Have you ever seen the Application for Permission to Date My Daughter? It’s a girl’s worst nightmare that includes questions such as:
- Do you have an earring, nose ring, or belly button ring?
- When would be the best time to interview your father, mother, and priest?
- What does “DO NOT TOUCH MY DAUGHTER!” mean to you?
My mom has a printed copy of the application. She loves to joke about using it someday. My dad’s plan for my future dates is a bit more direct. He says he’ll be taking them on a tour though his gun collection before letting us leave the house.
My parents are awesome! They try to guide me when it comes to dating standards. They truly want to be involved in my life. We’ve had the obligatory abstinence talks, and my mother is always asking, “So, honey, what boys have caught your eye recently?”
Sounds perfect, right? The problem is, I’m a lesbian.
As a Christian teen, there is a ton of information out there for me regarding meeting somebody, dating, falling in love, and planning for a future together. As a Christian lesbian teen, however, I’m limited. Sure, I can learn some things from my Bible group’s dating series. I can learn the importance of accountability in my relationships. I can learn the qualities of true love as described in I Corinthians 13. But the risk of pregnancy isn’t a major issue for me. Neither is the question of whether the boy should pay for the date. And I am certainly not able to understand the necessity of introducing your date to your parents before going out. When my mother printed off the Application to Date My Daughter, she did not have a girl in mind.
Even if all of the standard Christian dating advice did apply to me, I would still have unanswered questions. How can I know if a girl is right for me when all of my Christian friends say she isn’t simply because she is a she? How can my girlfriend and I spend meaningful time worshiping together if we are both in the closet? What does abstinence mean for lesbians?
Our society wants to support teenagers in their quest to find a mate. Our families and churches do their best to provide Christian standards for dating. However, they often ignore the reality of gay and lesbian teens. Where can we turn for guidance?
Jesus had an answer:
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
Before Jesus left this world, he promised that a Counselor would come to guide us and remind us of God’s Way. As Christians, we have received this Counselor, the Holy Spirit. We are not lost without a church to tell us what God would have us do. We don’t have to rely upon our parents’ understanding (or misunderstanding) of our sexuality. The Church and our parents are wonderful resources, and God often uses them to advise us, but ultimately we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Maybe someday Youth Group materials will recognize the issues faced by GBLT teens. Perhaps my parents will come to understand me and my sexuality. Until then, I’ll remember Psalm 48:14:
For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.