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Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

Some birthday musings I shared yesterday with an online interfaith community.


Tomorrow is my birthday. I mention the fact not because I seek attention — or sympathy (well, not exactly!) — but for another reason: tomorrow I’ll be 57, and that has led me to reflect, for the fifty-seventieth time, on the various flavors that infuse my personal creed. Heinz-sight is 20/20, right?

What follows is a very small portion of those reflections. (more…)

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Christmas Wreath

This is an amplified and expanded version of something I wrote a couple of years ago.

On Christmas Eve of 1984, my first in San Francisco, I found myself at the home of a close friend’s new boyfriend (I’ll call him “Daniel”), enjoying a little “pre-party,” prelude to a celebratory night of clubbing. While we sipped his elegantly crafted cocktails Daniel began to spin a web of enchantment, sharing with us some of his favorite memories of the season. Bittersweet to heartwarming to hilarious, Daniel’s stories of Christmases past tumbled out one on top of another, creating an almost palpable atmosphere which was nearly visible and wholly hypnotic. I was transfixed. What a magical Christmas Eve this is turning out to be, I remember thinking.

I had no idea.

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Circling the Wagons

Last weekend in Salt Lake City there occurred a three-day event: Circling the Wagons – a conference for LGBTQ Mormons and their friends, families and allies. The title, “Circling the Wagons,” comes from my friend Carol Lynn Pearson’s book No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones.

Written from Mormon territory to a general audience, No More Goodbyes is a call to lovingly include in our families and our congregations our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. It dramatically shows the unfortunate goodbyes we continue to say because of homosexuality: to suicide, to ill-fated marriages and to family alienation. It also tells numerous inspiring stories of families and friends refusing to let anything come between them and their gay loved ones.

Carol Lynn (whom I’ve written about before) was the conference’s keynote speaker, but my purpose here is to share another address: that of Kevin Kloosterman, a Mormon bishop from Illinois who felt impelled to participate in the conference and traveled to Salt Lake at his own expense to do so. In an interview he gave to Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches, Bishop Kloosterman had this to say:

Trying to convey the pain I’ve felt realizing what gay and lesbian people have gone through, I quoted a scripture in Zechariah [Zechariah 13:6] where someone—who Mormons interpret as Christ—comes and shows wounds, and he says, “I was wounded in the house of my friends.” I used that imagery to characterize the scars of gay and lesbian people. I know it’s strong imagery. I just feel really mournful about what they have been through. All of these realizations are very new to me, and it’s still quite raw. I was trying to convey that I’ve felt a small sliver of what gay and lesbian people have gone through, and I’ve found strength and peace in the Savior.

A transcript of Bishop Kloosterman’s remarks can be found here, but I recommend watching the video (below) if possible.

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[From 2009.]

Pioneer Day was originally, in Mormon culture, a commemoration of the first pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, and was celebrated from the very beginning, starting in 1848. Over the years, the day gradually became an annual festival honoring all pioneers and early inhabitants in Utah, where it is an official state holiday. It’s also celebrated by LDS folks across a wide swath of the western United States, Canada, and northern Mexico, and in other parts of the world.

In the spirit of wider inclusiveness that has come to mark this holiday, I wish today to honor the memory of two other pioneers — separated by a century and a continent — who selflessly championed the right of others to live as they saw fit.

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Yesterday Governor Brown of California signed a bill requiring that “the contributions of gays and lesbians in the state and the country be included in social science instruction and in textbooks.” This is an important step forward which dovetails with — and gives solid, evidentiary support to — Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign.

It Gets Better and the new California law are, in my opinion, inextricably linked together; one of a piece. And neither of them was remotely imaginable in the very different world into which I was born and grew up.

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