In this occasional series, the Saint Mark's Queer in Christ ministry will be highlighting the voices of LGBTQ+ members of the cathedral community.
How you found Saint Mark's
After a two-year period of identifying as bigender, my egg cracked on Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2021. The day your egg cracks is the day you realize you are transgender.
In light of such a transformative experience, I desired to find an accepting place to celebrate Easter. This was doubly hard to do in person at the time, due to the pandemic. After some Googling, I found out that Saint Mark’s was having an outdoor sunrise service. I was terrified, but so excited, to spend my first Easter as my true self. Everyone was so kind and welcoming, and Canon Jennifer King Daugherty sealed my interest in Saint Mark's when she made a point to make sure I knew I was welcome here.
I have since formed so many beautiful relationships in our church, and I know someone will always be there for me if I need support. The women of the church were so quick to claim me as one of them, and that was so important to me during the early parts of my transition, especially after feeling so isolated during the pandemic.
Why the Queer in Christ ministry is important to you (perhaps even in a church/denomination that is already accepting and inclusive)
This ministry is so important to me because it opens up a space where queer parishioners can freely talk about their gender and sexual identities with other Christ followers.
Within the nave, you don't want to assume someone else is queer without first knowing them, and conversations are generally more vague and less personal. This ministry allows us to meet other queer congregants and to really encourage each other and get to know each other. There is a lot of anti-religious sentiment in the queer community, so it's very nice to be there for each other and know we aren't alone.
A reflection on the intersection between your sexual orientation/gender identity, and your faith as a Christian/Episcopalian
I was raised in an Evangelical faith tradition that taught homosexuality and being transgender is a sin. From a young age, I felt like I should have been born a girl, but I had no idea I had any options other than having another side of me exist in the deepest secrecy.
I met someone who completely opened up my mind and heart to the queer community, and this eventually allowed me to explore myself fully. When I realized that I am a trans woman, I knew I couldn't live any other way from that point forward but I was afraid that I would have to practice my faith by myself since I wouldn't be accepted in church.
Being unconditionally accepted by Saint Mark's and the Episcopal Church has meant the absolute world to me, and has helped me to foster a much stronger faith of hope and love, instead of fear and guilt. This acceptance has helped me to thrive in all facets of my life and has caused me to have the desire to give back through service. I have a particular yearning to serve the queer community and to show other trans and queer people that they too can have a spiritual home