Save The Prayers: What The LGBTQIA+ Community Needs From You


 

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By Susie Carmichael

 

“I’ll be praying for you” is so broadly used that folks don’t even really do it, most at least. As a former Christian, I often did generally pray. I asked for God to look over my family, my friends and even for folks who probably will never have an encounter with me. But I often witnessed this as empty sympathy and pseudo humanism from people in my church. The same folks that spread anti queer, transphobic, classist bullshit all of a sudden became the most empathetic person when catastrophes hit these communities.

Overtime, I asked these folks to not pray for me but for themselves. I’m not accepting any prayers from anyone that call themselves a follower of any religion that speaks of loving on the next human but uses the same principles to shame folks who are “the nastiest type of sinners.” Before you pray for anyone, think and reflect about how you can be better person to people before they experience events that are tragic. Think about how you “sending love and healing” is actually belittling them. In a time of need, pity doesn’t do much.

One of my chosen family members Takeallah once said: “I’ll pray for you” means “You’re  going to hell but I have sympathy for you”. Ain’t that some shit? The same folks who condemn my “lifestyle” pray for me when I lose a Trans chosen family members to suicide, when Trans women of Color are massacred or even missing because the foster care system don’t care about LGBTQIA+ youth. Wasn’t we faggots last week? Weren’t you the same person mocking someone with They/Them pronouns? Didn’t you try to say that Trans women are men in a cis sexist rant to defend your blatant hate rhetoric. Wasn’t you just praying my gay away last night at supper?

The next time you want to pray for members of a marginalized, oppressed group, also participate in asking these folks what do they need. How about you tell the ignorant folks in your congregation to stop making fun of that one gay kid who loves God just as much as you? Y’all want folks like me to be dance choreographers and music directors for the church but pick on the child that wears his bow ties and switches his hips when they come into the sanctuary. Have more QT folks active in temple and educate folks on how to love them. Let Bi Muslim women be free enough to speak their truth. Hold workshops in your worship space about how you can truly be the best neighbor to someone that doesn’t look like you. Attend Pride and other events to show you want to build community. Make clothing drives for poor and/or homeless Trans folks. Counter protest anyone religious group that targets us. Stop leaders in your religious/spiritual groups that can possibly feed into the extremists fantasies about hurting marginalized people. That kind of power and platform comes with so much responsibility. It doesn’t take extremists much to commit acts of terrorism. We can’t depend on prayers alone. Use your principles to combat hate.

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To Be Young, Fabulous and The Master


“The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.”

–Katherine Mansfield, author

Ladies and gentlecats,

Today, I was The Master.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Science Fiction series, Dr. Who, The Master is the the Doctor’s arch nemesis and one that has tried to cause the hero harm on way too many occasions.  In fact, this is him right here:

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The Master

And so it would make sense, here’s my version of him:

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Me as The Master

Now.  You’re probably asking yourself why I am playing the part of someone I cannot and will not look like.  There are obvious physical differences between the two of us and I am most certainly far from British.  But there is an awesome reason behind my cosplay moment.

Let me explain.

Today was the annual Pride Parade here in Buffalo, New York and Nickel City Cooperative marched in the parade this year.  The parade’s theme was “Fearlessness”–living fearlessly as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, intersexed, omnisexual, pansexual individual.  To live freely by celebrating your identity.  My fellow housemates and I decided to march as a crossover between Dr. Who and Game of Thrones. The reason why we went with that idea is 1) many of us are fans of either one show or the other and 2) certain characters of Dr. Who have become gay icons (i.e. Captain Jack Harkness is in an same-sex relationship in the Dr. Who spin-off series Torchwood).  The show itself has many story lines featuring same-sex couples and does so without shame.  This type open mindedness reminds of the Star Trek series, in which the concept of sexuality is a common theme.

A couple of the housemates were able to create a man operated float out of our old futon while others constructed a TARDIS out of a refrigerator box. The end result was something like this:

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Our TARDIS. Yeah. We’re nerdy like that :o)

As far as the characters themselves, my housemate Bridge played the part of the Tenth Doctor while I was The Master.  The others who participated were GOT characters, wearing dresses and looking very cute by the by (I thoroughly enjoyed watching them walking around in dresses.  But that’s just me being…well…).

ANYWAY, to make a long story short, we were the talk of the party.  Every time we walked past a crowd, people would jump up and down and scream “OH MY GOD!!!  THE TARDIS!!!! as they frantically snapped pictures with their cell phones.  Complete strangers walked up to us and said, “This is awesome.”  One person hugged Bridge after the parade ended and declared “You’re a Time Lord.  I need to hug you now.”

As for me, I was not recognized as The Master. After I took off my suit jacket and rolled up my sleeves, I looked more like a hit man than a sci-fi character.  But I personally didn’t care; this was one of the most incredible experiences I ever had.  For one, I could sense nothing but positive energy surrounding me.  Though I half suspected the parade to run into crazy religious protesters, imagine my relief when there were only three of them standing on the corner of North and Elmwood–their voices drowned out by more than a dozen of supporters.

And we have a lot to celebrate: Rhode Island, Deleware and Minnesota passed a marriage equality bill and France legalized same-sex marriage as well.  Government officials are now beginning to realize that many are calling for marriage equality. Grassroots activism made this possible by demanding that same-sex relationships be recognized legally. The result is these marriages are being legalized in twelve states; couples who have built a life together now receiving the same state benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.

All in all, today was a good day.  I was in cosplay mode and participated in the celebration of life.  I was surrounded by people who lived their lives fearlessly and with complete abandon.  I was a part of this moment and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Happy pride!