Where does hope come from?

A blog from Wednesday, January 9, 2013:

Mercedes, Laurel, and Alvaro, students from the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador. Overhead posters of Oscar Romero, UCA martyr priest Ignacio Ellacuria, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

You’ve been reading about our extra-busy days and extra-profound discussions and experiences.  Today, Wednesday, was no different.  We began the morning with a panel of distinguished invited guests, the heads of the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Reformed denominations.  These are three of the Protestant denominations who supported the people throughout the times of conflict.  In the afternoon, we visited with three theology students from the University of Central America (UCA), the Jesuit university where liberation theology is still taught by the likes of Jon Sobrino.  Later we met with the former Human Rights Ombsbudswoman of El Salvador, a position that was created by the Salvadoran Peace Accords in 1992 to report human rights abuses of in El Salvador.  In the evening, we attended a house concert by Guillermo Cuellar, a Salvadoran musician who worked with Romero writing and performing songs expressing the struggles of the people, including the Salvadoran Popular Mass.

Right to Left: Episcopal Bishop Martín Barahona, Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez, Reverend Santiago Flores of the Reformed Church

In the panel of the three church leaders, Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez talked about how he was disappeared and tortured for his role accompanying poor communities during the war. International ecumenical pressure demanded his release.  The leaders talked about the role of the church in the more recent history, including how the Catholic Church helped negotiate a “truce” between the two major gangs in El Salvador in spring 2012.  One leader said that these churches understand themselves as united by a common ecumenical “Theology of the Cross”, which is a commitment to never abandon the most vulnerable.  This refreshed a place in me because I understand my own call to ministry to have such a theology, yet sometimes I feel timid to say it in front of church leaders and committees because I am constantly called on to defend how that is a legitimately “ordainable” church ministry position. The Salvadoran church leaders confirmed that an ecumenical and interreligious coordination between the north and the south of the continent is necessary to change the systems of injustice that are continental and worldwide in scope.  What form will and must that take?

The Human Rights Omsbudswoman was the biggest wake-up call yet for our group to the actual reality of El Salvador.  Our group came on this trip seeking to learn the liberative spirituality and praxis of Romero and his challenge for today.  But this takes for granted that much liberative spirituality and praxis based on remembrance of Romero exists here in El Salvador. Up until now on the trip we have been surrounded by the minority in El Salvador who do care about Romero and practice a liberative spirituality.  The Omsbudswoman laid out a frank reality in which the dominant consciousness has little commitment to follow Romero in a justice-seeking way of life and of being church. As I listened to the conversations in the bus after our visit, I heard such things as:  How could the Omsbudwoman say that the Salvadoran people are not a revolutionary people?  How could she say that the people are more status-quo than seeking to change the reality, after all we’ve heard about Salvadoran history during our visit here?

Lest we think that El Salvador is any different in this regard than the United States, I point out the quandary that the Salvadoran leaders with whom we speak must struggle to reconcile: how delegations of concerned people from the United States come to learn from El Salvador’s history; meanwhile, during the war and now, the US government’s policy toward El Salvador seeps life out of the Salvadoran people.  During the Salvadoran Civil War, the US sent $1 million EVERY day to fund the war that killed over 75,000 of the Salvadoran people.  And today, the United States dictates CAFTA free trade laws and norms of “development” and “aid” that benefit the world’s oligarchy more than change the systems sustaining poverty.  Deregulated flow of capital steals the wealth produced by Salvadoran workers in factories out of the country.

“We have to say the truth, without minding who it will bother. -Jon Cortina, SJ”

To reconcile these ironies, the Salvadoran leaders we speak with say “Oh, we know that the US government is different from the US people.”   But I no longer feel excused by that excuse.  The convicting question to us from the United States is thus:  are we a revolutionary people, with all the positive connotations this word can carry—of seeing through the lies to create domestic and foreign policies that work toward better lives for the majorities both in the US and countries like El Salvador?  Is the government in the US really much different from the dominant consciousness of the US people?  Can we use that excuse today?

Guillermo Cuellar, a Salvadoran musician who worked with Romero writing and performing songs expressing the struggles of the people, including the Salvadoran Popular Mass.

Sometimes when considering these difficult questions, I wonder if, and how, we’ll ever change dominant consciousness in the US enough to improve our own conditions and those of El Salvador.  It’s a question we’ve asked to many of our speakers:  from where does your hope come?  How do you keep doing the work you do amid frustration and violence?  In a meditative service at the Chapel where Romero was assassinated, our facilitator asked us what word we think best describes Romero. I responded “Inspiration” because I think that he was inspiration to people of his day and to us today to summon the courage needed for the required work to counter the normative power relationships and consciousness.  I accepted the facilitator’s suggestion to adopt this as a commitment in my own life for the next segment.  Thus, in the night, Guillermo Cuellar’s songs washed over my body and into that space where fear and courage negotiate.  He interwove his songs with the stories that inspired them.  He told stories of encounters with Romero and of the faith, suffering, and resistance of the Salvadoran people.  Contained within the Salvadoran organized “pueblo” and in the music that sustains them is the sometimes unutterable, often unspoken, assumption that we will ever seguir adelante (continue forward).

Having been in the city of San Salvador up until now, we have most of the country undiscovered—both its geography and its conditions.  Thus we head to the mountains today.  We have yet to have encounters with so many more things that are the realities of El Salvador:  poverty, young adults with fifth grade educations, scorched earth massacres, communities built in refugee camps.  Que nos vaya muy bien.  (May we have a good trip.)

- Jennifer Wilder, MDiv 2013

Still Jumping The Broom…

Marriage…I’ve addressed this topic before on this blog.  Then it was in response to a question of why do ‘you gays want to get married in the first place’.  Living in New York City during the pre and post Marriage Equality Bill I must say, things have certainly changed.  Not two weeks before the State Senate passed the bill, I witnessed the marriage of two wonderful women in a religious setting.  They were civilly married in Connecticut earlier but all in all they had been together for twenty-five years before this options of legal recognition of their marriage was realized.  Notice I didn’t say “union”.

Even civil unions do nothing more than bring a legal status to the relationship between two people.  Marriage it seems is more culturally privileged, at least in the United States, seems to be a pronouncement of God’s sanction of a relationship.  There is an entire historical understanding of marriage as a property transaction, not just person (usually the woman to man) to person, but also of joining families, making political alliances, etc.  That carryover is still very much present in modern marriage whether we like it or not.  The church has been complicit in this aspect of marriage by declaring this very secular purpose of two persons joining in matrimony as blessed by God.  It has always been a subjective blessing given by those who profess to have in inside track on the will of God.

It is very encouraging that we place such a value on finding “true love”.  The romantic in me is grateful that this is so.  It seems much more likely that the mystery of God is realized in the random meeting of two souls who can no longer picture their lives as a singular thing.  But as a life that one can no longer imagine living single.  I truly believe that is the act of God, that is the blessing of God on we mere humans, an invitation to a piece of the divine that is love expressed in our yearning to be with another; our only way of physically satiating our intense and spiritual desire to be with God.

I am happy for the passage of the Marriage Equality Bill in New York State.  But the fact is that many clergy can still be tried and defrocked for performing marriage ceremonies or ceremonies that in any way resemble “traditional” marriage ceremonies.  The church has said that God does not bless and make sacred any relationship other than a male/female partnering, no matter how the gender expression in the pair is realized.  But that’s a whole other issue.

I think of these things and must also share my understanding as an African American Black Man.  I can’t help but go back into the history of my people, American people of color enslaved for so many centuries.  The same church that is doling out marriage blessings, the same church that is withholding marriage blessings, is the same church that refused to recognize the sanctity of the Black family during slavery. There were many reasons to be sure—we were property, we were only a percentage human, we were savages who could not understand or were not worthy of the sanctity of a blessed by God bond of matrimony.  Ugly reality to be sure…But is it really so different than what church and society is telling the Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Queer communities?

Queer and Black are communities understand Shakespeare’s Shylock.  We substitute ourselves for the word Jew when he says,

“I am LGBTQ. Hath not a Queer eyes?

Hath not a Gay hands, organs, dimensions,

senses, affections, passions?

Are not Lesbians fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,

subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means?

Are not Transgendered warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer,

as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

If you poison us, do we not die?

and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” (III,i,50ff)

But we don’t want revenge, we just want to, if we so choose, to get married.  Some of us want to get married in a church where we have experienced God in our lives.  Some of us want to get married in a church that has shared all of our major life events.

Some of us just want to fit into our tuxes and gowns and experience that one day that just belongs to us.  And…some of us don’t.

But when my ancestors were told they could marry what did they do?  They found something from the motherland that had meaning and incorporated that into their ritual.  Jumping the broom is still done at many African American weddings.  If you are interested in reading more about the history of jumping the broom I suggest you read “Broom Jumping: A Celebration of Love” by Danita Rountree Green.

Marriage is legal in the state of New York.  All historical, proprietary, monetary assurances can now be claimed.  But many churches still won’t dole out God’s blessing.  Well, that’s quite alright.  What God has brought together let no one tear asunder.  I say I will jump the broom when the time is right.  I will invite God to carry us into our household and future lives together.  You if God decides to bring love into my life, there are very few who hold more sway for me that God God’s self when it comes to blessing me and the one who just might come to love me.

Letter to Darius~”One Who Maintains Possessions”: The One Who Comes After

James Baldwin often wrote pointed letters as essays.  In The Fire Next Time, he writes such a letter to his namesake nephew.  It is a letter to help him navigate race, the psychological effects of racism, and to give him an overriding ethic by which he might be saved from his own self loss caused by hating back.

In likewise fashion, this letter is to an imagined African American young man whose sexuality will cause him to be at risk of the same things but in response to his  church’s response to the politics of sexualities as well as his own that he holds close who share the abundance of pigment with him.

Dear Darius,

I have started this letter several times to you in the hope of your existence.   I call you Darius, the one who comes after me.  I call you Darius because this means “one who maintains possessions well”.  To you I entrust the all that I have for you to hold in a community that I can envision but which does not exist.  It is a community that I give to you to name, to call into existence.  To keep and hold the experiences of black men who love God who love men. It is a community I have longed for, one that my associations assume already exists.

I see you in the church pew amongst the sea of black, brown and beige bodies at the age of 6 or 7 dangling your feet to the sway of the music.  I notice how your eyes linger on your blink as the singer holds a soaring note invoking the Spirit of God to come here now.  How your head rolls to the right and your eyes slowly open, as if in a everlasting trance of a single moment, when the singer gasps for the breath to sing on.  I see how you jump to your feet to clap a syncopated rhythm in response to the choir’s exuberant gospel refrain.  And just last week I felt your heart yearn as your soul responded to the spiritual you are way too young to knowingly sing truthfully, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen.”  And yet the furrow of your brow told me that you will know of what you sing.

As I see you, I see me.  I want you to know that someone sees you.  I don’t just see you sitting there, I see you in all your possibility.  As you grow you will be tempted to believe that your possibilities are limited.  In your blackness you will struggle with the sense that you are inferior, that something is wrong with you, that you are wrong to be who God has created you to be.  When you feel that way and don’t know why, stop and take a look at the world.  You will see that your grandfather’s mother and her ancestors before have wondered the same thing.  They have wondered why this feeling of less than when that’s not what the soul feels.  Know that it is not your blackness that offends but what your blackness represents.  It represents resilience, ingenuity, beauty, honor and history at its best.  But those things are also what pains those who would have you doubt yourself.  For they resent your resilience, begrudge your ingenuity, defame your beauty, want to replace your brazen honor with shame and have tried to erase your history.  But these things they will never have.  These things they can never have.  Through Middle Passage, through slavery, through midnight journeys north, through Jim Crow, through forest canopy lynchings, through fire hoses and dogs you still have those things we have always truly possessed that make us who we are and not who others would have us to be.

So hold onto those things, Darius for they are yours hold and to keep.  But you must hold tight.  For those around you would have these very things wrested from grasp.  They too see you in the rapturous ecstasy of what it means to be loved by Christ alone.  They too witness your reckless abandon in loving the one who loves you more than any other.  They too know of the trouble you see and will begrudge you the journey you have yet to travel.  For they will tell you that you must abandon the ways of your being if you want to associate with them.  They will whisper in darkened corners as you grow, wonder and whisper why you bring no woman home to love for their approval.  They will laud your singing and passion for the Lord, expecting you to serve at their whim while they accept you as sinner and guess at the sin in you they hate.

Whether you choose to stay or leave, neither revile nor revere them.  Honor the love of the man you choose to hold.  Honor the love that Christ has instilled in you to share as part of your gift.  Do not revere those who would shame you by recreating their way of being in the world.  Do not conform to what is their ideal; one man, one woman in service of procreation for the Lord.  Do not revile them as you choose a different path, your path as dictated by the Spirit’s guidance in your life; love in honesty, love with open heart, love to find your help meet as God has always intend you to find.

Darius, you may wonder where does your blackness and your loving of same gender cross paths in this address to you?   I tell you, do not allow the bigotry against your blackness from outside of your black family wrest away your possessions.  Do not allow the love of God’s chosen for you to be wrested away by your black family and out yonder beyond them.  Empathy may be the better part of valor.  For with empathy you see the result of the hatred of your blackness relived in the hatred of your sexual being.

For in our blackness, we have learned to perpetrate on others the hatred of our oppressors.  And this is an unintended allegiance to the powers that be will be inflicted on you unless…

Unless you find your power to witness to your possessions…Your possessions will have you witness to the struggles that have allowed you in your blackness to come this far…They will have you witness to all of your oppressors from the place, the mountaintop, from which Martin called for civil rights.    They will have you witness to your own kind…those who love like you, who look like you, who live like you…They will have you witness of a forgiving love because you will be armed with the right way of loving past the hatred and into the love that will make this world as God intended.

Like me you have been outside and are looking for a place to be.  For your sake I need to tell you these things and so I write you today.   Malcolm X tells us, “We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.”[1] Love who you have been created to be!  Let this be the place from which you measure all else, Darius.  Your self is the most prized possession.  Not that you are to hold onto it as a dear possession to the exclusion of all else.  You are to hold it, love it, protect it and listen to it.  It will guide you through many turns on this journey.  You are not alone.  Build this community for me Darius.  For I am jailed in the trappings of my own psyche and must continue to break free of the hatred from without that is blocking me from the love that is within.  I give my hope to you.

The love of Christ and all that is holy is my prayer for you.


[1] A Declaration of Independence, Malcolm X, March 12, 1964.  “Teaching American History.Org.,  http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1148 (accessed April 2, 2011)


A Love that Would Not Let Me Go

When we tell our stories, we are transformed. When others hear our stories, they are transformed. The story telling for Project Union Responds stirred up the Union community. We were stirred up because sharing our stories was an action of liberation, affirmation, by re-claiming our selves, our bodies, and our faiths. We were stirred up because sharing our stories required us to reflect on how we had been (and still are) harmed. As a community we received, held, and honored all that has been stirred up in us throughout the process; specifically during an evening, candle-light service on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in James Chapel.

The following is a copy of the reflection offered by Barbara L. Rice. Ms. Rice has a master of counseling and is a first-year, master of divinity seminarian here at Union. Her employment portfolio includes working with LGBTQ youth. As a community, we are graced by her presence and voice.

—arb

A Love that Would Not Let Me Go

When Zach was a child I loved him. When Elizabeth was a child I loved her. When Luke was a child I loved him. When Erica was a child I loved her.

[Hosea 11:1–12] is one of those passages of scripture that I have always been drawn to, never fully knowing why. I’m sure my 16-year-old interpretations of this text were age appropriately simplistic and egocentric. But there was something in my initial and naïve draw to the passage that was innate—that was calling me back to some womb-like recognition of my connectedness with a love that would not let me go. I would not have used those words, but there was a desire to ingest these images into my being. I wanted to know that type of security, that type of love. I wanted to watch an old home movie of God bending down to feed me when I was a toddler. I wanted to see, feel, and touch these cords of human kindness and bands of love. I wanted to know that they would catch me, would hold that space, would keep me safe. And I wanted the people in my life to know and feel that security and love in their own lives.

And I think in many ways those bands of love were very real in my heart and in my life. At the risk of being stereotypical, I was very much a tomboy, and it was considered cute to run around in my baseball uniform all year long. And I was always picked fairly quickly in the process of choosing kick ball teams in elementary school. I would occasionally be called dyke, but had no idea what it meant, and I didn’t care. I had friends because I learned early in life that if you listen to people they tend to like you. So, I could fit in pretty well and for the most part was spared the personal pain of bullying.

As I grew into adolescence I had that familiar gnawing sensation that many of you can relate to – that sense that something about me just wasn’t right. And it would creep into my thoughts now and then, this utter terror, that there might just be some tiny chance I was gay. This nightmare sat in the back of my mind and would rear its head, and I would think that if this is in any way true then I probably didn’t deserve to live. This belief that, if I were indeed gay, I would be unworthy of taking up space on the earth, mostly came from my family narrative which was passionately homophobic in the name of following Jesus. So, if this secret, this nightmare, was possibly true then it would mean that I was beyond the point of any repair.

And so I would sit with these images that I sought out in the Bible—pictures from Isaiah of loving protection amidst storms and scary things, the intimacy of Mary washing Jesus’ feet and his defense and love for her, and then this one in Hosea of having been known and loved intimately since babyhood regardless of my attempts to escape. And I would try to connect with that love and tell myself that this was enough, and tell myself that I could get through this life devoting all of it to God, and that I would be given the strength to keep myself together (i.e. not fall to the temptation of living in that ‘lifestyle’) until I died and could experience ultimate union with the Divine. My life was full of sports, friends, mission trips, school work, and service clubs. By all appearances I was a pretty happy teenager and as long as I could keep the terror silenced or distant then I was OK.

I wasn’t externally tortured for being gay, but I was internally tortured. I’ve thought about this a lot these last few weeks. I can’t imagine what I would have done if there had been this added layer of ostracism, of being targeted, or being ridiculed. I truly do not know that I could have survived that, and I look around at my friends in this room, not knowing each story, but knowing that for many of you it was a struggle that words can’t capture. And I sit with gratitude and awe realizing you have survived.

In my therapy practice in Greensboro, NC, I had the privilege of working with many teens and adults struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation. Their struggles were often based on their understanding of what religion or the Bible said about same gender love, but they inevitably faced peer and family ostracism. In doing trauma work with my clients incidents of extreme bullying would often come up, and these memories would be so vivid that, as they were described to me, I felt like I was there. It was as if in their description I could see, hear, touch, smell and taste the terror, the fear, the punches, the tears, the shame. As if their spirits had been branded like cattle, we would work together to deconstruct the internalized messages left by these incidents. We would work to untangle and heal those messages, until they could become scars as opposed to gaping wounds, and we would work to take away the powerlessness of the memories.

However, the consequences of some of these marks can’t be avoided. I think about a 26-year-old gay man I worked with who suffered such horrendous bullying and abuse in high school that he stopped going to school to avoid being tormented, which led to him eventually dropping out altogether. He completed his GED and now works a minimum wage job while trying to go to community college at night. He struggles with just making it day to day—not only financially but also emotionally. He stays in relationships with fairly abusive partners because, as he would honestly share, if he didn’t have a partner with whom to live he would be homeless. The bullying and peer abuse that led to him dropping out of school has left its mark and he is trying to dig his way out, and it’s a long, dark path.

I recall checking my voice mails early one morning before work, and listening in heart breaking horror, as I learned that a queer mutual friend of several of my teenage clients had hung herself the previous night. I was familiar with this girl, who had committed suicide, because they both frequently spoke of her. When I saw these two clients that same day, they were both obviously wracked in pain with all the things that go along with the ones left behind by suicide—what could we have done, why didn’t we see this coming, why wouldn’t her parents get her help? But, as if that wasn’t enough, one of the girls, who also identified as queer, sat sobbing on my sofa as she told me how unsympathetic her parents were to this devastating loss. By her reports her parents were not at all accepting of her orientation, and did some ridiculing of their own. So, the night my client learned of her friend’s death she was hysterical, and went to her mother for comfort, only to have her mother respond by saying, “well, that’s what happens to gay kids, they end up hanging from rafters.”

Well, I’m here, we’re all here, to say ‘no.’ That’s not the inevitable fate of gay kids. Swinging from rafters, jumping off bridges, shooting themselves in the head… this is not the unchangeable fate of our queer kids!

How I wanted to transmit to these clients, to my friends, and so many others, a sense of the tenderness of God’s love, of these totally devoted images such as this passage from Hosea. I wanted them to know that they too had access to a love bigger than all this pain; that they too could tap into a love that would not let them go. This is our job – to take this love to the people, to be living examples of this determined devotion.

As some of us have been telling our stories for the video, I’ve wondered about who didn’t make it among us. Who would have been here, sitting with us now if they could have made it a little longer? How has God grieved for the lives cut short due to hate? Who are we missing? What ghosts are among us who dreamed of seminary and theological education, but who didn’t survive the crucible of a queer childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood? Where would they be sitting right now? How would they enrich our community and our lives here at Union? Who would be their boyfriend, girlfriend, their partner? Who would be their best friend on the hall? And so I look out at your faces and am filled with gratitude that you made it, that we have the chance to become the beloved community; that we have the chance to share our stories with each other. I also am grateful to have made it, and grateful that I have been able to cling to my daughtership during dark times.

And out of Egypt I called my daughter. Out of Egypt I called my son. Out of Egypt I called my child. Daughtership, sonship, beloved child…. What does it mean to be called out of Egypt, out of bondage, out of slavery? What does it mean to be called to freedom, to life? Sometimes we prefer the bondage we know over the freedom we don’t know. But we are called, if we can hear – and I believe we can hear when something inside of us is ready to hear – to take the first steps of a journey towards freedom. Sometimes that first step is a commitment to find support, to find somewhere you can be honest.

For me I heard the call towards freedom one day in 1997. I was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship,a conservative parachurch ministry, and I reached a point after years of being in reparative therapy, where I could no longer live with my internal incongruence. I reached the point where I didn’t care if I was indeed going to go to hell, because I was already in hell – my life was hell, my internal struggle had driven me to the brink of again wanting to be on the other side of this existence into the next one, just wanting Jesus’ arms around me. So I picked up the phone and called my supervisor. And, as I suspected, I was asked to resign, I was then asked to leave my non denominational church, which led to loosing most of my friends, and my family relationships experienced a type of death from which they have never fully recovered. And, it was in this wilderness space that I spent a lot of time reading and praying and wrestling with what to do. Regardless of what others said, what did God say? Could I still have a relationship with God and live this earthly life in a way that honored all parts of me, including my sexuality? I had wanted to be in vocational ministry since early childhood, and I thought that dream was over, and I was not sure who I was without this dream. I knew I did not want to live without a palpable connection to God, because to me that has been the only thing that gives life meaning. So, I decided I would take the first step. I would just move forward with what I could, and live, and see what happened. It was kind of an experiment because I was out of options, other than suicide. Of course what I found was more connection with God, and that God did not forsake me, but met me in ways I could have never known without taking that first step.

In this way, I was experiencing something similar to what Hosea describes at the end of the 11th chapter: “They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes.” The freedom of flying, even though you’re trembling. The sense of soaring even though you’re shaking – but heading to your true home. I happen to believe that home is always and only coming home to that love, that Divine love, that claims us and declares us perfectly made. In essence I believe coming home is a kind of coming home inside of ourselves, to rest in the love that waits for us there. As these tragedies in our queer community have moved us to share our own stories, as we have been moved to do anything we can to give a struggling kid hope for one more day, I have come to feel that we can become, that we are becoming the beloved community. And I believe it is from that grounded place that we move out into the world to serve, to stir, to rage, to liberate, to mourn, and to ultimately heal. As Hafiz said, “God revealed a sublime truth to the world, when He sang, ‘I am made whole by your life. Each soul, each soul completes me.’”

When Tyler Clementi was a child I loved him.

When Billy Lucas was a child I loved him.

When Seth Walsh was a child I loved him.

When Asher Brown was a child I loved him.

When we were children God loved us.

—Barbara L. Rice, MS LPC

©2010 Project Union Responds. Reprinting available with permission.

Union Responds to LGBTQ Youth Suicides

When we heard about the death of Tyler Clementi, the most recent in a string of queer youth suicides (a list which gets much longer if we take into account all of the queer suicides that we don’t hear about) we asked ourselves whether there might have been something–some act, some word–that could stop other queer youth headed down the same road to complete self-destruction.  In this video, a whole community has mustered just that.  Seminary students, post-docs, faculty members, and the President of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York speak to LGBTQ youth at risk and to those who find themselves being bullied and ostracized just for being who the Divine created them to be.
– Atticus Schoch Zavaletta

Click on the image below to view the video:

Click to view

–Video coordinated and produced by Project Union Responds team. ©2010 Project Union Responds