Wednesday 16 March 2016

Coming Out Ritual available on the Web

In 2006, when I was a Lay Chaplain with the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, I had the honour of creating a ceremony to celebrate the transition of members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gendered, Queer (LGBTQ) community.  This may be a transition to a different gender, or a public declaration of who they are as a queer person.

In western countries, and Canada in particular, society has come a long way in its understanding of LGBTQ matters, and some are already moving beyond "tolerance" and "acceptance" to a point where a person's orientation is an innocuous as their eye colour.  There are those among us, though, who still experience (or worry about) oppression, rejection, alienation, shunning, psychological or physical violence.  Marking their new life with a celebration is a way for that person to take control of something that seems negative, and turn it into a powerful, emotional, and positive event.

This came about when I heard about my friend Seamus' coming out many decades ago.  His parents celebrated with a party, and gave him information and contacts with gay people to help him with his transition.  I was struck by how different his experience was from most people in decades gone by, that it gave me the idea to create a celebration, using time-honoured tenants of rituals to help mark this momentous occasion.

The template for this ritual is now available online for the world to use and share.