You know, the thought(s) occurred to me while driving to work…”queer” individuals (I use “queer” for the sake of brevity) serve an important spiritual purpose for humankind. One includes expressing the profound courage it takes in order to be authentic in the face of adversity, hatred, ignorance, and violence. We all desire to be authentic, to be free and flowing, and queer individuals are exemplars of this desire and action. Courage is an inspirational contagion, and it incites others–queer or “conventional”–to face their fears and reach higher, to let go of things that are no longer serving. This antiquated notion that being queer is synonymous with being “weak” or “deranged” is just that: antiquated, and, well, just plain bullshit.
The second spiritual purpose that queer individuals serve–I’m sure there’s tons more–is that of raising the collective consciousness of humankind, so we can transcend social/cultural/religious worldviews and narratives that oppress, divide, stratify, and denigrate certain groups of human beings–which is, by its very nature, anti-spiritual and anti-human. Queer individuals (those who are “different” from convention), by their very self-expressive existence, provide a certain forceful energy that breaks down oppressive paradigms, and this, of course, liberates not only queer individuals but humanity as a whole. Remember, what oppresses queer individuals can also oppress non-queer people (“You’re acting like a girl.”) With increased compassion, awareness and openness, we can conceptualize paradigms that honor the dignity and value and beauty of a diversified whole, and create a culture of safety and respect so that people can be free to explore who they are and choose how they want to express themselves.
In my office, I encounter many queer individuals who feel paralyzed, lost, worthless, lacking in purpose–especially in the context of the current political climate. I validate their feelings, but I also encourage them to see their potential to effect change, internally and externally, and how that might imbue their lives with a sense of meaning, purpose and esteem. We either choose the role we play, or act out someone else’s role for us. Spirituality is all about looking at things creatively, seeing opportunity, reading between the lines, and making empowered choices that benefit not only the self but all of humanity.