Today is Christmas. It’s the day when christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one who came into the world to welcome the marginalized, overthrow the empire, and bring us all to wholeness.

 

This year I am spending Christmas with my family for the first time in several years. I love my family dearly but this trip is always fraught with tension and stress. My mom has refused to tell my siblings about my transition and so everyone uses the wrong pronouns for me. There is an undercurrent of shame throughout some of our interactions and I have trouble not internalizing that shame. I’ve been taking time in the evening to jump on twitter and reconnect with people who understand and to remind myself of who I am. But it has been hard to feel like I can only bring part of myself to the table. I can’t talk about my ordination, I can’t talk about the work that is dearest to my heart, I can’t even talk about my love of Catholicism because that’s not the “right” kind of Christianity.I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day_thumb[4]

 

Today I need to hear the following and I offer it to all of the people who might be in the same boat. Know I stand in solidarity with you and offer you love and support and these words:

 

You are amazing. You are a beloved child of God. You are worthy of love and respect. You are fabulous. Your queerness and/or trans*ness is NOTHING to be ashamed of, in fact, it is something to be celebrated and treasured.

 

Your spiritual path is your own and if you find meaning in it, that is enough. Even if your family says you are a heretic or sinful, those words don’t apply to you. If you can, let them roll off your back and embrace your journey. Know that your path is wonderful and blessed.

 

You have nothing to be ashamed about. Your families’ unwillingness (or willingness) to accept your identity or spirituality has nothing to do with you. Their shame is their own; don’t let it make you feel ashamed of yourself. Hold your head high, be proud of who you are. Look in the mirror and call yourself beautiful or handsome or whatever word feels right to you.

 

Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Tweet at the dinner table, sneak off to connect with chosen family on Facebook, send a text message or make a phone call. Be kind to yourself. Don’t let the ugly thoughts in your mind make you feel badly about yourself.

 

I love you.

 

 

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