Dear Friends,

You are loved. Each of you — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, gender-queer, gender fluid…Beneath whatever identities you claim or do not claim, beneath whatever labels may have been placed on you or hurled at you, there is an individual who is a unique and valuable aspect of creation.

While some of you may experience a lack of support from your family of origin, condemnation from a religious paradigm, or even slurs from shallow-minded bullies, please don’t let those painful moments steal your resolve to be who you are and to find joy in this life. There are people out there (and members of religious institutions out there) who will love you just as you are, whoever you are, and wherever you are on your journey. May you live fully into your authentic self in a world that is not always kind to difference. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “for nonconformity, the world whips us with its displeasure.” While we’ve seen major improvements in the tolerance level of diversity in the United States, we know there’s still quite a way to go before aspects of an ideal culture of inclusion, acceptance, hospitality, kindness and love will be realized. The current “real” culture, while it is much improved in the last several decades, frequently offers us messages that reflect quite the opposite of the aforementioned aspirations. Many of us have experienced the “displeasure” that Emerson wrote about so long ago.  We’ve experienced it in a world that has historically marginalized us and in a country that continues to do so in many areas. In the face of prejudice, discrimination, ignorance and sometimes even hatred, it takes great courage and fierce resolve to move forward, but you have those things; you have that courage. You wouldn’t have made it this far without those qualities.

Take time to appreciate your own beauty. This minister’s prayer is that our world will move forward at a quicker pace toward equality for all people. Imagine walking into a room and bringing all of who you are and being altogether welcomed! May it be so, my young friends, may it be so.

Rev. Comer