About four years ago, I was conducting an online search for resources, mainly, spiritual or religious resources, for LGBT youths/students that offer authentic support to them. There were some organizations and places that I found that seemed genuine. However, there was one particular organization that caught my attention, and kept my attention, the most.
Soulforce is an organization that believes in nonviolent, passive resistance as a way to get things done on behalf of LGBT persons. Through activism, writings, and their forums, they help others to understand, and also offer active support for those who identify as LGBT, and assist those persons in their coming out. It may sound oversimplified, but it really is difficult for me to put into words how grateful I am for this organization, and the people that I met through it. Soulforce is a life preserver for many who have been damaged by others in the name of religion.
Soulforce, I believe, helped me to find my voice within the LGBT community. I always had a pretty clear idea since I came out who I was as a gay person. Even when I struggled with the coming out process, I kind of knew how I would turn out. However, Soulforce helped me to understand who I was within the LGBT community. It helped me to find out how to speak out, on behalf of my truth and the truth of us all. The need to find equality, the need to be treated fairly. The need to be viewed as beloved.
The need for justice.
But, Soulforce became more than an organization of support for me, more than an education in how to advocate, how to inform, how to protest injustice. Soulforce, by its meaning to me, means to fight injustice not with physical force, but with soul force. To combat inequality with love, compassion, understanding and awareness rather than fists, clubs and weapons. It means, meet those that oppose us with love, self knowing and peace, and seek to inform others rather than fight against them.
So, going to Washington two weeks ago, marching on behalf of myself, and millions of others, I carried the message and lessons and love of Soulforce with me.
Yet, there is more.
I made friends, many good friends, at Soulforce. Sharing stories, support and love. Meeting when we can. Sharing our joys, our sorrows, our peaks and valleys of life. So, a few of us were able to meet up in Washington, D.C. on October 11.
Here we are, after numerous texts to track each other down amidst 200,000 of our closest friends:
Soulforce, as a belief and an organization, has helped me to grow as a person. Has helped me to pursue justice in a more formalized way. I have known since I was very young that I would fight on behalf of those that are oppressed, I just needed to get organized about it. Better informed. Better able to focus my efforts.
Soulforce has helped me to do that. And, in the process, helped me to meet some lifelong friends.
I am eternally grateful for that.