In conversation last night after Mass at Farm Street, some of us were discussing the difficulties for LGBT groups, including Quest and the Soho Masses / Farm Street community, in moving beyond being simply gay, or gay lesbian, to fully inclusive of the entire alphabet soup of LGBTQQIA – and any other you wish to add. (Why not throw in K for kink, or C for celibate?), That is why I personally prefer “queer”, in the sense of sexual and gender minorities. In the Catholic Church, every one of us belongs to a minority of some kind, and that most emphatically includes people living strictly within the CDF rules on sexual behaviour, and celibate priests.
There is a problem though. While we need to include people from across the spectrum, it’s neither possible nor appropriate for people like myself, gay male and cisgender, to speak on behalf of those whose situation is quite different – either lesbians, or trans people. Accepting that it’s far better to let people speak for themselves. It is in this spirit that I recommend, without further comment, this reflection at “la lucha ma pulpito” – and note that I make no attempt to locate the writer in any of the sexual or gender boxes: the danger of labels is precisely part of the point.
A few extracts:
dirt in my falda
My world growing up as the child of Latin@ parents was very black and white with no room for color or variation. I did not understand why I could not play piano but had to take tae kwon do for 7 years until I was a black belt. I did not understand why I had to take out the trash in our family’s cleaning business but my sisters’ had to clean the kitchen. I did not understand why my step-father did not like that I cooked but encouraged (or coercively forced) my sisters to cook and be in the kitchen in preparation for being a good Cuban wife. It bothered me that my uncle and cousin put pressure on me to have many girlfriends and be macho; while my sisters were strictly and sternfully told to be pure like the Virgen Maria. A lot of these messages I internalized but was painfully confused; I was lost and caught between a world of latino machismo forcefully engrained into me by my family and an inner sense of not wanting to conform and luchar for my true self to be affirmed and bienvenid@.
If the church and my latin@ roots still struggle with gay and lesbian forcing them to fit into the binaries of male and female with no room for variation, what will they do with those of us who transcend categories or binaries? It is a scary thing and I question where is GOD in this whole mess but I also know that GOD is in the in-betweeness.
-full reflection by delfinwaldemar at lucha, mi pulpito.