During the first half of July Q Center will host an exhibition created by our friends at Basic Rights Oregon called “Coming Out as a Person of Faith”. The exhibit highlights stories of LGBTQA people and their spiritual journeys within their inherited or chosen faith traditions, and their expanded understanding of what love, commitment, and the significance of marriage can be. The exhibit was created to support the Marriage Equality campaign, and is slated to travel to congregations and community venues throughout the state.

Please join us at Q Center on Thursday July 11, 6:30 to 8:00 PM for a public opening reception for the exhibit.

Religious faith remains a controversial area for many of us LGBTQ folks. Many of us have had painful experiences with religion in our formative years. Many of us received messages that made us feel less than equal, less than human, less deserving of the love of god. Many of us are still recovering from the damage of these early wounds. Some of us never will.

Others of us remain steadfast in our spiritual beliefs, finding solace in the inherited teaching and wisdom of our faith. Those of us who are people of faith say that we cannot separate out our belief any more than we can separate out our sexuality or gender identity. Religion remains a fundamental aspect of our identities and our lives.

In a perfect world, none of this would matter. All of us in our Rainbow Coalition would respect and honor the religious beliefs of every one of us. And all religious people would recognize that all LGBTQ people are children of god and therefore deserve the same dignity and, yes, Civil Rights as any non-LGBTQ person.

Sadly, we know we do not live in an ideal world, so we must continue to work toward a better one.

Within our Rainbow Coalition we must recognize and honor the diversity of our beliefs and faith traditions. The LGBTQ community must be a safe place to be out as a believer.

Within our religious traditions, we LGBTQ believers must live fully out and open lives. We must show our fellow believers that we too are completely deserving of the love of god and the respect of our peers. We must change hearts and minds within communities of faith and convert skeptics (or worse) into Allies.

On the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA and Prop. 8, let us recognize that people’s world views are shaped by their religious beliefs, and that if we are to achieve full Civil Rights for all LGBTQ people, we must continue both to grow our capacity for inclusion of religious faith in the LGBTQ community as well as expand the capacity of religious people everywhere to recognize us as brothers and sisters in god. All this will take time, persistence, love, and maybe even the divine intervention of any or all of our gods.