Queer Reclamation of Genesis

Scrabble tiles spelling the words "in the beginning" in a parallelogram shape.
Photo by Brett Jordan, on Unsplash.

The book of Genesis has long been a source of arguments against the acceptance of LGTBQ2S+ people and their marriages, leading some queer Christians to avoid it entirely. Yet some of us have found that returning to Genesis and reading it in the context of the whole scriptural narrative can actually foster queer self-acceptance and reveal fresh insights for the whole church. It can be healing to invite the Holy Spirit to "queer" these stories with us, to shake them up and examine the nuances and spaces within them. Intrigued? You might be interested in checking out the YouTube video posted below, recorded during a one-hour workshop hosted by myself (Beth) and my friend Shylo at our last Fall Virtual Generous Space Retreat.

Here are some of the topics we cover: - Context for Genesis - the 2500 year distance between us and its author, the creation myth genre (in conversation with other Ancient Near Eastern stories), its proper place in describing beginnings rather than setting limits on the future. - Breaking down Binaries - how the dual nature of most categories in Genesis 1-2 leaves us wondering about blends, in-betweens, or exceptions to those categories.

- Genderqueer Adam - the Hebrew term "Adam" meaning earthling, and at what point this "earthling" becomes male ("ish") and female ("ishah")

A book entitled "Genesis" on a dark surface among scattered foliage and pink roses
Photo by Alabaster Co for Unspash

- Our Omnigender God who made all of humanity in Their image.

- The slippery idea of gender complementarity as a justification for limiting marriage to one man and one woman, defined in many different ways. - Eve being created as a "suitable helper," and whether that reinforces a hierarchical gender-complementarity, or an expression of kinship.

- "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh," and how the emphasis on likeness supports a kinship model over an essential maleness or femaleness.

- The idea of cleaving and becoming one flesh, and the thorny issue of complementarity as defined by genital fittedness and "two becoming one."

- The command (or blessing?) to "Be fruitful and multiply" and how it bears on procreational complementarity.

- The underdog theme that runs throughout the rest of the book of Genesis, and how the surprising favouring of the younger, weaker brother speaks to a God who defends the marginalized.

- Case studies on two such younger brothers: Jacob, the smooth one, and his son Joseph, and his princess dress, and how they suggest subversion of gender norms of their times.

- The idea of being created in God's image as co-creators with Her, and how we join Her in co-creating our gender and sexuality.

For discussion on all of this and more, check out the video below: