Presenting today’s reflective piece by our guest contributor, Flora X. Tang. Flora is a doctoral candidate specializing in theology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame. Originally hailing from Beijing, China, she currently resides in South Bend, Indiana.

Perhaps a more fitting description would be that I chose this grand Palm Sunday procession, with its liturgical richness, as the ideal occasion to annually mark as my “coming out anniversary.” As my voice echoed the Hosana Filio David hymn and my hand waved a palm branch, I affirmed to myself—and perhaps also to the divine—that I am queer, and that I am deserving of love.

For several years leading up to my coming out, grappling with my sexuality was a gradual and reflective journey of self-discovery and discernment. Unlike the portrayal often seen in movies like Love, Simon, my realization of being queer wasn’t a sudden, unequivocal moment of clarity.

Yet, if recognizing my queerness was complex and prolonged, the concept of “coming out” proved even more intricate. In both Catholic circles and beyond, the act of “coming out” as queer didn’t resemble a single, definitive declaration to the world; rather, it involved a nuanced interplay of hints and subtle signals, revealing my identity to those I perceived as accepting while concealing it from those less so. Living authentically as a queer individual entails navigating these perpetual uncertainties and subtleties on a daily basis.

on Palm Sunday, we read the gospel of Jesus’ glorious entrance into Jerusalem and his ultimate death on the cross. When on Palm Sunday I came out to myself and to God, I was certain—and rested comfortably in the certainty—that God loves me for who I am because he died for me.

His “coming out” results in violence.

As an academic dedicated to nonviolence and peace, grappling with this perspective has caused my relationship with Palm Sunday to become fraught with uncertainty. If we are all urged to emulate Jesus in his life and sacrificial death, does this imply that as queer Catholics, we too are destined for a life marked by suffering, rejection, and potentially even death for simply being true to ourselves? Are we expected, as some Catholic teachings on gender and sexuality emphasize, to “embrace our own crosses”? Or should we adhere to the prevailing narrative in mainstream gay culture in the U.S., which advocates for always being open about our queerness regardless of the potential risks or dangers we might encounter as a consequence?

I wish I could unequivocally answer “NO” to all these inquiries and reassure those who doubt that they are unequivocally loved. However, the gospel narratives of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, along with centuries of interpretation, defy such simplistic affirmations.

For instance, I grapple with why, in a world already saturated with violence, the self-revelation and crucifixion of a loving God are central to one of the holiest weeks in our Catholic tradition. Despite my faith, I still wrestle with whether Jesus’ suffering and death should always serve as models for our lives. In a world plagued by the unjust killing and oppression of marginalized communities, I question why violence and death are exalted as sacred in our faith tradition, and why queer Catholics are perpetually called to endure their own crosses of self-denial.

I refuse to accept the notion that self-denial and enduring suffering are the sole paths to embodying Christ-like love.. My prayers are for a world where queer youth are not subjected to premature deaths, and where loss is mourned rather than glorified.

I chose Palm Sunday as the day to come out as queer because of the Passion narrative’s profound declaration of God’s unwavering love, even unto death. The certainty of a Jesus who sacrificed Himself for me provided solace during a period of uncertainty and confusion about my queer identity and future. However, I now question whether the image of a God incarnate who suffered on the cross can continue to offer hope and comfort to me and other queer individuals in a church and world rife with violence and hostility towards queerness.

Yet, my annual observance of this Palm Sunday-turned-coming-out celebration, along with the joyous experiences of queerness that have ensued since that day six years ago, gives me the strength to persevere and remain hopeful.


Hi, I produce excellent SEO blog posts and articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *