Transformation: Let Love Make Allies of Us All
Ponderings of the Spiritual Life Director
It is a joy to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. It is a joy to create a safe and sacred space where all souls are welcome. It is a joy to raise and educate my child in this embracing community. And it is a joy to form the most wonderful and fulfilling friendships while doing so.
When I co-create a worship service with others our relationships deepen, as so wonderfully happened last year while I was working with Brandon, Tim and Ken, and my partner, Adam, on the June Pride service. As we communicate about the things that are worshipful, I enjoy the conversations that bring the things I take for granted into the light and allow me to understand the path that others must walk.
For example, if you are a straight, cis gendered person like myself, you may know how wonderful it is, at the end of a tough day, for your significant other to say “hey baby, let’s go out to dinner”. And while out to dinner at the end of this rough day, you may enjoy the comfort of your partner’s arm around you, their hand in yours, or a gentle kiss on the forehead. It says- I’m here for you and things are going to get better. And people around you don’t bat an eye or give you a second thought because that’s socially acceptable straight couple behavior. And why shouldn’t it be? Humans need other humans for love and affection; relationships and connection. It is at the core of our survival. We were born to love. But what if you’re a gay or lesbian couple? What if you’re transgender? And you’re out with your partner and you’ve had a tough day and you want nothing more than to lean up against them for a hug and a feeling of comfort and connection? I know from listening to my gay friends, that just holding hands has to be a conscious choice every time you enter the public sphere together. And at the end of a bad day, when you need to be comforted most, you’re probably going to choose not to because you don’t need your day to get worse. People will give you a second look. It may be a look of disgust. And they may even say something really rude and hateful to you. You’re being deprived of the very basic ways in which humans comfort one another because some humans still choose to judge, discriminate, and behave in hateful ways. Some humans have not yet been transformed by all the ways of love- and that is oppressive not only to the way LGBTQ people receive comfort and feel loved by their partner, but oppressive to the very core of who they are, how they love, and how they express themselves as a unique and beautiful human being.
Unitarian Universalism is a faith that recognizes that the interconnectedness of all things is sacred and that to listen deeply- and with love- to all who exist and experience within this web of life is our holy duty. To be an ally is to be a loving listener. I don’t pretend to know the depths to which my gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary identifying friends have suffered injustices- from society, their families, their close friends, and even from themselves- as they’ve searched their soul for their identity. But I know well enough to know that oppression exists in some form- from subtle to obvious- every day for my friends and for too many other people. Maybe you come to UUCL because you have suffered injustice and discrimination, too. I hope you find some comfort for your heart and soul in this community, because this community pledges to be a Welcoming Congregation. And so it is, as an ally with an open heart, I offer to listen to stories and experiences with a deep yearning for understanding and a great desire to know what it is that is needed from me so that we can lift the veil of oppression together. I hope you will all join me in this endeavor so we can learn how to strengthen our love and transform the community together.