Meet Gay Christian Upstander Erin Green

Upstander and gay Christian activist shares how religious-based bullying impacted her life and why she stands up to end all bullying and cyberbullying.

Erin Green holding sign at Biola Demo

Erin Green is a gay Christian activist, member of the PCUSA church, and Biblical Studies major at Azusa Pacific University. She is also the Executive Director of Biolans’ Equal Ground, an affirming LGBTQ group of students, alumni, and allies at Biola University. In addition, she proudly works as Coordinator of Faith Programs for The Tyler Clementi Foundation.

How do you define faith-based bullying?
Faith-based bullying—just like all bullying and cyberbullying—is utilizing a real or unreal power dynamic used to oppress, humiliate, and dehumanize or deprive another human being of the same rights or quality of life and liberty that all humans are entitled to.

Have you ever been bullied or felt like you were in a hostile space directed at you? If so, could you share what happened?
I have. I was bullied in school from a young age and even through highschool for a variety of reasons ranging from what I wore, what kind of music I liked, to not dating boys or men. As I got older I have been harassed for my theological views by other “Christians” online to the point to where I’ve had to block people. During lectures at Biola University, professors would constantly talk negatively about the LGBT community. For example (and this is one of many) a professor at Biola on my first day of class proclaimed that, “homosexuality was destroying the church.” He proceeded to go on a tirade about this for the duration. Although these microaggressions or overt aggressions weren’t thought to be directed at me, they were since I identify as a Christian who is gay.

Do you think bullies can change?
Absolutely. It’s as simple as practicing the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and asking yourself how you would want to be treated. The challenge is for bullies to be able to perceive and understand that they need to change.

Erin Green Biola QuoteDo you think the community can help if someone is being bullied?
Of course. This is where the perceived power dynamic I mentioned above comes into play. Bullies can maintain control as long as people allow them to. When the community comes together and stands together against this behavior, it exposes the bullying being practiced as well as need for it to be changed. Community is vital in playing a role to end bullying. We should never be silent when we know something is not right.

Why is the issue of bullying important to you?
For me, it’s a matter of love and justice. Loving others and treating them justly is a fundamental component to my personal Christian beliefs. If people are being harmed by others, whether it’s physical or verbal; the victim, who is injured will suffer as a result. How human beings can allow and tolerate suffering of the other is egregious. I work in the religious sector specifically, and am especially surprised at this behavior on the part of people who claim to be Christians and their clear unwillingness to love the other as themselves.

How do we change the culture?
Perseverance and relentless pursuit of justice. We change the culture by unifying in large communities and organizing in community. Creating safe spaces for people to be loved and standing up for the person who is unable to stand up for themselves. We relentlessly pursue this and never stop. We can look to key figures in the past who were the movers and shakers of justice. We analyze these amazing turning points of history to make more turning points today and changes today that will resonate forever.

The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.