“In our often-divided times, it feels especially urgent for people of faith like me to share our stories and help our neighbors understand why we support LGBTQ freedom,” says Rev. Melissa McQueen-Simmons. “And for me, it’s a matter of basic fairness and the Golden Rule: Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. At the end of the day, we are all God’s children.”
That’s a lesson that McQueen-Simmons learned from her father. She was raised in the Church of God in Christ denomination, where her father served as a pastor. A few years ago, his peers gave him grief for celebrating Melissa’s marriage to her wife and for walking Melissa down the aisle at her wedding. He responded by sharing that he loves his daughter and will support her. “We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but at least we agree that all people are worthy of respect, especially when we are living as our authentic selves,” Melissa said.
Melissa identifies as a “proud, same-gender loving woman.” She is also a mother, a spouse, and a veteran. “The God that I know – the God that loves me, my wife, and our young child – loves me for who I am,” she said. “The God that I know loves everyone.”