Vanessa’s Team Pick:
I’ve always been fascinated by the space where queerness and faith intersect. The intersection seems to be such a specific feeling or experience or calling for every human, and it is really important to me that we make space in our community for queers who have had positive experiences with religion and faith as well as negative ones.
In an effort to open the conversation about queerness and faith, yesterday I was able to introduce you to Jackie, one of my close friends from high school and a proud queer Christian who embarked on a difficult journey to find her faith. Well excuse the cliché but when it rains it pours, because thanks to Jackie’s profile I learned about another way to continue this particular conversation.
Mandi Rice, creator of the Queerituality project contacted me yesterday to inquire about being featured as a Straddler On The Street and to tell me all about Queerituality. I haven’t even had time to write her back yet (hi Mandi! I’m gonna get back to you, I promise!) but I had to drop everything and let y’all know about her awesome project because it’s happening right now and you guys should get involved.
Queerituality is a collection of portraits and stories from LGBTQ people about their religious journeys and their spiritual lives. Queerituality records the stories of people who identify as LGBT or queer (e.g. gay, transgender woman, bisexual, same-gender loving, dyke) and were raised religious or spiritual, or identify as such now (e.g. devout Muslims, atheists who were raised Christian, Pagans, Jewish Buddhists, and those who are spiritual but not religious). The project is touring the country now, and… is still looking for more voices join this conversation. If you know of someone who fits… please recommend them to be interviewed.
According to the website’s FAQ section, Mandi herself is a queer-identified person with a Catholic dad, a Presbyterian/Methodist mom, a Jewish step-dad, and a Quaker education. She’s originally from Missouri and Indiana but recently relocated to the Boston area, and now she’s driving cross-country recording stories of queer people of faith.
Check out the Queerituality website to see a preview of what Mandi’s interviews will bring – it looks like only two full interview have been posted thus far, but there are teasers for 10 additional stories, all of which look like they’ll be compelling and thought-provoking. The absolute coolest part of Queerituality is that it’s in its infancy, so if you yourself happen to be a queer human who is also a person of faith, you can contribute and add your voice and you will really and truly be heard.
Mandi began her first leg of this journey on June 12 and will be touring the upper midwest through July 15. She’s already hit Philadelphia, PA and Richmond, IN, but she’s got many more stops planned and it seems like she’s open to adding even more. You can see the detailed itinerary here, and if you want Mandi to visit you but don’t see your city on the list feel free to let her know.
If you want to know even more about this project you can check out the Queerituality blog or its Facebook, and if you’d like to contribute financially you can contact Mandi directly at queeritualityproject [at] gmail [dot] com. I’m personally very excited to watch this project grow, and I’m wondering if maybe I should share my voice on the subject. I suppose a not-very-religious queer Jewish dyke may have a thing or two to say about Queerituality… and I’m certain many of you do, too.