The interview came at an opportune time as Indiana had just passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The backlash was swift as the LGBT community and allies, both individuals and corporations, took a stand against a law that would justify discrimination against people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. To the gall of many, one pizzeria in Indiana proved this when the owner stated on television that she would not cater pizza to a gay wedding. (Okay, now what gay couple would want to serve pizza at their wedding???)
Because of the widespread uproar, Indiana (and Arkansas, which was following in Indiana's footsteps) re-worked their bills to ensure no discrimination would be allowed against LGBT individuals. But the fact that this bill passed, and that the pizzeria owner blatantly stated her own intent to discriminate based on her faith, feeds the feeling that there's a divide between being LGBT and being a person of faith. What about those of us that identify as both?
During the interview, I shared a deeply troubling story about a gay man in his 70s who stayed in the closet and isolated himself in his apartment, all because his mother told him that he had "the Devil" inside him when he came out to her at a young age. For over 50 years, he carried this deep shame. I visited his apartment many times to offer him spiritual counseling and support because he didn't want to be out in the world, for fear that people would find out his secret that he was gay. He shared with me that in his heart, he believed that God loved him just as he was, but his family and the world that he knew told him otherwise.
He had a seedling of belief that he was loved, but the soil around him was full of weeds, "hardened" stones and toxicity that prevented the "love seedling" from blossoming.
I'll be honest with you. This makes me angry.
I am outraged that this gay man felt that he had to live a life of isolation. I am outraged that many LGBT youth become homeless because of families that disown them. I am outraged at the ways our LGBT community is hurting, and the fact that suicide attempts among LGBT youth is higher than the general population. This is why I believe spirituality in the LGBT community matters.
The heart of spirituality is the practice to remember these things: You are loved. You are worthy. You matter. You are a gift, and the Universe would not be the same without you. Let go of anything that tells you otherwise.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. That's why it's important to find the people and communities that support you in remembering these truths. If you're in the Los Angeles area, come by the Tuesday night support group that I lead at Inspire LA so that you can be in spiritual community. If you can't find a local community or person who can support you, contact me and we can talk about how you can find that. The important thing to do is to reach out. No one should have to isolate themselves.
For those of you who are interested in listening to my radio interview where I talk about spirituality and the LGBT community, I'm providing the link for you. You can also download an mp3 copy to listen on the go:
- Click here to listen to the radio interview. (To download on a PC, right-click on the link. On a mac, press "option" while clicking.)
This is my gift to you. I encourage you to listen to it, and to share it with others.
For your coaching assignment this week, think about an area of your own life where you could use some tender loving care to remember that you are loved, you are worthy and that you matter. Then, go ahead and give yourself that care. For bonus points, let others know that they are loved, they are worthy, and that they matter. You never know when someone might need that loving boost.
May you be surrounded with people and situations that lovingly remind you of the love and light that you already are.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below. And if you need some extra support, know that I am available to be a listening ear and provide some guidance. Click here to contact me for some complimentary one-on-one time.