“So what are you?” Unconsciously imitating my dog, I tilted my head to the side and stared at the minister. Was she really asking me this question?
It was the Together in Faith conference, the annual national gathering of spiritual LGBT activists, and I was surprised that, even here, many people seemed determined to box up their spirituality in two words. “Lesbian Christian.” “Gay Buddhist.” “Bisexual Jew.” “Transgender Pagan.”
Sure, it’s partially just for convenience’s sake – a kind of shorthand to give others an idea of whom they’re dealing with – but do we really have to reduce the complexity of our personal spiritual beliefs and practices to one or two words? After all, when pressed, most LGBT people identify as “Spiritual But Not Religious.” I think so many people identify as “SBNR” because they don’t fit neatly into a religious or spiritual category.
One may have been raised Southern Baptist and go to a Metropolitan Community Church, but also practice Buddhist meditation and yoga, want to investigate sacred sexuality and love to read Marianne Williamson. How can we reduce that kind of richness to just “Gay Christian?” That’s one reason we can give thanks for www.myOutSpirit.com, a new resource coming this winter for LGBT people of all religions and spiritualities. Instead of reducing your spirituality to two words, myOutSpirit.com allows you to revel in the complexity of your spiritual interests.
You can use the myOutSpirit Directory of LGBT Spiritual Resources to connect with “LGBT Spiritual Resource Providers,” what myOutSpirit.com calls all the LGBT-affirming churches, websites, retreats, yoga studios, books, ‘zines and magazines, conferences, life coaches, spiritual directors, etc. You can also build a dynamic list of your favorite LGBT Spiritual Resource Providers that you can post on your personal profile, blog or website to share your diverse spiritual interests with others.
myOutSpirit.com offers a new way to express your Out Spirit. Because the website is open to including every kind of LGBT-affirming spiritual resource, from any belief system, there’s no artificial limit placed on your spiritual exploration or identity. You can be everything that you are at myOutSpirit.com.
The site also has a more altruistic goal that you can help achieve: placing spirituality at the center of LGBT life, culture and community.
When you join myOutSpirit.com – whether you’re a spiritual LGBT person or an actual LGBT Spiritual Resource Provider – you help make spirituality VISIBLE in the LGBT community.
You must have noticed that today spirituality has no place in mainstream LGBT culture or media. Even the LGBT media only talks about LGBT spiritual people and beliefs when there is some controversy, some injustice. myOutSpirit.com aims to correct that imbalance through a member-funded advertising and public relations campaign that will keep everyone informed about opportunities for LGBT-affirming spiritual inquiry and practice, and that will hopefully get more LGBT people involved in spiritual exploration.
Almost all of the LGBT Spiritual Resource Providers who join myOutSpirit.com are already openly LGBT-affirming-some even advertise in LGBT papers and newsletters-but they still join myOutSpirit.com because they know doing so makes LGBT spirituality itself more visible. Of course these resource providers hope that their listings in the Directory of LGBT Spiritual Resources will attract more LGBT people to use their resources, but they also appreciate the big picture:
Increased visibility of LGBT spiritual beliefs, people and practices is good for the LGBT community’s well-being and politics as well as good for LGBT Spiritual Resource Providers.
As Harry Knox, Director of myOutSpirit.com member the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program puts it, “myOutSpirit.com is a resource the LGBT community has needed for years. People empowered by their faith tradition and practice make powerful advocates for justice. I am grateful for this new resource.”
myOutSpirit.com integrates our LGBT movement for social liberation with our movement for spiritual liberation as well as helping each of us integrate her or his different spiritual interests.
Another cool thing about the site is that you can earn extra money by helping to sign up LGBT Spiritual Resource Providers in your area for myOutSpirit.com membership. Like Whosoever, you can join the OutSpirit Partner Affiliate Program, post a banner on your blog, website or to your email list, and earn a commission whenever an LGBT Spiritual Resource Provider clicks on your link and joins myOutSpirit.com. It’s free and easy to become an OutSpirit Partner.
myOutSpirit.com will offer so many important gifts to the LGBT community:
- The myOutSpirit Directory of LGBT Spiritual Resources will help connect spiritual LGBT people with relevant, LGBT-affirming Spiritual Resource Providers;
- The project’s advertising and public relations campaign will give LGBT spirituality a presence in LGBT culture and community;
- Spiritual LGBT activists will be able to organize and take action for LGBT equality; and,
- myOutSpirit.com will make the multi-billion dollar LGBT market for spiritual products and services VISIBLE.
Are you ready to help place spirituality at the center of LGBT life?
Maybe then we can replace “So what are you?” with “Tell me about YOUR Out Spirit!”
Michigan native, author and activist Clayton Gibson wrote Shirt of Flame: The Secret Gay Art of War under the pen name Ko Imani and is the creator of MyOutSpirit.com and founder of QWELL Community Foundation in Austin, Texas.