At its most basic, “martyr” simply means “one who bears witness” – especially in the face of persecution. In a narrow, Christian sense, it is applied to those whose witness for the faith resulted in their execution, expecially in the great Roman persecutions in early Church history. The growth of the early Church, it is said, was watered by the blood of its martyrs.
But there are many forms of martyrdom. From an LGBT perspective, we could apply the term to those who suffered persecution not for the Church, but by the Church or at its instigation, for their steadfast witness to the truth of their sexual or gender identity.. Examples here would include St Joan of Arc, and the many thousands murdered as “sodomites” by the Inquisition, in the Nazi pink holocaust, or in hate crimes masquerading as religious acts. We could also include those who died by their own hands, driven to suicide as a result of bullying, family rejection, or internal conflicts resulting from religious guilt.
There are also varying forms of “death”, which this persecution can result in, not only physical death of the body.
Father Robert Nugent, New Ways Ministry’s Co-Founder, Passes Into Eternal Life
With confidence in the promise of the Resurrection, but also with hearts heavy with sorrow, New Ways Ministry reports the passing into eternal life of our co-founder, Father Robert Nugent, SDS. Fr. Nugent’s three-month battle with brain cancer ended on Wednesday, January 1, 2014, at 2:10 pm, Central Time, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Present at his side at the time of his death were New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, and Brother John Hauenstein, SDS, a member of his religious congregation, the Salvatorians.
via Bondings 2.0.