A few months ago I got an email from another minister in the area named Bobbi Becker. I didn’t know her at all, but she had heard of me and wanted to invite me to a meeting she was organizing of local clergy around GLBTQ issues. You see, she herself was gay and had moved here to Orange County, with her wife and daughter. She had been rather nervous about moving here since Orange County had a horrible reputation in the greater GLBTQ community. Only what she found was a great deal of welcome! Sure, there were issues, but she realized that she had bought into the hype that the more conservative churches had put out there about how unwelcome she and others were in this area. And she wanted to change that.
A dozen or so clergy, including myself, showed up. More wanted to be there, but trying to get 30-40 clergy to come at any one time is a rather hopeless cause. I made it a priority. It was fabulous! Great energy and comradery over how to change the tone here in OC. Over the last few months, we’ve come up with a name "KaleidescopeOC, an alliance of faith leaders affirming the GLBTQ Community;" written a letter of affirmation to be published; and joined the new OC Pride Parade on June 25th. We’re looking at creating a "safe space" curricula for business who want to outwardly support the queer community. No longer do only some churches set the tone for who is welcome or not welcome in Orange County!
I can’t tell you how excited I am by this group! There is energy and passion, GLBTQ and allies coming together to build a better Orange County. Already we’ve been approached by groups asking for support, particularly around trans youth. There is much be done, but we’ll be damned if we let others say who is or is not welcome in Orange County!