Saturday, July 14, 2012

Opportunities to Listen

The times we spent at Integrity's information booth at convention was a great opportunity to hear amazing stories.  Stories of parental acceptance, of children and adults coming out, being shunned and thrown out of one's home church.  Of sad stories where some people didn't want to know their gay clergy; or church members, and believe they should leave their church.  Stories of wonderful work being done in the pews and in the parks by gay clergy, and trans members.  I quickly realized that each and every one these days at the booth would be very long days for all of us. Beginning our days at 0930 with morning service was one of my favorite morning time of re awakening and gather as a community to worship together.  The day would follow with our assigned times at the booth, where some of us stayed longer than we should just to 'get the work done', and them returning at 10pm that evening for sort of after-action-report of what went well, how to implement changes as they happen. And then walking back to our rooms where to fall into bed and read until we fell asleep, exhausted.

After morning service, I was rearing to get to the booth when the exhibit hall opened, to set up and be 'open for business'. Each day of the exhibit's opening I felt the Holy Spirit fill the hall, giving each of us their task of the day.  One proud mother gladly 'outed' her young son, once her daughter; and described the pain the felt of her child's changing life.  But recognizing the joy and happiness of her son once he transitioned.  Hearing our straight allies beg for material to start Integrity Chapters, to begin the process to become a 'Believe Out Loud' parish to wear that mantra of being a 'gay' church on their signs.

Hearing personal stories of one's brother or sister transitioning and not knowing how to help them feel welcomed and loved by the family; that was our joy.  To be able to share our story and give them web sites places to go and gather information and stories and support that was our joy for being present at the booth.

The TransEpiscopal booth was just behind and adjacent to the Integrity booth, and so while they were working with Deputies on the House floor, I (as a trans woman) was able to greet a lot of supporters and those with questions, searching for answers for most of the early days with the exhibiters.  While they were meeting and telling their stories, I was doing the same as a volunteer with Integrity putting a fact to the issue being debated.

For all trans persons to be recognized and thanked by Bishop Robinson in his address during the Integrity Eucharist; that was the Holy Spirit working in each and everyone of us here in this huge Convention center. That was my gift from convention, a gift I returned without strings attached.

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