Saturday, March 24, 2012


Yesterday we visited Grace Cathedral; a LGBT inclusive church. We met with Tommy who is a gay priest at St. Aidan's church here in San Francisco. I was initially nervous because I haven't had the best relationship with religion in the past. For this reason I tend to shy away from religion. As a women's studies major I hear about the oppressive side of religion as an institution. I want to make the distinction between religion in itself and how people have interpreted religion and used it to oppress others hence the institution aspect. Traditionally religion as an institution has been an oppressive force in the lives of women and other marginalized groups. The church often relies heavily on traditional gender roles which limits the opportunities for many people. I have first hand seen religion at its worst which has affected how I see religion as a whole. For this reason, religion makes me nervous and uncomfortable. This is why I was apprehensive to visit a church here.

Upon arriving to the church we were invited to partake in their morning worship service. I was reluctant at first but decided to immerse myself in the experience. It was not a life changing moment for me and I was slightly relieved when it was over but appreciated it for what it was. Once again, I was unable to separate my past from the present. Talking to Tommy relieved many of these feelings. He told us a little more about the church and what it does for the community and LGBT individuals. It is a church that is very progressive and inclusive. They have a strong relationship with LGBT organizations, including but not limited to numerous drag performers. They provide meals and support for the homeless population here and provide a safe and supportive space for all individuals. I found this incredibly inspiring since so many people have seen the horrible side of the church in their treatment of LGBT individuals. It made me think that it is indeed possible to merge the two communities and form a long lasting alliance and support system. Above all I could see that Tommy really loves what he does. He comes from the South and was very traditional at the start but once he moved here he realized that things can change and that all people are worthy of love, compassion, and understanding. It was based on love for all humankind and I find that so inspiring and worthy of praise. Although I still have my bias, this experience has opened my mind to new possibilities.


No comments:

Post a Comment