ELM Blog: What does a Queer Lutheran Family look like? by Anonymous

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As we wrap up our series on Queer Lutheran Families, we’re sharing an anonymous blog about a polyamorous family. We’ve decided to share this anonymously because ELCA policy would endanger the call of a person in a polyamorous, or ethically nonmonogamous relationship. And yet these relationships can be beautiful examples of the love and care of a Triune God who is relationship. So, we invite you to read the following with an open heart for where the Spirit might be leading the Church.

During the pandemic, I moved halfway across the country to be with the person I love, but if you asked me, it was because I had family in the state and community in the city that I moved to. Why couldn’t I be open and honest? Because the ELCA still has a policy that clergy cannot “cohabitate”. So terrified of sexual joy and liberation, and the prerequisite conversations, the ELCA has just decided sex in marriage=always good, sex outside marriage=always bad, and spending the hours between 12am and 7am together in a house, apartment, or room are the only times to have sex and sex will definitely happen then. I’m not actually sure I know anyone for whom the above guidelines for sex are 100% accurate.  

Why haven’t I been public about my current relationship? Well, aside from the fact that we are living together (strike one), my partner has another partner who also lives with us.

As someone who practices relationship anarchy, I deeply value the many different relationships I have, from my biological family to my chosen family; from sexual and romantic relationships to platonic ones; from best friends to my relationship with their kids. All of these relationships matter to me and one is not placed above the other (as our culture requires for cisheteronormative monogamy). When I do get married, I won’t be marrying my best friend because I already have one (a few actually). 

But even then, the ELCA requires legal marriage for relationships to count and may be codifying it, depending on how the Sexuality Statement revisions play out. So what do we do? Already people don’t understand when I talk about living with other adults in shared housing. They don’t seem to understand the financial need for shared housing due to out-of-control rental and housing costs. They also don’t seem to understand the particularly queer nature of chosen family. Right now our household includes me, my partner, their other partner, my partner’s sister, and her girlfriend. We share a house because it’s a financial necessity and because we are chosen family together.  Because “we rise together.”

We are family. We give each other rides to work, plan our groceries together, argue about dishes, and wish everyone would leave our bathroom shelf alone. We cover each other when one is short on rent and together plan on how to support our elderly parents in the twilight of their lives. Our porch is where we have family meetings, we plan for the future, and we dream about getting a dog. 

Things will change and we will eventually be able to be public about our love and commitments to each other. For now, we rest in our shared relationships and the ways we are able to be out in our neighborhood and among our close friends and family.

Image Description: The image shows the feet of five people standing in a circle on the wood floor with their feet pointing toward each other.

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