Evangelical Christian Mom Becomes an Unlikely Advocate
If you had asked Kathy Baldock 10 years ago if you could be both gay and Christian, the devout evangelical would’ve told you ’no’. But one day while hiking near her Reno home, she befriended a fellow hiker who happened to be a lesbian. As the two became good friends, Baldock had a change of heart; she began questioning everything she’d believed about gays and lesbians.
"It slapped me in the face," said Baldock, remembering the first time she went to a worship service with gay Christians in 2007. "I ended up on the floor crying and being so sorry for all the prejudices I had. I realized that something was very wrong with my theology."
Baldock is now a well-known leader of the straight Christian ally movement, working to change views within the faith. She became so compelled to fight church homophobia that she quit her sales job and formed the non-profit Canyonwalker Connections.
"I look just like the middle of the Christian church: I’m 55, I’m a normal looking white woman, I know my Bible, I don’t dress weird or have tattoos, I don’t walk around in tie-dye T-shirts with rainbow flags-I’m the least likely person on the planet who should be doing this," said Baldock.
Exactly what makes her an unlikely ally is what makes her an effective liaison.
A few weeks ago, for example, Baldock used her Christian mom charm to sneak into the headquarters of the anti-gay public policy group Concerned Women for America. While inside, she chatted with an assistant to one of the heads and eventually steered the conversation to LGBT rights.
"It was about a 40-minute conversation and when it was over, because I told her really compelling stories about children and how policies affect them, this girl was wiping tears and when she stood up, she hugged me," she recalled.
Every day; Baldock’s inbox is flooded with messages from closeted gay youth growing up in religious homes, Christian parents of gay children, conflicted pastors, and straight Christians grappling, as she did, with the idea that homosexuality is a sin.
She also gets a lot of hate mail.
"The nastiest words I get are from evangelical Christians," said Baldock.
On the same day a vlogger uploaded his 16th attack video condemning her, she came home to a letter from a gay teen in Colombia struggling to be accepted by his family.
"It puts it all in context for me," said Baldock. "On one hand I have a Christian trying to bully me into stopping, and then I’ve got a 19-year-old saying essentially, you’re my lifeline. A gay Christian telling him that it’s OK to be Christian and gay is nowhere near as effective as me saying it because I have no agenda."
Baldock posts educational blogs and videos on her website for an audience of some 30,000 to 40,000 visitors a month. These cover everything from LGBT affirming theology, to scientific research on sexual orientation, to myth debunking.