Team Pick: Queerituality Wants Your Queer Feelings About Spirituality, Is Traveling To You!

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.

queerituality

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.

Jessica Easter, photo by Amanda Rice for Queerituality.com

Jessica Easter shared her story with Queerituality.com
photo by Amanda Rice

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.

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 267 articles for us.

22 Comments

  1. I wish this was travelling Australia!

    As a Christian-identifying queer I always find it really special to connect with others who also fall into these two categories, because so few people in my life do and so I often feel like I’m inhabiting a space that not many people simply ‘get’. Projects like these are very affirming. Thank you Autostraddle for featuring it – it’s great.

    Ps. When I come to A-Camp in a few years, I would really really love to help run a faith morning / multi-denominational service on the mountain sometime.. I think that would really something. Even a multifaith event with a whole bunch of queers would be extraordinary, I think. Maybe I’ll email you about this in a few years to hear all your feels about it but yes. Just something I’ve thought about.

  2. Wow, this is so great! Being queer and religious is sometimes hard, because people make this assumtions that you can’t be both, and then you have to defend yourself and your views all the time. But this seems like a good project to throw some light upon the subject, and hopefully make people understand that it is perfectly possible to be a queer person and also have a religious belief. Wish I could contribute, but I guess Norway is a bit too far away…

    • Kristin, why don’t you go ahead and volunteer anyway? I’d love a reason to take a work-related trip to Norway. Even if I don’t get there soon, perhaps there’s an opportunity to include skype conversations, or an essay from you.

      TL;DR: Get in touch!

  3. LOVELOVELOVE!

    My heart skips a beat when I hear about other religious queers. Sometimes it’s lonely and scary and frustrating trying to be a queer woman and a Catholic at the same time, but I spent waaaaaay too many hours as a kid altar serving, hanging out with clergy, singing in choir and learning about my faith to let a cold welcome get between me and MY church as an adult. Lol, sorry Catholic Church, you did too good a job inculcating a sense of faithful duty, responsibility and belonging in me. You’re stuck with me for good, now.

    • Agreed! I left the Catholic Church when I was young, but after my first communion and confessions and several years of PSR and Sunday School and Mass. I still find myself saying “Hail Mary…”

      If you haven’t already volunteered to share your story, I hope you will!

  4. When I have a spare minute I am SO submitting to this. My spirituality and sexuality are tightly linked in a lot of ways, and I think it’s incredibly important to explore those intersections. Queers have a place in communities of faith too! And it’s initiatives like these that are helping to emphasize that, so major major kudos to Mandi.

  5. This is really interesting. I’m not religious myself, but I always like to see people finding a home for their faith and religion. I know so many people have a ton of trouble with it.

  6. This is awesome! It’s so important to shed light on LGBTQ people of faith so that more people are aware that it is completely possible to have a healthy, queer identity AND a healthy relationship with the God of your preference. Although I am not religious, my girlfriend is a proud Cuban, Catholic lesbian. My respect for her beliefs has opened my eyes to the tendency of the queer community to overlook or even exclude the people who are the most vulnerable to attacks from religious groups: queer people being rejected by the very religions and/or religious communities and organizations that serve as an integral part of their life experience and identity.

    For future trips, I would love to see Queerituality venture deep into the “Bible Belt” in the Southeast, and into the likes of rural Georgia where both my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of growing up. 🙂

    • Hi Katie! I’ll actually be coming through the South on my way back to Boston… AL, MS, TN, VA… maybe other stops along the way. I’ll also be in Atlanta in October, and DC in August. I hope you’ll suggest a stop where you are, and spread the word to others in your area! I grew up in Missouri, and my family is almost all south of the Mason-Dixon, so I’m very aware of the ways that geography influences this conversation.

      If you need the link to suggest a stop, it’s queerituality.com/suggest-a-stop

  7. When I came out to my muslim mom in a grocery store when I was 12, she remained calm but told me not to tell my queer feelings to my devout catholic dad for fear that he might send me somewhere holy to “de-gayify” me.This happened the day before last.

    Being a muslim, catholic, and being as young as I am is very difficult becuase people tell you it’s just a stage and God/Allah will somehow de-gayify you.Also, being a 9th grader in an all-girl catholic school with people who think it’s awesome to have a gay friend but when actually told that their friend IS gay and and appears in the chapel everyday…they tell me that
    I must really be damned for praying but still not be”cured”, as if it were a curse.But I still thanked God/Allah for helping me accept myself.I think in my opinion that even though that the bible says thay gays burn in hell, then why was it so good to be free and having the feeling that you are special becuase you belong in this community which is hated and supported?

    I don’t know, I’m still young and naive but I think that there is always a way with religion 🙂

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