For centuries, spiritual beliefs have been manifested by groups that have similar histories, cultures, experiences, and ethnicities. These groups have been using a variety of ways to address their spiritual needs. Such as workshops, retreat centers, self-help books, exercise, meditation, therapy, rituals, and more. LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, and many others like non-binary and pansexual) individuals also have a unique history as spiritual people. Also,
they have been manifesting their expressions of spirituality in powerful and healing ways. These expressions are today known as Queer Spirituality.
The term “Queer Spirituality” has had negative meanings attached to it in history, but today it is being reclaimed as something positive. Just like African American people have reclaimed the word ‘Black’ for themselves, LGBTQIA+ people have reclaimed the word ‘Queer’ for themselves. Also, more and more communities are embracing spirituality as a vital component to everyone’s faith and a source for social justice.
Spirituality is the practice of staying consciously connected with everything that makes us alive: God, ourselves, and others. Factors, such as Gender, race, sexual orientation, and being a part of a particular community, all impact and shape one’s spirituality.
On the whole, Queer Spirituality involves the process and practice of letting go of ideas about God, the Bible, church, family, sexuality, and our own bodies that are not true to an individual’s experience. What is most important is honoring and recognizing that these individual experiences are a source of revelation and can be trusted to point them to the Divine.
Throughout history, Queer people have been spiritually inclined and have been revered for their spiritual leadership across different cultures. The Hindu Sanskrit texts from medieval and ancient India prove that homosexuals and the “third gender” community not only existed in Indian society back then, but they were also widely accepted.
Queer people have played spiritual roles in tribal cultures as shamans, priests and priestesses, and go-betweens. The ten identified spiritual roles that Queer people have played throughout history are:
Queer people have also played a leadership role in the Western monastic tradition from the beginning of the Christian Era to the fourteenth century.
Also, the American Indian cultures respected the berdache and androgynous, cross-dressing people, who were considered neither men nor women and believed to be “two-spirited.” The berdache had important spiritual functions to perform within the tribe, such as healers, dreamers, visionaries, and mediators between the human world and the spirit world.
Because of prejudice and religious abuse, Queer people over time either rejected or lost the connection with their spiritual heritage. It is now time for them to look inside, do self-discovery, and reclaim their spiritual nature as priests and priestesses, prophets, teachers, artists, keepers of beauty, visionaries, messengers, mediators, and healers.
Today, more and more Queer people are embracing spirituality and practicing it in communities of faith like Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). So, Queer spirituality exists today, and because people live in a heterosexist society, Queer people will always be invited to claim their unique identity.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and are not intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments. Therefore, there is no intention to reflect prejudice in favor of or against any particular caste, creed, gender, religion, individual, community, or nation.
If you are an LGBTQIA+ individual looking to rediscover and live out your spirituality, then contact Poonam Dutta.
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