One of the highlights of Shine! conference in 2009 was the movement reaching full consensus on a replacement for SCM’s Resolution on Sexuality and Homophobia (1990).
After much deliberation – as well as workshops and trainings in consensus decision-making, anti-oppression, transphobia and sexual harassment – we reached a decision to much jubilation.
WHEREAS we in the Student Christian Movement of Canada (SCM Canada) believe:
that all people are created in the image of God, and that our understanding of the nature of God is ever-changing, but the love of God is constant;
that, because we are created in the image of God, we find our genders, sexualities, and sexual and gender expressions, to be fluid, constructed, a journey, and unique to individual experience;
that gender is fluid and not binary, that people should be free to explore and express their gender identity, and that gender can be understood as a social construct;
that for some, gender identity is not fixed, and also that gender expression may vary from situation to situation;
that for some sexuality is also not fixed, and that people should be free to explore and express their sexual identities;
that it is integral to understand, explore, and express one’s own sexuality and gender for well-being, safety, and wholeness;
that no gender identity, sexuality, or form of gender or sexual expression is inherently superior to any other form of gender identity, sexuality, or gender or sexual expression;
that safe, consensual, and anti-oppressive expressions of gender and sexuality safeguard the dignity and worth of all people;
that exploitative, non-consensual, or oppressive relations or expressions are not holy, and do not affirm the dignity or worth of people; rather, they are expressions of exploitative power;
that sexism, homophobia, transphobia, queerphobia, heterosexism, cisgenderism, binary genderism, genderist assumptions, and other forms of sexual and gender oppression are assaults on the physical and emotional well-being of people, particularly marginalized peoples, and when one is alienated and broken, all are alienated and broken;
that these forms of oppression pervade our personal, interpersonal, economic, social, cultural, political, and religious systems;
that our understandings of sexuality, gender, and multiple forms of oppression come through a lens of many social factors, including but not limited to race, ability, and class privilege;
and that our self-identification, expression, and spiritual lives merge into holiness when we seek right relations;
THUS AS A MOVEMENT WE COMMIT
to struggle to overcome and resist homophobia, sexism, cisgenderism, transphobia, binary genderism, genderist assumptions, queerphobia, heterosexism, and other forms of sexual and gender oppression in all aspects of society;
to challenge each other within SCM Canada to be in right relations and solidarity with all marginalized people, with each other, with ourselves, and with the Divine – seeking always to live in an anti-oppressive, mutually supportive, celebratory, healing and open-minded fashion;
to express with creativity and passion our conviction that people of all genders, sexualities, identities and expressions are fully equal;
to affirm the holiness found in the diversity of ways we express our sexualities and genders, and to proclaim that through incarnation, the Divine creates, recreates, and sanctifies all flesh as holy, and that within each of our selves, our bodies, our souls – our whole person – resides this holiness.
We offer this as a living prayer.
Passed by Consensus, May 4, 2009 by the General Council of the Student Christian Movement of Canada at the “Shine: Radiating A Dream of Liberation and Inclusion” Conference.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
binary genderism: the beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices which presuppose and limit gender expression to only male or female, and which oppress those who do not conform to the gender assigned at birth.
cisgenderism: the beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices which preference those individuals (termed a person who is cisgender) whose biological sex and assigned gender identity are perceived by society or by themselves as not being in conflict, based on a socially constructed gender binary.
heterosexism: the beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices which preference and presuppose enforced heterosexual norms, assumptions of ubiquitous heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships, and which oppress non-heterosexual individuals.
homophobia: a fear of, aversion to, dislike of, or discrimination against homosexuality, homosexuals, or individuals perceived as homosexual.
incarnation: literally, “made flesh.” Refers to the physical embodiment of a non-material reality; usually, as in this statement, this term refers to God entering into the physical world in some fashion. In traditional Christian thought, Jesus is understood to be the incarnation of the Divine, that is, “the Word made flesh.” Other unorthodox/heterodox or liberal Christian theologies may include the earth as the “body of God” (for example, in the work of ecofeminist theologian Sally McFague), or see God as incarnate in some fashion in every human being (for example, in some Quaker thought).
transphobia: a fear of, aversion to, dislike of, or discrimination against trans* folk, or those perceived as not conforming to the gender binary.
sexism: the beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices held which oppress those who are not male, masculine, or man, and those gendered expressions which have been societally assigned as being feminine.
queerphobia: a fear of, aversion to, dislike of, or discrimination against those individuals having or perceived as having queer identities. Queer identities can be understood as those identities, sometimes sexual and sometimes gendered, which do not conform to gender and sexual constructs of the dominant, patriarchal culture. Queer is sometimes used as an umbrella term for LGBTTIAQ* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-, two-spirit, intersex, asexual, questioning, other*) individuals, but this is not unproblematic, as queer was originally and still is seen as a derogatory term by some, and it attempts to categorize and generalize people together who may come from very different places in their lives.