About every other Tuesday night, the local LGBT and allies Christian group for students on campus meets. Yesterday, however, we decided to take our group off campus and into the home of a wonderful PFLAG woman named Peggy. We brought 12 students from campus and met with approximately 10 adults from Peggy's presbyterian church. One adult, Don, was the guy who organized bringing Andrew Marin to town, which was surprising, since he is more evangelical and less supportive than those who were from PFLAG (speaking of Andrew Marin, I need to write a post about his visit to town).
The food was excellent (I need to get some recipes!), the conversation meaningful. We had an hour-long discussion after dinner about our experiences of either being LGBT and coming out to friends and/or family, or of being a parent/wife/family member of someone who is LGBT. Two stories particularly resonated. One was of a woman whose husband of 18 years one day said he had to move out to figure things out; only a few months later did he tell her that it was because he was gay and just couldn't continue in their marriage as such. And yet she was such a supportive woman, even after all the hurt and pain caused by her husband having been gay. The second story was that of a student who I had only met twice before. He is involved in Intervarsity, a Christian group on campus, but was told he could no longer be a leader after he started dating his current boyfriend. That and other parts of his story reminded me of the difficult times my husband and I encountered when we first started dating within an evangelical church.
The evening was, by all means, hugely successful. Whereas our regular meetings are about 1 hour long, this one went for ~2 to 2.5 hours before breaking up, and then people voluntarily stayed around for another 30 to 45 minutes! Now that we've seen how it can work well, we will be eager to repeat it again in the future. Heck, another PFLAG couple has already volunteered to be the next hosts; now that's a vote of confidence in what we're accomplishing!