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  • Writer's pictureMetta

Queer liberation theologies

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

The next part of exploring the topic of liberation theology for the Queer Liberation Theologies of Latin American, Asian, and African Contexts course taught by Dr. Hugo Cordova Quero was to explore this question: What is queer liberation theology? I think one of the most important points is that we should use the term queer liberation theologies. And in that starting point of theologies, not describing any group of individuals that identify as queer or transgender or gender non-conforming as a monolith.

One way to begin with stepping away from the monolith is to de-center the voices of American and European white scholars on this topic. American/European white voices can end up dominating academic discussion, and then provide all information from a limited lens. When discussing other cultures (without even bringing in queerness) there is often a limited colonized lens interpreting other people's cultures, rather than centering voices directly from those describing their own experience that exist outside of American/Canadian/European white experience. Depictions and expressions of queerness and queer cultures are very dominated by American/European whiteness. It is important to remember that transgender, gender queer, two spirit, gender non-conforming, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, gay, and all other identities beyond cis-gendered and heterosexual, also exist within the positionality of each person including (but not limited to) race, economic location, ability/disability, gender inequity, age, and global location. Societies and cultures have different ways of viewing what sexuality is, what gender is, and have different relationships to gender and sexual variance. Further the impact of colonialism and organized Christianity introduced by colonialism has a complex interplay with organized religion, control, power, racism, patriarchy, and capitalism, which further impacts individual queer experience.

Is there anything that could be considered at the core of queer liberation theology when taking into account this complexity of positionality globally? I had to think about this. The one thing I came to was the following: being accepted, as is, in connection to one's faith. Being accepted by one's God or Gods or spiritual framework, without question or demands. Not being put in the position of feeling that one has to change, be different, beg for forgiveness, for being born in alignment in nature as a Queer and/or Trans person. Being held in acceptance and kindness by ones congregation or spiritual community. Not tolerated, accepted. Being able to be in community with other queer and/or trans people. Not asked to conform to someone else's culture or understanding of gender or sexuality.

In this course we focused mostly on Christianity, and linked this back significantly to liberation theology of Latin America. Many queer people globally are considered outcasts, and live under the threat of violence and even death. Jesus was a supporter of outcasts, those left behind by their communities. Jesus had love for all. Jesus is often shown as the shepherd. Watching over with care and compassion for his flock. I think of psalm 23, a message and prayer or support and protection, there are no exceptions in that prayer, there is only support and knowledge of being held and watched over. Queer theologies are not limited to one faith. As a Unitarian Universalist, one of our core tenets is the inherent worth and dignity of all humans. As a Buddhist I do loving kindness prayers, wishing well being, safety, and ease to all beings. No one excluded. In Buddhism, Quan Yin is the Goddess of Compassion. She has been shown over time in many different gender representations, to me is therefore also gender queer, and simultaneously being the divine mother. She has 1000 eyes and hands, and in each hand a tool useful for assistance. She hears the cries of the world. There is no one left behind in her compassion, no one left alone. No one left out based on gender or sexuality. No need to arrive begging for forgiveness, or drowning in shame, in hopes of being offered support. She is there, and is listening, and holding us all.

For the course, we read a series of great articles by queer people globally on the topic of queer theology. I thought this lecture by Dr. Patrick Cheng was powerful in covering many concepts around queer theology and I highly recommend it as a way to begin:

And here is a link to more articles by Patrick cheng:

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