Family of Origin, Family of Choice: Stories of Queer Christians

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First-person testimonies from LGBTQ+ Christians about coming out and navigating their family dynamics

What happens in a family when one member comes out? How does LGBTQ+ identity affect relationships with parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins? What does Christian love require and make possible for families moving forward together?

A social scientist and a pastor, both from Galileo Church on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas, asked their LGBTQ+ friends from church to help them understand how they navigate relationships with their affirming, non-affirming, and affirming-ish families of origin, even as they also find belonging in other families of choice. The resulting stories, crafted from interviews with fifteen queer Christians and family members, kept anonymous at their request, are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Over the years, some grew closer to their families of origin; others grew more distant. Some were surprised by the hardness of heart they encountered; others were amazed by the breadth of their family’s love. Most all describe a trajectory, a journey, from the coming-out moment till now and beyond, as their families of origin, like all families, remain a work in progress.

Authors: Katie Hays and Susan A. Chiasson

Paperback Published 1 May 2021 162 pages

“These narratives speak boldly and carefully about the courage queer folks and their families embody as they discern their way through disclosures and invitations to enter closets and as they invite others to get to know them anew. These relationships are ever-changing and significant as families of origin and choice recognize their beloveds, wrestle with the meaning of their lives together, and become open to transformation. The writers beautifully speak to the pains and the celebrations of queer people whose resilient spirits have much to offer to communities and the world.”— Joretta L. Marshall, professor of pastoral theology and care at Brite Divinity School

“Hays and Chiasson have assembled a fascinating and forceful collection of stories from LGBTQ+ Christians about their experiences with kinship and condemnation, love and loss, reconciliation and resilience, and coming out—and coming to terms with one’s queer self. An engaging, well-theorized and well-researched text that calls cis-het Christians to lean in, listen, and believe; a text that will make a marked contribution toward repairing the harms that Christian families, faiths, and fellowships have inflicted (and still inflict) on LGBTQ+ persons.”— Tony E. Adams, chair and professor of communication at Bradley University and author of Narrating the Closet

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