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Reclaiming Religion and Building Queer Church

As a professional queer and social justice advocate, I never thought I’d want to champion the side of faith. Sure, I was raised Catholic and took to it like a fish in water. I was the first girl altar server in my small town off of Cape Cod. As the only biracial Chinese/Polish family, and my father’s Buddhist practices, I guess you could say my family and I always had our own interpretation of devotion, community, and religion.

Like far too many LGBTQ+ people, I had a brutal and painful falling out with the Church when I came out. Try as I may to leave it behind, my life is still shaped by my upbringing in organized religion, and, surprisingly to me, there are benefits this continues to bring me. In my town, the Church was integral to the community. It wasn’t just a stuffy old building led by angry, homophobic men. It was a community center, brought to life by the people engaging with it and the shared calendar we honored built with rituals we returned to each year to mark the passing of time.

Of course, this message is NOT brought to you by the Catholic Church. I am not an advocate for Catholic Church, and I’m fairly certain they’d revoke my queer, sex-posi self as a spokesperson.

What I’m advocating for is our right as queer people to a spiritual practice. What I want is a chance to reimagine Church, religion, and faith-based communities that are rooted in the understanding that LGBTQ+ people are divine beings, living as intended.

The church we can build centers the blessing of queerness, rather than working towards a day or a month of gay. I don’t want patchwork “inclusion” stuck into an outdated, white supremacist, colonizing, hetero-sexist system. Our church honors LGBTQ+ bravery and skills of looking inward and trusting our own intuition, our bodies, hearts, and minds for how we build love and connection. Our doctrine tells that living this truth is the first step we have all taken to awakening our inner spiritual selves. It honors that we have already felt a calling and answered.

I’ve been an organizer since I was 18, creating brave spaces, affinity groups, and queer community events. I feel called to create a new space for healing. I want to bring LGBTQ+ folks together to delve into the intersections of queerness, sexuality, and spirituality. Let’s see what rituals and practices we can co-create when our expansiveness for connection, our deep knowingness of ourselves, unfettered by societal norms or even the families we were born into, are the centered root of our beliefs and traditions.

I want a spirituality that isn’t afraid to be called faith. I’m an Aries, Capricorn rising, and I need structure. I want a religious community again, this time filled with people who understand the deep connection between sexuality and spirituality, between beliefs and magick, prayers and spells. One that worships the divine feminine in any body. I want to honor the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, sex-worker, Apostle and Goddess, and bring a social justice lens to the ways that the failable cis- white men who founded the Catholic Church took Jesus’ teachings away from his truths as a middle-eastern, anti-consumerist, radical activist.

Let’s build new Sunday traditions and witchy rituals timed with the moon’s phases. Who says we can’t incorporate Buddhist principles and Pema Chodron’s wisdom, fused with tarot spreads and an understanding of the guidance of astrology well beyond sun signs and stereotypes? Let’s reclaim a space for faith and spirituality in our lives exactly as they are, and explore together what healing, self-care, and rooted community we can create.

Bex Mui is a queer, cis femme, biracial, social justice advocate. Build with her on Instagram @HouseOfOurQueer.

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