Baylor University hosts LGBTQ+ speaker for open conversation

KXXV | Erin Heft | Septemer 17, 2019

WACO, TX — Nearly a month after Baylor University clarified their stance on human sexuality, the university hosted a prominent LGBTQ+ speaker to hold "a conversation."

The renowned private Baptist university’s President Linda Livingstone clarified what the university distinguishes as human sexuality under their Student Policies and Procedures.

Nearly three weeks later, author, speaker, social activist and self-identified homosexual Christian Justin Lee was invited by the university, and hosted by the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, to hold a conversation entitled ‘Christianity and LGBTQ+ Persons.’

Hundreds of all ages were in attendance, filling every available seat in the room, consisting of, both students and the public.

25 News sat down with Lee prior to the event to get his take on what he hoped accomplish during his time in Waco.

“I would like people to leave here feeling like they have some practical tips for having this conversation better. They can make sure that LGBTQ students at Baylor feel really loved and supported, not just in word but in deed,” explained Lee.

Explaining the dichotomy he felt from his youth, Lee said, “From a young age I knew there were certain views that christians had...certain issues that Christian’s had strong views and homosexuality was one of those things.”

When asked what led him to Baylor, he paused and said, “I get asked to speak at a lot of Christian universities really all across the spectrum on LGBTQ issues, and try to help the church to be kinder and more supportive of people even in the midst of theological disagreements.”

Lee began the two hour event lightheartedly, making a joke in reference to musicals, exclaiming jokingly that a single mention of Broadway was in his contract.

He then quickly dove into his personal journey, both the struggles and triumphs that have led him to where he is, noting time and time again his time spent in front of those in attendance was not to change their theological journey, but in short, to open pathways for conversation.

"We're talking about actual people, because God loves people more than God loves issues, I'm convinced. And I think that even with all of the theological disagreements that we many have on all kinds of issues, if we're called to do anything as Christians, its to love one another" said Lee.

Lee concluded his speech with, "I want to end with this to LGBTQ people. You have something important to add to the body of Christ. The eye cannot say to the hand "I don't need you." You are needed. Your experiences give you empathy. You have learned humility. You understand why some of our biggest critics, why some of the church's biggest critics, are our biggest critics because you have experienced that pain directly. Your faith has gotten stronger in many cases from fighting for it, and if it hasn't gotten stronger then you know why so many people struggle with their faith."

He continued, "You have credibility as a LGBTQ person that the church at large does not have in our culture today. So use your gifts and don't let anybody convince you that you are not needed in the church. Represent the church to the world, demonstrate grace and above all don't wait for somebody to welcome you into the body of Christ. You don't have to be welcomed into the body of Christ. You already are the body of Christ. If the church is going to regain its saltiness in our culture, it's going to depend in large part on you. God loves you. God wants to use you. So go be the church."