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Whose Authority?

Our altar on Holy Wednesday at a queer affirming youth-led service with students from Mississippi College: hand washing and a reading from The Color Purple. Clinton MS, March 23, 2016 It's a scary and an intense statement to declare to conservative Christian colleges that queer, Black and Brown bodies are like Jesus' body. That our spirit is like that of Jesus. I don’t throw that around lightly. I don't find solace in naming myself as Christ-like. I do not benefit from nailing my body onto the cross. Nor do I believe that my God wants my body to be anything, but adored and adorned. But I do think it's important for those of us whose theologies rest on the personified emulation of Jesus Chris

He, She, They, We

Today on the Beyond Equality Ride we went to Oakwood, which is a Seventh Day Adventist-affiliated HBCU in Huntsville, AL. We were a part of a facilitated dialogue about LGBTQI people on campus with forty students, faculty, staff, and administration. The opportunity was presented in the spirit of dialogue, learning, and sharing stories. Firstly I learned a lot about Seventh Day Adventism. The folks we met were incredibly smart. Their theology trickles down in practice. They believe, like I do, that God is love, but at the same time they are very socially conservative. Like, how they view gender roles as divinely ordained. I was told that the Aramaic word for “man” and “woman” join together an

Giving Life, Like the Water

A two week Ride is so much different from two months. I mean, I don't know this from experience. This is my first rodeo with the Equality Ride. But I mean, I'm thinking out loud here. There are at least a million ways that these things are totally worlds away from each other. Firstly, our Riders are not necessarily all with us at the same time. Today we were greeted by CC, but Haven had to leave us. It was one of a series of joyful encounters and sad goodbyes along the way -- and it asks us to consider: How do we hold each other in this very spiritually intense project, only for a few moments, before one of our teammates leave and a new person comes on? Second: the amount of time we get to s

Celebrating the Ways We Never Let Them Kill Us

Our second day began with a Rider conversation that reflected back on our day with Trevecca. We met amazing, brave students, and we had a lot of questions about them after our first day. Our Riders worked through many of the queries that organizers often wrestle with. How do we engage with students that experience an entirely different kind of spiritual violence than we do? How do we make sure that we are linking them to resources and support from Soulforce at every turn? How do we support a student in crisis? How do we connect students to resources for the day after the Ride? In the evening we invited students from a local Christian college's underground GSA to meet with us. Under the veil

Hollering into the Well

“Your silence will not protect you.” I keep this thought sewn in the seams of my clothes when I do just about anything that scares me. As a natural conflict avoider, truth telling scares me. For a Soulforcer, I often wonder, I sure am meek. I am not a megaphone holder, a fire starter, a grenade thrower. But these days, I wear that quote from our Black queer ancestor Audre Lorde like a banner on my chest. It feels so true. My silence will not protect the most endangered of us. Not now. Today we went to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN. Trevecca Nazarene, a Church of the Nazarene institution, is one of many schools across the South that we initially contacted to visit when we

Reclaiming My Gender at My Christian University and the Threat of Title IX Exemptions

Being transgender anywhere seems to prove to be a challenge in itself. But all the more in densely religious regions and communities, like the South, churches, and Christian colleges. When I came out as a girl and a lesbian halfway through my academic career at Eastern University, there was a lot of resistance. Some students harassed, gossiped, and one even assaulted me, professors asked invasive questions, and the administration asked equally invasive questions, like “which genitals do you have?” Logistically, it was nearly impossible for me to live off-campus, but by my senior year, I refused to live in a male dorm because it had so drastically deteriorated my mental health the years bef

"I Could've Really Used You Back Then"

There are two ways that folks engage with our work on the Beyond Equality Ride. Some people very reasonably ask, “Do your college visits actually change anything?” And often, the immediate answer is “I don’t know.” And then there are the people who are in awe and inspired by our work on campus. These folks are most often the folks who say, “Oh my God, I wish I had experienced y’all when I was a young LGBTQI person on a college campus!” These folks are often the ones who have experienced spiritual violence firsthand, many who are still healing from the deep wounds of religious fundamentalism. We met some of those beautiful people today at Gracepointe Church in Franklin, TN. Our Riders have ju

Campus Pride, Soulforce Demand NCAA Divest From All Religious-based Campuses Requesting Discriminato

Charlotte, NC, March 9, 2016 - Led by Campus Pride and Soulforce, a coalition of over 80 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ), sports, religious and youth advocacy groups signed on to a letter issued publicly today calling on NCAA to divest from all religious-based institutions who have made Title IX requests to discriminate against LGBTQ youth. The NCAA has long held as core values a commitment to diversity and inclusion of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. A list of the organizations can be found here: https://www.CampusPride.org/TakeActionNCAA and The Los Angeles LGBT Center, GLAAD, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, Transathlete.com, PFLAG, The Na

Queer Counter-Offensive: Our Prayer for the NRB

In February 2016, our people in Nashville organized a counter-worship service in public opposition the National Religious Broadcasters’ Christian communicators’ conference, Proclaim 16. I attended with two-dozen or so people; we snuck banners into the NRB’s worship service sat and listened, one ear to the violent messaging and theology of the NRB, the other ear to our lead organizers who would tell us when to rise and disrupt. As we slowly marched out singing as loud as our spirits would carry -- in full performance and revelry, Soulforce style -- we made our way to the foyer of the conference, where executives and security were awaiting our arrival. We knew that the NRB conference organiz

I Was Kicked out of the NRB Conference for Being a Queer Person of Color

Last week I took a measured step out of my comfort zone and into a semi-traumatic place of my past. I attended Proclaim16, the annual Christian communicators’ conference of the Right Wing organization, National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). Every year they host the event at a Marriott hotel. This year it was received at the Grand Opryland Resort in Nashville. I bought a ticket and I went, just to observe, and to learn, and because I am out as a queer writer and activist (and because I was one of a very few People of Color in an overwhelmingly white space), they found me out. They called me out by name and told me I had to leave. After the NRB figured out who I was and decided to kick me ou

Soulforce works to end the political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people through relentless nonviolent resistance.

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