The weekend after New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis,” I was reading an op-ed essay in the New York Times, and my mind reeled back to that meeting held in Chicago on the last weekend of April.
I was surprised that the essay would conjure up a memory of the symposium, since, on the surface, the text had nothing to do with Catholic or LGBT issues. Yet, on another level, I saw the essay was, in fact, speaking to the core of the Catholic LGBT conversation–or, perhaps, I should say lack of conversation.
The op-ed essay in question was entitled “How Censorship Works,” and it was written by a Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist, whose name had recently been removed from several of his works by government officials at exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai. The essay is an insightful analysis of the ways that censorship operates in a contemporary culture which seems to prize and valorize free expression.
It’s that time of year again. The beginning of summer marks the time of year when every major city hosts its LGBT Pride Parade. The cities will explode in a Molotov cocktail explosion of pink confetti, diva music, and piñatas filled with condoms. Or so I’ve heard.
For the first time I will be participating in the festivities. Not because for the first time in my life I’m gay, but for the first time in my life, I’m verging on something adjacent to pride when it comes to my sexuality.
For the longest time, I didn’t know what that meant. How could someone be proud of their sexuality? Did straight people walk around proud of the fact that they wanted to have heterosexual intercourse? Unlikely.
But really what was there to be proud of when it came to sexuality at all? It is an uncontrollable fact bestowed upon each of us. It’s like celebrating my red hair or freckles. Those don’t bring me a sense of pride. They’re just facts. I’m proud of accomplishments. My graduation from college, my job, the relationships I’ve built with those around me, my dedication to watch all of season 2 of True Detective no matter how bad it got. Those required work.
My gayness didn’t require work. It required being born.
But then I thought again.
Source: Gay, Catholic and Proud
The main thrust of this story is that Azzi is notable as the first major basketball coach to come out as gay.
Gay marriage: Supporters laud Jennifer Azzi for her bravery
Jennifer Azzi built a reputation for taking charge on the basketball court while becoming the greatest point guard in Stanford history.Now she’s leading in a new arena by becoming the only openly gay coach of a Division I men’s or women’s basketball program.
Azzi, 47, announced Thursday night that she is married to Blair Hardiek, her assistant coach at the University of San Francisco.
Hidden in the detail, however, is something else of interest to LGBT Catholics. She and her wife are coaching at a Catholic college – and has the support of the school.
USF athletic director Scott Sidwell said Friday the school supports Azzi, who led the Dons (21-12) to the NCAA tournament last month for the first time since 1997.
“We have a commitment to Jennifer,” he said, referring to a five-year contract extension signed in July. “We’re going to respect the dignity of each person.”
But Sidwell, who took over after Azzi was hired in 2010, declined to answer specific questions about the announcement and about a coach being married to one of her employees. He described the Jesuit school as an inclusive campus “committed to the workplace.”
Source: San Jose Mercury News
An Australian Catholic high school has asked an an author who had been invited to the school to refrain from speaking about his latest novel, which contains a gay character, after the writer came out as a gay man.
De La Salle College, a high school located in the Sydney suburb of Revesby, had invited William Kostakis to speak about his new book, The Sidekicks, in March and in June. But Kostakis withdrew from the engagements after being asked in a staff member’s email to him, that he be silent about his new book, The Sidekicks, which has a gay character in it.
Source: Bondings 2.0
Ian Dunn talks to Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt, a Catholic, in search of common ground between religious groups and the gay community.
The head of gay rights organisation Stonewall is not someone you would expect to find in the pages of The Scottish Catholic Observer. Current CEO Ruth Hunt is, however, a practicing Catholic and she is on a mission to break down barriers and foster better communication between religious groups and the gay community.
Ms Hunt (above) spoke to the SCO to mark lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) month, which this year had the theme of faith, religion and philosophy.
“I think at Stonewall we have often seen the idea that the faith community and LGBT community have to come to blows as something artificially constructed,” she said.
”There are many LGBT people of faith and many LGBT people have lots of friends and family in faith communities. To think in terms of binaries and opposites is not helpful.”
The Rev. Cynthia Meyer said she was “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is. So, during her first sermon of 2016, Meyer broke the news: She loves another woman.
“I’ve been praying, and in a process of discernment for some time, particularly over the past few years, once I entered into a relationship,” said Meyer, pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church.
Meyer, 53, was ordained in 1992 and served for 12 years as assistant dean of students at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, a United Methodist-affiliated school in Atlanta.
In July, more than a year after she and her partner, Mary Palarino, began living together, Meyer accepted the call to be pastor in this community of 1,700 just southwest of Kansas City.
If the coming out process can be difficult, and coming out in church even more so, those difficulties can be even more so deeply religious parents of lesbian or gay people. Lance Bass was raised in Mississippi by a committed Southern Baptist family – not the easiest environment for any religious family to discover that their son is gay – and very publicly so, on the cover of tabloid magazines. At Huffington Post, Lance Bass describes what happened after he came out, how his mother prayed for a miracle – and how the miracle granted was not the one she expected.
The bulk of the post is in his mom’s own words, the text of a speech she delivered to a local church congregation. These are the central paragraphs of that speech (read the full text at Huffington Post Gay Voices).
The First Thing My Mom Did When She Learned I Was Gay… and the ‘Miracle’ That Occurred After
Seven years ago, we found out that Lance is gay. We were totally blindsided and devastated because never in a million years would we have guessed it. Also, because it was such a public thing, the situation was so much worse on the family. I do not want to go into the personal details of that revelation, but I will tell you that the ﬁrst thing I did was fall to my knees and ask, “What would Jesus do?” I almost immediately knew the answer… love my son. And that is what I have done. Never once did I ever think about turning my back on him. Never once was I ashamed or embarrassed. My feelings were more of sadness and just sheer disappointment in life.
If you believe that being gay is a choice, then the rest of what I say will not matter. I do not know why, but even as a staunch Christian, I personally never believed that being gay was a choice. I never knew a lot of gay people, but the ones I did meet I felt compassion for because I could feel their pain of being rejected and my heart always went out to them. Even though I never did believe Lance chose to be gay, I did not accept it as quickly as my husband did. His attitude was “It is what it is.” My attitude was “Yes, it is what it is but my God can perform miracles so I’m going to beg for a miracle to zap Lance and change him to straight!” And I did just that. I continued to love my son, stand beside him, and defend him, but for several years I continued to pray relentlessly for a miracle.
Well, Lance is still gay. However, I did get a miracle. It is just not the miracle I prayed for. You are looking at the miracle tonight. The miracle is that I learned to have unconditional love and compassion for my son and others in the gay community. I haven’t marched in parades or spoken at conventions, but I do feel that God has led me to speak out concerning the church’s role. My son is a Christian and wants to be able to worship, but he does not feel that the church cares about him and has pretty much disowned him as a fellow believer. There is something terribly wrong with that and I have to speak up on behalf of my son and others who ﬁnd themselves in the same situation. When I was a little girl, I went to a celebration with my grandparents on the courthouse lawn in Laurel. I was thirsty and ran to drink some water from one of the water fountains. My grandmother screamed at me to stop. When I looked at the fountain it had the word “Colored” on it and she told me I had to drink out of another one. I was only 6 years old but I knew something was just not right about that. Just as my heart told me something was wrong that day on the courthouse lawn, my heart is telling me that something is wrong with the way the church treats those who are gay.
I could tell you many stories that gay young people have told me about how so-called Christian people have treated them but I will only share one. One of the young men told me that he was searching for God and visited a large church one Easter Sunday. He was enjoying the beautiful service and feeling so drawn to what he was experiencing.
Everyone was standing singing a hymn and when he sat down there was a note in his chair. It said, “You know you are going to hell.” He told me that he never went to church again. I don’t blame him, but to my knowledge, he has not accepted Christ and is lost.
- Bass’ mum tells church to love gays (news.optuszoo.com.au)
- Shame on you, Lance Bass (aslongaswebothshalllove.wordpress.com)
- Lance Bass’ Mom Inspires With Her Words Of Acceptance And Unconditional Love (popwrapped.wordpress.com)