About

“Queer”:

1) strange, odd.

2) originally a pejorative term for a (male) homosexual, now reclaimed by some modern gay men as a political statement to detoxify it.

3) a generic alternative to the acronym “LGBT” (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered)

4)  a more general term to include anyone, gay or straight, who refuses to recognise or be identified by the hard definitions of (usually binary) sexual or gender categories, such as male or female, gay or straight, cis – or transgendered – and including all sexual minorities, such as S/M community.

5) an extension from a rejection of rigid sexual and gender definitions, to one which rejects all attempts to classify people in firm categories.

“Saints”

1) those formally recognized and honoured as such, by a formal canonization process in the Catholic Church.

2) those formally recognized and honoured as such, in other Christian denominations – especially the Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran Churches.

3) those not formally approved in any formal process, but honoured by public acclamation – as was done in the early church, before any formal process for canonization was introduced.

“Martyrs”

1) those who were killed in the persecution of the early Christians, in witness to the faith, and also including those killed in later centuries for their Christian faith. It was the early practice of paying honour to those killed that sparked the wider practice of veneration of the saints.

2) Less well known, are the degrees of martyrdom. In addition to those killed for their faith, known as “red” martyrs, there are blue green and white martyrs, denoting varying degrees of self- sacrifice. There is also an alternative distinction, between “wet” and “dry” martyrs. In this terminology, wet martyrs are those who have shed blood or been executed. The dry martyrs are those who have suffered other forms of indignity and cruel punishment, but not physical death

3) From an LGBT perspective, we need to consider also those who suffered martyrdom not for the church, but by it. This includes the red /wet martyrs who were directly executed by the church for their sexual or gender non-conformity under the Inquisition, or by the state at its instigation.

4) More generally, there are all those queer “red” martyrs, who have been murdered in hate crimes targeting their sexuality or gender expression, often by people encouraged by misguided ideas of religious belief about homosexuality.

5)  In a modern counterpart to the “dry” martyrs, I include all those who have suffered direct persecution by religious authorities for their honest witness on behalf of LGBT Christians, by being expelled from ministry, denied admission to ordination or seminary training, or otherwise.

As many of these are still living, I identify them in the category “modern heroes”.

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