We are exceedingly grateful to have received the caring guidance & thought-provoking leadership of Rev. Adrian White & Rev. Jessica Vazquez Torres. Together they have facilitated a rich dialogue around what it means for our church to be Open & Affirming to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Rev. White led an exploration of common LGBTQ “definitions”, along with the importance of using gender-inclusive pronouns, which reflect how we want to be respected in our identities. If you missed the conversation, this overview of terminology may be of interest. They also asked us to consider inclusion within the lens of our church community. They offered key questions, such as: “What does it mean for us to be inclusive, and how do we define “us”?
Rev. Vasquez Torres provided us with an overview of intersectionality. Beginning with the work of Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, discussion focused on the ways that intersectional biases inform decision making, which then impacts individuals and groups within our community in disparate, and often harmful, ways.
We recognize 4 key implications of intersectionality:
- If we can talk about intersectionality, then we need to talk about intersectionality – a lot.
- Conversations around intersectionality engage the framing of the society we desire.
- Intersectionality forces us to consider issues from multiple points of view, to shift away from single-issue advocacy. We begin to recognize the ways that one element of an issue is impacting another.
- For example: We cannot adequately discuss the issue of homelessness without also considering the issues of affordable housing, access to mental health services and the fact that certain populations are more directly, and disproportionately, impacted by homelessness than others.
- Intersectionality requires diverse representation. It challenges us to move beyond overly-simplistic debates and shift away from single-person advocacy.
- For example: A debate of homelessness needs to include organizations working on issues that intersect with homelessness, those working directly to support the unhoused population, and members of the homeless community. All are brought to the table – and heard, and participate in the work of building new systems.
In the coming weeks & months, we will continue to discern where these rich conversations are guiding us as a congregation. Join us as we work to build consensus around the essential question: “How do we, The Downtown Presbyterian Church, nurture belonging for all of God’s children?”