I woke up this morning to the news that the years and years of hope and activism for marriage equality has been supported by a majority of US Supreme Court judges. Unitarian Universalists, 5000 of whom are gathered at the UU General Assembly, are celebrating.
I was having breakfast with UU administrators when we listened to President Obama’s speech to mark this victory. I cried when he began a recitation of so many ways people have made brave choices over the years. Particularly, I cried when he mentioned coming out to parents.
I remember when I was not out to my parents and they thought my partner was simply my best friend. I remember when another lesbian encouraged me to let my parents know so they could make the choice about how to respond. As long as I didn’t tell them, they had no choice and no chance to know their daughter in her fullness. I hadn’t thought about that.
In his sermon last night at the Service of the Living Tradition, Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, told us he was shocked when one of his parishioners, a staid middle-class white man in his 60s, confessed to him that one of his spiritual practices is speaking in tongues. The man had kept this secret from his fellow Unitarian Universalists for over thirty years. Rev. Lavanhar named this a coming out story. And indeed it is.
Coming out is a practice of love – love for ourselves and for the people we come out to. To come out to our families, our congregations or our society at large about our particular “queerness” is to risk a deeper connection. To risk showing up as our full selves. To risk letting those we care about make their own choices about how to grow.
Let’s do more of it! Beloved Community depends on it.