Episode 31: Hard Conversations: Faith and Homosexuality with B.T. Harman
Live Date: Monday, November 2, 2020
Show Description: Today’s conversation is important. And like many important topics, it can also be a bit uncomfortable. Heather is joined today by B.T. Harman, a creative strategist, consultant, author, podcast host, husband, and cat dad. B.T. lives in Atlanta, was raised in the Southern Baptist church and is a gay man. B.T. and Heather discuss the intersection of faith – particularly in the South – and homosexuality, the mental health struggles of denying your true self and how to raise kids in an enviroment of open communication.
Link to Full Episode:
- B.T walks Heather through the parenting aspects that made a difference in his life as he was growing up, including:
- Verbal communication: B.T.’s mom talked openly and often about ideas. Developmentally, this helped B.T. communicate better and allowed him to see many sides from an early age.
- Strong discipline: Deception and lying was not tolerated in his childhood home, and B.T. credits his strong character to that.
- Success was assumed: Good grades, scholarships, and success were assumptions in his family. The bar was set high – but attainably so – and B.T. rose to the occasion.
- Autonomy to do things himself: B.T. did school projects and hard tasks on his own, and while he was resentful of it at the time, he believes fully in it now.
- Ask for forgiveness: B.T.’s dad was always the first person to say he’s sorry for something he had done wrong.
- Shared hobbies with each child: B.T. is a big believer in having something you do together with your kids – something that’s specific to each child’s interest. B.T. had a hobby with his dad, and that alone time and shared tradition with just the two of them is something he will remember forever.
- “Neither of us is perfect, but we’re doing the best we can to, to engage in some of these tougher things.” – B.T. Harman 10:16
- “At every other moment in my faith journey, the more I leaned into doing what’s right and following Christ, the clearer the world got. The healthier I felt. But, in this one particular area, the opposite was true.” – B.T. Harman 15:04
- “Virtually all of those mental health issues that were sort of tethered to this toxic ideology and this toxic view of myself really were just eviscerated by opening myself up to love.” – B.T. Harman 16:21
- “Human beings are designed for companionship and love. There’s no way you can deny that. You can’t cancel that out. You can’t squash that.” – B.T. Harman 16:34
- “My story’s a little different in that I did not have a lot of religious trauma. And, when you talk to a lot of LGBT people who grew up in the church, particularly in the South, there’s all kinds of trauma. They were bullied. They were told they were going to hell from a young age. They were shamed.” – B.T. Harman 19:14
- “The reality is where we are now, the issue of sexuality has become a litmus test for how authentic your faith is in American evangelicalism.” – B.T. Harman 19:51
- “I want to do differently as a parent, and I want my children to know differently.” – Heather Adams 25:14
- “Those are hard conversations, BT, to have, and I don’t have a manual for that.” – Heather Adams 37:52
- “What I want to make sure is that when he’s 22, in college, that he doesn’t treat somebody differently because of something that was taught to him right now, or that he doesn’t fear sharing something because of something that was said to him right now.” – Heather Adams 43:49
- “Everybody’s got a story. Everybody’s got childhood issues and trauma and that kind of thing. And, there are people out there who have been waiting for that particular story because it addresses their specific needs and issues.” – B.T. Harman 51:04
- “My sexuality does not define me, but it is definitely in the definition of me.” – B.T. Harman 56:55
- “I do believe one of the biggest things holding Americans back from understanding some of these current issues is their lack of understanding history.” – B.T. Harman 1:00:00
Resources and Links from Show:
- Blue Babies Pink Blog
- Blue Babies Pink Podcast
- Catlick Podcast
- Catlick The Vault
- Schitt’s Creek
- Limewashing Brick
- Brick Staining