This is a thoroughly revised and updated version of Six Studies on Homosexuality, which appeared in 1985. At that time homosexuality was hardly spoken of in our church. Relatively few gays and lesbians had ventured to come out of the closet. Most found the climate too inhospitable.
Today a number of distinguished members of our society are openly gay or lesbian. For instance in March 2000, a conference in Saskatoon brought together gays and lesbians with members of government and leaders in the field of education. The featured speaker at the event was Mark Tewksbury, a world-renowned swimmer and Olympic gold medal winner who had decided to come out after a lengthy and intense personal struggle.
Almost every city in Canada has an active PFLAG group (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). As the name suggests, it is the object of these groups to give support to people who have suddenly had to face thefact that a close relative or friend has declared himself or herself as a person of homosexual orientation. The stories that are told by parents and friends of gays and lesbians bear testimony to the enormous pain that is associated with the outing process.
Homosexuals and their relatives often reach the edge of despair. Many gays and lesbians, as well as their parents and friends are members of our churches. They are baptized Christians who claim their right to participate in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. This calls for pastoral care, for theological reflection, and for ideological reassessment.