I was invited to be a guest on Greater Somerville on Monday, 4/14/15 to discuss my experience and expertise as a member of the LGBTQ communities. I spoke to issues arising from the recent legislation in Indiana and the role that religious communities and spirituality play in the wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals.
This experience was especially significant to me because it is an example of the power of relationship in forging community and bringing about cultural change.
KyAnn Anderson, one of the co-hosts of Greater Somerville, was inspired to cover the topic of LGBTQ folks and religious. She reached out to me from our previous relationship, from when I was guest on Greater Somerville a few years ago. She has followed my personal and professional transformation, including my public gender transition, and she contacted me as a resource to explore this topic and inspire our fellow Somervillians.
I welcomed her invitation and referred her to some other resources, including UCC Somerville, one of many wonderful religious communities who welcome, not just tolerate, each person who enters their doors. Sitting alongside me and KyAnn is the Reverend Jeff Mansfield from UCC. I think he and I did a good job of speaking to the complexity of being LGBTQ and living in a "liberal" city like Somerville.
There are many ways to bring about social and cultural change. Many of my friends are committed to enacting institutional change via important legislation and other political initiatives.
For my part, I remain focused on the tipping point we are nearing in our country. I'm focused on inspiring all people to live authentic, fulfilling lives so they can increase their acceptance and respect for everyone else. I'm focused on building wellbeing and resilience within LGBTQ individuals with good nutrition, lifestyle habits and healthy relationships--three things we have control over, despite daily frustrations or oppression in larger society. I'm celebrating when issues like what happened in Indiana recently happen less and less often as more cisgender, heterosexual people like Jeff, KyAnn and celebrities like Nick Offerman and Rachel Potter use their voices to bring about real cultural change.
Change takes time, and good, strong relationships help make it happen organically and sustainably.
Please watch the video and consider sharing it with your religious community!