I married a man, even after having been in a lesbian relationship for six years. She had been raised Catholic, and I was raised in the SDA church, so we had convinced ourselves that we were simply two women who happened to fall in love with each other. After she married a man, I figured that was what I was also expected to do. After all, the church taught that God would put "the heterosexuality of Jesus on you" if you obeyed and married the opposite gender.
Loneliness set in after I left a job I loved and all my friends and family, to move across the country because of my husband's job. Once we bought a VCR, I rented a movie called "Personal Best" and admitted to myself that I've always been a lesbian. During my coming out process, I saw an ad in the back of MS. Magazine for "Adventist Lesbians" and thought at first that it was a trick by the General Conference to catch sinners like me. But I needed to know if there really were more people who had grown up Adventist and then realized they were lesbians, so I rented a post office box and made up a pseudonym.
SDA Kinship turned out to be an actual support group of and for SDA & former SDA gays, & lesbians, as well as their friends and family. With all the support I received, I found the courage to get a divorce, after which the SDA church threatened to bring up the issue in a full membership meeting after church, unless I would willingly request my name be dropped. That felt like having my identity yanked right out from under me, leaving me gasping for breath.
The longer I've been on the outside looking in, the less likely it is that I will ever choose to re-join the SDA church. But the longer I've been a member of SDA Kinship, the more I feel like I have a family of choice.
I am a proud member, participant, and supporter of Kinship International because I have witnessed the redeeming value of their work. This organization provides opportunities for meaningful interactions among its members. For those of us wanting to make a difference in the community, Kinship International offers opportunities for outreach projects and to practice solidarity among its members. I believe my life has been enriched by my affiliation with Kinship International and its members from around the world. As its name indicates, this is an international organization. Its members are diverse in many ways; age, gender, ethnicities, occupation, nationalities, interests, education, sexual orientation, etc. This diversity ensues dynamism and greater levels of engagement from its members. Furthermore, Kinship International merits include the fact that it is operated by volunteer board members committed to serving the community. I personally know five of its current board members, including two college students who are already engaged giving back to the community and taking positions of great responsibility.
This organization is a beacon of light to the community that holds no sympathy, compassion, or understanding of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. The services that this charity offers has given hope to someone like me and to thousands around the world.
I have been a member of SDA Kinship since 1993 when I joined during my coming out process. Kinship provided the support system I needed to live authentically as a gay person and yet remain of person of faith. The local regional group provided social, emotional, and spiritual support, especially in a super-conservative state like Texas where I lived at the time. Throughout the years, I have observed Kinship's support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals, providing advocacy and affirmation in ways that they were not able to find anywhere else.
When I sought out SDA Kinship I was questioning my sexuality. I needed information and social interaction with people who were LGBT and Seventh-day Adventist. Kinship provided this important role. I attended a regional meeting which was low key and fun. We discussed everything under the moon including being ostracized by the greater SDA community and specific outings that turned out to be terrible breaches of trust. I had offered by home for members who were from out of town. One member was scheduled to stay at my house but had a car break-down and couldn’t make it. We kept in touch via email and fell in love before we even met. We have been together for over 9 years and are legally married now.
SDA Kinship provides me an outlet to discuss issues and stay connected with others with my religious background. I am most active on Facebook where the community is diverse and discussions are as well. I like being able to speak about personal, political, theological and a variety of other issues. The community includes pastors, educators, musicians, academics, therapists, scientists, retail workers, managers, retired people, parents, and so much more.
Kinship is a lifesaver to many of us and provides a much needed service to Seventh-day Adventists who believe that committed relationships that fit our sexuality are not only a blessing but consistent with Biblical values.
SDA Kinship is a great organization that helps anyone who as ever been associated with the SDA church that is LGBTI and their allies. They have been a great resource and many have become good friends. I recommend them to anyone who is interested in making like minded friends or need support in their own struggles with their orientation as an LGBTI SDA.
What a life! I am Seventh-day Adventist and in a mixed-orientation marriage - two things that are puzzling to most people until they learn more. How much more complicated is life for my gay SDA husband! Kinship has provided us with much information, resources, and comfort, and we are very grateful for this organization. Of course we recommend it to others!