Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman has responded to the coaxing of a queer “Christian” artist questioning his pro-LGBTQ+ creds, telling her that LGBTQ+ people are always welcome at his concerts and that he supports gay rights and freedoms.
This was all kicked started after musician Semler shouted “Gay rights!” at a Switchfoot concert, something she advocates doing.
Semler is a queer artist and is a newcomer to the Christian music scene, gaining some publicity after her profanity-laced album briefly the top spot on iTunes Christian and Gospel charts. Her real name is Grace Semler Baldridge, she’s a butch lesbian who’s married to a woman while purposefully altering her appearance to look like a man—giving the impression she’s about one upper chest surgery from becoming transgendered.
Explaining that “Christians are disproportionately harmful to LGBTQ people, her goal was to wear her Pride shirt and shout out “Gay rights!” in between songs and then tagging the band on TikTok, hoping that he’ll respond to her in an affirming message and not do some bait and switch like “I love you too.” (By “gay rights” she means the right to marry, the right to be free from discrimination, the right to access any bathroom they or transgendered allies choose, and a host of other ones.) According to Semler, because Christians have been specific in their hurt, they need to be specific in their affirmation.
Lead singer Jon Foeman did not disappoint, responding to her in a way that left her feeling completely affirmed.
Hey Grace. How are you doing? I’m so honored you came to your show last night. I saw your story and wanted to respond and tell you ‘Yes, I support your rights and freedoms.’
I want you to feel loved and supported. I want you to feel treasured and valued and seen. I want all love and joy and beauty and truth for you. Love and embrace have always been central to our story and our song. We need our differences. I’m so glad that you were there last night. In fact, it breaks my heart to think that you would not be accepted.
Let me correct that. You and your journey and your story are welcome at a Switchfoot show.
I said something like this last night and I TRULY meant it: if you look different than me, if you vote different than me, if you believe different than me, if you love different than me: you are beloved. You are my sister. You are my brother. I need you, like you need me, like I need you, like you need me.
Our music has always been for anyone whose open-minded enough to jump into the dialogue. Agnostic. Atheist, Consumerist. Jewish. Muslim. Doubters. Believers. Haters. Lovers. LGBTQ+ and everyone else brave enough to look for meaning and truly jump into that.
No one else is an expert on someone else’s experience. And I can’t pretend to know your pain, I can only know my own, but I know what’s like to feel like you don’t fit in…I don’t know your pain, but I know what it’s like to wrestle with depression and anxiety. I know what it’s like to feel voiceless in a hypocritical culture that feels deeply flawed. I know what that feels like.
And I’m sure you’ve received all sorts of pain and hardship along the way. I’m so sorry. May these wounds heal, may you transcend them, that these wounds would not define you but that you would define them. May you find peace and truth and love on your journey. Keep writing songs, keep creating beauty, keep reaching out, and keep being honest, chasing beauty and truth and light and love. Keep choosing to see the good in people, even folks who might be different than you.
With all love and respect, I hope to see you around sometime.
Semler took his words to heart, explaining that her takeaway is that they are affirming, a comment he later would like and give a little heart to.
I don’t know if you know how meaningful that affirmation was. I am interpreting what you said as being affirming. If I’m incorrect in that, then I really hope you would clarify. Because I think for many queer people of faith, the bait and switch of hearing such encouraging words like yours and then finding out it means something else is heartbreaking.
We have reached out to Switchfoot for comment and will update accordingly.
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