“Minister’s Reflection” – June 2

Dear Members and Friends of UU Manchester,

Craig Monroe had a wonderful suggestion that I could share my “Minister’s Reflection” from our June 2 “It’s Pride!” worship service with you here in the Flame and Chalice. Here it is:

Pride works in direct opposition to internalized oppression.

The latter provides fertile ground for shame, denial, self-hatred, and fear.

The former encourages anger, strength, and joy.

To transform self-hatred into pride is a fundamental act of resistance….

Witness pairs grief and rage with remembrance.

Pride pairs joy with a determination to be visible.

Witness demands primary adherence to and with history.

Pride uses history as one of its many tools.

Sometimes witness and pride work in concert, other times not.

We cannot afford to confuse, merge, blur the two.

~~”Witness and Pride”, Eli Clare

I identify as female, and I use she/her pronouns…and I am bisexual.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s in a small NH community, a college town near the borders of MA and VT, the eldest child of a conservative, middle class, blue collar family. I was a senior in high school before I met someone, who was in my friend circle, who was openly gay – so learning that being bisexual was even a thing, let alone making sense of it, was not in my experience. It was after I had been married and had children before I came to fully understand this part of myself, 

and even longer to fully accept and appreciate myself wholly.

We heard several personal reflections in our Pride Worship Service….reflections shared honestly and vulnerably, relating the complexities, pains, and joys of the journey toward becoming oneself. I am grateful to all of those who shared for your openness.

We have many among our congregation who identify in some way as queer. And, an aside here…the LGBTQ+ spectrum includes anyone who is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Two-Spirit, and other Non-Conforming people. The term “queer” is sometimes used as an umbrella/shorthand – the reclamation of an epithet – although it is a nuanced term that is not always preferred by everyone. 

There are many of us in the congregation.

And there are many who are not queer – who are straight. So what can you, our straight allies, do to participate in Pride?

You can celebrate us, and celebrate with us! Eli Clare says Pride pairs joy with a determination to be visible, so let us be visible among you. And not just in June.

We are queer for the whole year…remember that!

Something meaningful that allies can do in Pride month is to learn. Learn about an aspect of queerness, of the LGBTQ+ movement that you didn’t know before. Perhaps there is something that confuses you…or even “puts you off”, something you strongly resist. That may actually be the perfect thing to dive deeper into learning and understanding. 

Nearly every streaming channel has a special rainbow colored, curated collection of shows this month: documentaries, dramas, comedies, tv shows, movies; all of which are directed, written, produced, filmed, starring…sometimes multiples of queer industry professionals. And the same for books in bookstores and libraries.

Learn about the political landscape, the bills that have been recently passed and those that are still pending – both locally and nationally – that target and restrict “otherness”, especially our siblings who identify as transgender. Use what you learn as allies in this month of Pride to show up through the rest of the year, to fight for our UU values that hold love as the center… and help to make this world safe, and just, and beautiful.

For all of us.

Happy Pride, y’all!!!

In faith,
Rev. Kali

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