I offered a didactic on ‘LGBTQ+ Health in Spiritual Care’ during my recent CPE Unit. Do you know what I discovered?
There were hardly any credible pastoral care/spiritual care resources for LGBTQ+ people.
I wasn’t surprised. Saddened, but not surprised.
As I sifted through what little I could, I began to realize once again that there is practically nothing specifically for bi people of faith in Canada. Bi-erasure and invisibility are hard at work. Since health outcomes are prone to be more detrimental for bisexual people than those of straight, gay, or lesbian people, I felt it was imperative that some support begin to take shape.
Being bisexual or pansexual or attracted to people of varying genders or being gender-queer ourselves, we’re often dismissed or shunned by people in the LGBTQ+ community. We’re not “gay enough”. Sometimes the accusation of “straight privilege” comes out, whether it’s justified or not, and is used as ammunition to prove that bisexuals are really straight people looking for a sexual high. It’s difficult to cope being erased or condemned by a community already damned by the larger cultural milieu.
Along with that, being people of faith, we often find ourselves in communities that refuse to affirm LGBTQ+ people in their faith traditions. Faith and spirituality are vital aspects of any human being. These aren’t shut off if someone identifies as LGBTQ+. So trying to find healthy faith space can be like fighting hell itself. Unfortunately, with the rap spirituality and religion often get in the media, there is often condemnation from non-religious/non-spiritual folks (both straight and LGBTQ+) about choosing to walk spiritual or religious paths at all.
This isn’t about winning. It’s about living and thriving as who we are where we are.
So a few friends and I have started an online group for bi people of faith. The content is largely focused on Canada, but we do have members from outside of Canada. It’s a place to find articles, discussions, support, conversation, and spiritual practices.
If you’re reading this and feel that you could really benefit by being a part of such a group, PM me — Erin Thomas — and I’ll add you. It’s a secret group — nothing that’s posted there gets posted publicly, and no one is under any obligation to share more than they’re comfortable with (coming out stories included). We, the admins, really want there to be some bi support, a coming together of people of faith, and some substantial and real bi visibility.
You could be “out” and living your life to your fullest; you could be sort of out to a few people; you could be not out at all. You could feel that all’s right with the world; you might feel the need to work on yourself; or you might feel the world’s crashing in (or all of the above at the same time). You could be a student, a plumber, a clergy person, a stay-at-home-parent, or a business owner. You might be a person of colour, an indigenous person, a refugee or an immigrant. You may struggle with other intersections of your identity — race, age, religion, mental or physical well being — and how these, too, may have been silenced or abused.
We hear your voices and hear your power.
We are all welcome.
See you soon.