Via Rebel & Divine- National Coming Out Day

Dear fellow UCC’rs

In an ideal “Norman Rockwell kind of world”, parents are healthy and emotionally engaged, children thrive and families foster stability and acceptance. Folks have a sense of who they are and are comfortable in their own skin. 
We all know that reality can paint a much different picture. Sometimes being comfortable in your own skin and honoring “who I am” brings one into conflict with the religious and social norms of one’s family of origin. It takes tremendous courage to take a stand for one’s self especially when that stand results in the loss of support and safety from one’s family. 
This is a familiar scenario for too many of our LGBTQ young adults. Tammy wishes she could come out to her parents but is, through issues of disability, financially dependent on them. She writes, “If they knew [my sexual identity] it would not be good!” It is not a safe place to be.
Another writes of how he wished he was one of the lucky few “whose coming out was a moment of pride, happiness and joy and whose parents were ready to love their child unconditionally.” Instead he found himself among the majority who, when his sexual identity was discovered by his parents (a fact that he tried to keep secret from them) was disowned by his family of origin. His coming out was “celebrated with an overdose of sleeping pills and pain killers”. 
Both young adults have had to create a “family of choice” noting that “family is not always blood relatives”. Rebel & Divine is part of that family of choice for them. This is, in part, why we do what we do. What we do is develop relationships by: 1. sharing a Sunday Dinner together; 2. providing a safe space to shop for clothes that reflect one’s gender identity through the “I have a Dream” clothing Boutique housed at First Congregational UCC in Phoenix; 3. providing a place to explore their spirituality through Sunday night programming in conversations that in many families originate around their kitchen tables. 
October 11th is National Coming-Out Day. Please keep in prayer all those for whom “Coming-Out” endangers/(ed) their safety and well-being. Also, prayerfully consider making a donation to Rebel & Divine UCC so that we can continue to provide a “family of choice” to those who need it most. 

Kelly Kahlstrom
Moderator Rebel & Divine UCC