The Path of Queer Virtue: Identity

“Proclaiming our inherent value requires that we recognize, name, and celebrate our identity as queer people. That is, shifting the focus from the external disapprobation of our otherness-and the political subjugation it breeds-to an interior knowledge of ourselves. It is in this shift that Pride emerges that empowerment is made possible.”
Identity is more than politics. Identity is a life story played out in the midst of oppression, sorrow, and sadness. Identity is the courage to be yourself. Coming out as your true self or true identity is liberating. It is releasing a songbird from a cage of isolation and despair and allowing the songbird to go forth and sing its song to all and to the Creator. Those who hear the song are shifted out of their original way of thinking. Queer theology relies on the stories and question of Christian queer people. It thrives when it can transgress boundaries with scandalous or indecent theological songs. Queer people’s proclamation of their authentic self is not just identity politics. Queer people’s identity fuels queer theology. Remember one definition of queer theology is theology done by queer theologians for a queer audience and allies. The courage to live fully as a queer person possesses the power to shift the perception of others, especially through the theological school of thought called queer theology.

Frank Bidart, 1939
Lie to yourself about this and you will
forever lie about everything.

Everybody already knows everything

so you can
lie to them. That’s what they want.

But lie to yourself, what you will

lose is yourself. Then you
turn into them.


For each gay kid whose adolescence

was America in the forties or fifties
the primary, the crucial


forever is coming out—
or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.


Involuted velleities of self-erasure.


Quickly after my parents
died, I came out. Foundational narrative

designed to confer existence.

If I had managed to come out to my
mother, she would have blamed not

me, but herself.

The door through which you were shoved out
into the light

was self-loathing and terror.


Thank you, terror!

You learned early that adults’ genteel
fantasies about human life

were not, for you, life. You think sex

is a knife
driven into you to teach you that.

Edman, Elizabeth M. (2016). Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and How it Can Revitalize Christianity. Boston, MA: Beacon Press