Each Monday during LGBT history month I am writing about particular themes, moments and people in LGBT+ history and offering some thoughts on scripture and some prayer notes.
This week I am thinking about the Holocaust.
It is difficult to write about the Holocaust appropriately, because it was such an atrocious and tragic event that continues to effect the communities who were targeted and lost so many members.
Something that often strikes me about the Holocaust is that the similarity between the groups effected was, and continues to be, their distinction or difference. Those of us who didn’t fit into a twisted and idealistic vision of perfection were targeted for destruction. Which included LGBT+ people and, more specifically, those who stood out; who refused to mask their true identities by dressing in the costumes of so-called ‘normality’ and ‘decency’.
People have biblically justified genicide using texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) . Perhaps the most notable reference text is the book of Joshua, which recounts the systematic genicide, by the Israelites, of all alternative tribes.
This historical record does not, however, necessarily imply God’s sanction of violence. Far from it. Jesus’s cry from the cross, ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do.’ seems, to me, to be an anachronistic reference to atrocities committed throughout time, spanning from Alpha to Omega.
Can we, like Christ, recognise the pain and terror of the past and work towards the transformation of the present and future? I hope so, but we have to remember our errors, repent, and strive not to repeat them.
I would be reluctant to predict another Holocaust but, in sure and steady steps, the most conservatove political and religious factions are marching closer to systematic destruction of alternative identities and, by extension, those who hold them.
We must resist the intolerant and hateful voices that loudly proclaim that trans people don’t exist, same gender marriage is sinful. We must stand up against those who harm and kill our kin. We must proclaim that we exist, that out identities are transformative and that violence and oppression are always wrong.
Pray for transformation in the lives of those who hate or fear LGBT+ people, for an end to hate crime and for resilience and comfort for all who fight against homo/bi/trans-phobia and erasure.
Journey with me throughout February:
11th: Gender Journey
18th: LGBT+ Saints
25th: LGBT+ in the Bible