Okay, we don’t see headlines like that much these days. With the Stock Market falling over 700 points and lots of fear and uncertainty, I feel pleased to report some good news. 🙂
Yuki Choe, a transgender woman in Malaysia has experienced her own financial crash in recent weeks. People have contributed from the US, Malta, the UK and Australia and helped her through the most immediate crisis. She writes on her blog,
I have an unusual feeling today. I suddenly am able to pump some petrol into my car, reload my almost out of credit handphone and fix my two pair of shoes at the cobbler. I also finally went to the clinic to check on the bruising blood clot I got on my right thigh since a month ago.
Now she has the means to get to work and take care of the essentials. She is not out of the woods yet. You can find out details about her story and learn how you can help when you visit her blog. Dollars and Euros stretch a lot farther in Malaysia than they do in the States.
Last week the Soulforce Equality Riders also faced a major crisis. In speaking directly with Jarrett and Katie, the organizers of the rides, I heard first hand out they nearly had to cancel the whole venture when a major donor pulled out in order to put his funds into the election. They also are not out of the woods, but the rides will go forward for now.
According to Ex-Gay Watch (XGW) Liberty University agreed to let the riders come on campus and meet with students. In the comments section at XGW Emily K writes:
What I can understand: That a gay person would share the same kind of conservative Christian beliefs as a straight person, exempting the conservative beliefs regarding homosexuality. However, beliefs on women preaching, abortion, divorce, speaking in tongues, the status of the unbaptized, whether people are “saved” – these beliefs have nothing to do with people’s sexual orientation, and I can understand a gay person taking conservative stances regarding them. I can understand wanting to attend a school that shares these conservative religious stances, to be around people who believed as they do.
What I cannot understand: Attending a school such as Liberty University if one is gay, where such a poisonous attitude toward LGBTQ folks exists.
I think I understand her concerns, but I don’t believe it is that simple. The LGBT folks who attend schools like Liberty do so for many reasons. Some because they want to minister in their churches and get an education recognized by the churches they attend. Without these credentials, the doors close (and when they find out you are LGBT the doors slam in your face!)
When I went to Nyack College, I did so because I wanted to become a missionary AND I didn’t want to have to deal with being gay. The oppression around me rotted me from the inside. I chose Jesus over being gay, or at least I tried. I needed someone to come on campus to help me see through my confusion. Sadly the only people talking about LGBT issues at Nyack when I attended were ex-gays. I needed to hear a different story.
These Equality Riders do so much for the whole community at the school. Mostly straight folks will meet them and hear their presentations. Most of the administration will turn a deaf ear, but these young students, the future leaders of their churches, communities and Christian schools, will get all kinds of new information. They will see Christians who also happen to be transgender, lesbian, bisexual and gay. They will also meet people in the Equality Rides who are not Christian and who have a passion for social justice and morality (something that seemed foreign to me when I went to Nyack College and believed we had the monopoly on morality).
Who knows what LGBT people already exist in the lives of the students who attend schools like Liberty and what LGBT people will pop up in their lives on their jobs, their communities, churches and even in their own families. We need to address the spiritual violence against LGBT people in churches and schools in the US and elsewhere. The Equality Riders get to face that violence head-on and respond in love, truth, non-violence, clarity and sanity. In when that happens, the world changes bit by bit.
To send a donation to the Equality Riders, go to the Soulforce site.
Today I head off to Vancouver, BC. Ooo, I’ve always wanted to visit that city and the surrounding areas and thanks to Doris Kizinna from the United Church of Canada I will be there for a little over a week doing some shows, workshops, etc.