Saturday, May 19, 2012

I in for Inclusion

It never fails to amazing me when I shuffle through my Rider deck I always find a card to illustrate the topic of my post. Over the years I have appropriately use a single card for a variety of topics. As they say Context is King. Given that the general topic of this post is LGBT, I had no problem selecting the Ten of Cups based on the prominent rainbow and the happy traditional family, but on a whim I decided to make a slight alteration to the scene. I like to think of it as an advocacy poster for the LGBT Magical Community. 

A few weeks back I received an email inviting me to a gathering of community religious leaders to hear Dr. Caitlin Ryan speak on The Critical Role of Families in Reducing Risk & Promoting Well-Being for LGBT Children & Youth. Dr. Caitlin founded the Family Acceptance Project. The event was held at the Congregation B'Nai David (Jewish Temple). I was honestly surprised to be included on the list of invited religious leaders and don't exactly know how I got on the list at all.

When members of our Tradition act, perform or appear publicly as representatives of our Tradition, we have a dress code. So I attended in uniform. It is common to be mistaken for a Catholic priest, but while socializing around the refreshment counter someone asked if I was from the Armenian church. I said no, that I was from "Mill Creek" And the nice lady whom I have never met said, "oh you must be Chaplain Nichter, right?" Someone else said, "oh aren't you the Wiccan priest who does the prison ministry?" Shaking hands, I confirmed this, and another person told me that he thought it was really good that I was there. I still don't know any of these people, or how they know me, but I was happy to be known, and very happy to be included.

The talk Dr. Ryan gave was both academically impressive and emotionally persuasive. She spoke about (homo)sexuality and sexual identity in children. Not about when they came out as an adult, but about how they began to realize they were different both before puberty and when they first started having those special feelings. This usually takes place before the age of ten. She spoke categorically about how the families reacted, and then statistically about the relationship between family reactions and suicide rates. She spoke about the critical difference between acceptance and support. She spoke to conservative religious leaders about how to support without condoning or condemning. This was a big issue and a great discussion. It was a great speech from a great speaker and I was honored to be included.  Two of our four children are gay, and it was sad to hear that my wife and I fell into the smallest category of responses: complete acceptance and celebration.

I have always admired our Pagan community for being so inclusive to LGBT, it has always been such a normal presence at all our events and I am very proud of that. But seeing and hearing how adversarial so many people are, I realized how awesome we are as parents and how awesome we are as a Pagan community.

Thank you Lord & Lady for including so much diversity. Blessed Be.

1 comment:

Anxfisa said...

I LOVE it! I want that card for my deck!