The Executive Director of MC USA Wept

ervindumdumDear Ervin,

So sorry to hear about your weeping. Truly. It sounds like you’ve come to some very painful and difficult realizations.

I’m wondering though – did you mean to send this to everyone? Was this an unintentional blog post that was meant to be an e-mail? Perhaps you meant to send this to friends and family to ask for support in this awful time, when you’ve realized just how much harm and violence you’ve done, how much you’ve overseen, how much you continue to do.

That is completely understandable. Of course you’ll need that.

And don’t be embarrassed – we’ve all sent something to the wrong person or replied all by mistake. Usually it makes for a funny story later.

Just to be clear though – you weren’t asking queer folks to provide you with emotional support for your weeping? Nor the broader church? You weren’t looking for us to open up our arms and hold you while you cry? You weren’t seeking out sympathy or empathy or comfort or awkward back pats?

Because in the conversations I was a part of, seeking a response from the church, we weren’t looking for you to bring us your emotional burdens. Reading that sentence, do you see just how backward it is? We were looking for the historic peace church MC USA to condemn the violence against queer folks, to condemn Islamophobia in our queer names, to take accountability for MC USA’s theology, culture, and community practices that engender and enact hate and violence toward queer folks – especially and most of all queer People of Color, and to commit to concrete changes.

Do you understand the difference? Truly. It’s a question. Do you understand that this is a moment for you to turn to your family, friends, and community for your personal grief and pain? And it is a moment for you, in your role as Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA, to condemn violence, take accountability for your personal as well as the broader church’s role in it, and to name the ways the church will do better in the future.

Would you like to try again? We’ll be waiting.

Best,

J

Telling Stories

Hey queerios and folks working to be in solidarity. I did a Vlog! A guest vlog with MennoNerds! Check it on out.

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State of the Movement

Below is the address I gave at the Fabulous, Fierce & Sacred event at the end of November, 2014. The concept of brave spaces is not mine. To learn about Brave Spaces in-depth, check out this article.

My beloved community members. My queer folks. My gender queers. My lesbians, gay folks, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, trans folks, intersex, two-spirit, gender variant, androgynous, butches, femmes, studs, third gender, multi-gender, genderless, single folks, partnered folks, and folks in solidarity with us, those my limits have failed to name, and names we have yet to find together:

The state of our movement is sacred. The state of our movement is fierce and it is fabulous: look around you! Are we not fierce? Are we not fabulous? And the state of our movement is brave.

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