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Spirituality In A Queer World

Some of us can feel estranged from religious institutions; reasons behind this can vary, but are predominantly based on internal struggles or external discrimination. Religion is often confused with spirituality, and although being spiritually aware is entrenched within many religions, it is important to note that it can exist without a religious institution.

Three members of the LGBTIQ community shared their thoughts on spirituality and sexuality, and how working in harmony with the two can help to dissolve inner conflict.

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MARK

Previous to connecting to his spirituality, Mark recalls being an angry, tormented person –

‘I used to do drugs a lot and I used to be really nasty. I had this dream that I had a spiritual rebirth I told my mum about it and my mum was like “Oh maybe you’re connecting with God again”, I just said “Okay whatever”. Now I see it as it’s a part of me as I’m a part of it so I don’t describe myself as a human being on a spiritual experience, I describe myself as a spiritual being on a human experience. To me I think my spirituality is really important. It defines who I am as a person.’

Although Mark believes in a higher power, he insists he is not does not belong to any religion – ‘Religion is set up in a doctrine where you have to follow a set of rules and there’s a lot of blood and guts, there’s a lot of war behind religion, where as I’d just say I’m spiritual.

‘I believe in the universe, the source, whatever you want to call it, whatever you relate to, it’s that one thing that we all go back to. It’s interesting because I have spirits and angels that communicate with me, so I know when I’m on the right path and what I believe is true to heart.’

When it came to coming to terms with his sexuality, Mark initially struggled, he discussed how discovering his spiritual identity aided the process, ‘When I came out I was actually quite depressed and suicidal and now that I’ve come to terms with my spirituality and my sexuality it’s actually really helped me’.

If you ask Mark what he identifies with more, the answer comes without hesitation – ‘I don’t see myself as a gay person in the community, I see myself as a spiritual being on a human journey’

JAXX

As someone who practices Wicca, Jaxx emphasis that there are religions out there that are encompassing of a heightened spirituality and diverse sexuality. Jaxx first became interested in the ancient pagan religion when she was sixteen, and has been following it since – ‘I don’t really think there is this omni power being up there puppeteer-ing everything I’ve always been more than an atheist or an agnostic but I always thought there was a little bit more out there.

‘For me with Wicca I like to identify mostly with the tri-goddesses, basically representing the stages of life the stages of earth’.

Identifying as pansexual, being encompassing of genderless love is something that resonates importance with Jaxx – ‘that’s definitely related to my religion, its more if all in love with a soul than a person or a personality, you feel connections to people. I guess I like looking for the connections so I guess my sexuality reflects off my religion.’

When asked about struggling with your sexuality Jaxx attributes to it the mentality of the majority – ‘I think the struggle I see is with the masses and what they’ve been taught and what they’ve been indoctrinated with. It’s unfortunate; I think it’s difficult for some people to bring that together because they’ve been taught for so long that that’s bad and against their religion and that kind of thing.

‘I would say searching for churches that are gay friendly is definitely the way to go, or realising that you don’t have be what you’ve been bought up as. I guess it’s a very personal experience.’

LUKE

Identifying as a complete atheist, Luke recalls becoming more in touch with his spirituality around the same time he came out. ‘I don’t know why but certain things started happening to me around that time, when I came out when I started to realize who I was, experimenting and all that. I think that’s when I started to click onto certain things. I was 18, now I’m 27.’

It was around this time that Luke started experiencing things that forced him to question a ‘higher spirit’. 

‘There’s been a few moments in life where I’ve not had “visions” but dreams that have felt a little bit more real and dreams that have led me in the direction of doing something or warned me about something. I’ve always been very interested in it, the more you listen to your intuition or your dreams the more it feels real.’

Although Luke thinks spirituality can help in the process of coming to terms with your sexuality, he doesn’t think they always go hand in hand.

‘Sexuality is not a choice obviously but I think religion is. People chose to believe certain things. I don’t think my sexuality has anything to do with what religion I should be choosing, I just think religion defines a person by making them live in these rules, living a certain way and if you don’t live a certain way then you’re not respecting of God… so I think it can make someone think they can’t live a certain way’.

Nadine Walker

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