Inspire! Topic: Celebrating ALL Love

February 9, 2019
Celebrating ALL Love

Last month we talked about Racism. Turns out racism and hetero-sexism have a lot in common. In both cases we start out as newborns being open and loving and accepting … and then society starts to imprint on us its own theories, perceptions, and cultural norms.

Last month we talked about Racism. Turns out racism and hetero-sexism have a lot in common. In both cases we start out as newborns being open and loving and accepting … and then society starts to imprint on us its own theories, perceptions, and cultural norms.

This is where those cultural norms started to be imprinted on me. This is my family and I. This is where my loving mother told me in what she thought was a loving directive: To hate the sin and love the sinner. I, like my mother before me, had the luxury of growing up straight and cis-gendered, meaning I identify with the body I was born with. I grew up experiencing heterosexual privilege.

This is where those cultural norms started to be imprinted on me. This is my family and I. This is where my loving mother told me in what she thought was a loving directive: To hate the sin and love the sinner. I, like my mother before me, had the luxury of growing up straight and cis-gendered, meaning I identify with the body I was born with. I grew up experiencing heterosexual privilege.

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My heterosexual and cis-gender privilege actually started before I was even born and for most of my life, I didn’t even know I had it. Privilege is usually invisible to the people who are granted it. People in dominant groups often believe that they have earned the privileges that they enjoy or that everyone can have these privileges if they work hard enough. But privilege is unearned and it is granted to people in dominant groups whether they want that privilege or not.

In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups.

In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups.

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As a heterosexual, I had the privilege of never having my own sexuality questioned. I never had to “come out” and announce my sexuality to anyone. And I grew up surrounded by examples of the kind of intimate relationship I would one day want for myself. When I got pregnant, what question did everyone have? That was 26 years ago. What’s the first question we ask today when we learn someone is pregnant?

Boy or girl?

Boy or Girl brings a whole set of assumptions with it – from clothing to toys to nicknames. It hints at what kinds of activities a child might enjoy and what career they may pursue. It tells me what kinds of life transitions they will face and how I will relate to my own child over the course of time.

The experience of privilege means that usually those assumptions play out pretty much the way we expect them to.

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But that isn’t the case for 4.5% of the population living today in the United States. People who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. People who have no legal protection from discrimination on a federal level or in the state of Michigan. People who can be legally prohibited from attending the school that the wife of our Vice President works at.

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People who are forced into gay conversion therapy and told, sympathetically, that their lifestyle choice will lead them to hell. But being gay isn’t a choice and the LGBTQ community has far too often been the victim of violence – both physical violence and spiritual violence. When people arm themselves with the weapon of misinformation that perpetuates intolerance and preserves heterosexual privilege, the fruits of their labor are suffering, self-hatred and wasted gifts.

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I know I have become more and more aware of my heterosexual privilege over time and I expect to learn something more about it today. I invite you who share my privilege to do so, too.  For our reflective exercise today…

We then wrote our thoughts on a Post-It not and placed it on the wall.

We then wrote our thoughts on a Post-It not and placed it on the wall.

Then, we take the time to further the conversation among small groups…

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Many Thanks are needed for our Inspire! Event on Celebrating ALL Love…

Firstly, our panelists were great! Thank you to Justin, Autumn and Margaret for sharing their experiences!

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Thanks to Amanda Schwaninger for being our Guest Musician!

And of course, we can’t forget to thank Marco’s Pizza in Spring Lake, for providing us with food for our lunch at each of our Inspire! Events.

We also say thanks to this month’s Underwriter, the Author and Sex Minister, Barbara Lee!

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Stay connected to find out about the Actions Steps and Resources that were discussed at this month’s Inspire!