has something to tell you. Maybe you're being told personally, or maybe you're reading it on the Internet along with thousands of others. Maybe this news will be a shock, or maybe it will be something you've wondered about for a long time. Either way, this person -- this influential pro-lifer who has changed your life for the better -- has something to say.

He's gay.

She's a lesbian.

He's bisexual.

She's transgender.

This revelation could make you overjoyed and eager to offer congratulations on coming out. Or it could make you sad, devastated, upset, or even angry. People have different views and beliefs about sexuality and gender. Whatever you would feel about the news, however, one thing would not change: it would not undo the help, strength, and inspiration that this person gave you.

He still talked you out of getting an abortion, and your child is still a four-year-old drinking juice at the kitchen table.

She still told your birth mother she would adopt you, and you're still alive.

He is still the person who told you that you could find healing and forgiveness after your abortions and the reason why you have gone three years without thinking about how to kill yourself.

She still showed you, when you were a teenager, that it was possible to be a kind, funny, compassionate, and "cool" pro-lifer, even though all your other friends told you pro-lifers were religious weirdoes who hated sex, hated women, and stopped caring about babies once they were born.

Every pro-life person who makes a positive difference in the world makes that difference, no matter who they are. So why are so many parts of the movement so hostile to GLBT pro-lifers?


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I wish I didn't speak from personal experience about this topic, but I do. Although I was aware as a teenager that some of my fellow pro-lifers had moral objections to homosexuality, bisexuality, and sexual reassignment surgery, I knew that this difference between us didn't make them mean people or bad people. After all, I spent kindergarten through twelfth grade at a Catholic school, where we talked in religion class about the importance of human life and the computer lab had a poster about praying the rosary to end abortion. By and large, the pro-lifers who disagreed with me about GLBT issues were very nice people. They didn't stop speaking to me when I came out as bisexual -- in front of the entire class, no less -- and whenever they talked about how they didn't share my opinions, they were always respectful. You got the feeling that if they ever accidentally made someone feel unwanted or like a lesser human being, they would feel just horrible. And they would certainly never make someone feel that way on purpose.

I went to college at a GLBT-friendly school that turned out to be very unfriendly toward pro-lifers, so when I went to law school I chose to attend a Catholic one that had both a pro-life group and a GLBT group. I regret to say that I didn't spend very much time with either. Law school was hard, and I was afraid that if I spent much time around the other law students, they would find out just how hard it was for me and I would look like an idiot. I was bullied as a kid and I've had depression for over half my life, so I'm very sensitive to the risks of being vulnerable. I did want to get more involved in the pro-life movement, though, so I turned to the Internet. I wasn't out to be a visible bisexual pro-lifer, or convince anyone that there's nothing wrong with being bisexual. I was there to help save babies.

I got familiar with the popular sites and blogs and started reading them on a daily basis. It wasn't long, however, before I discovered that some of them had material that, as a lawyer might put it, was "beyond the scope." The stated purpose of these sites was to post pro-life news or discuss topics related to abortion. So why were people using them to denounce same-sex marriage, or voice objections to gay couples adopting, or say that being transgender was freakish? Weren't those subjects that belonged on a different site? What