Queering Family, Purpose, and Religion
“Harmony in diversity will lead
us to evolve, lack of it will lead us to our demise.”
"L-armonija fid-diversità se twassalna biex nevolvu, in-nuqqas ta' dan iwassalna għall-mewt tagħna."
We as a human society have shamelessly been changing outdated discourses since the beginning of time. Thankfully with the creation of the printing press and onward we have been equipped to disseminate new thought discoveries. We are no different today disrupting the status quo for a better tomorrow. It is our responsibility to the human local and global communities we belong to, to continue breaking down social barriers that stomp mind and spiritual evolution.
LGBTQI human beings have been queering biological families since birth.
I can think of a time when I picked up my sister’s Barbie and Ken dolls, and started playing with them. The times when in the absence of my mother, I would pick up her heels and run up and down the halls of the house. I enjoyed hanging out with my female cousins. I felt safer knowing that we shared common interests in games, toys, and cartoons on TV (among them Jem! and the very ambiguous, gender-fluid, Knights of the Zodiac).
Somewhere along the way, as an LGBTQI person, some might have been told not to play with “girl” toys, and scolded when caught wearing clothing culturally-gendered female, dancing next to another boy at a classmate’s birthday party, or smiling too much (boys not only do not cry, boys do not smile much, if at all). These are just a few examples on the endless list of gender norms pushed down the throats of children. Along the way one’s queerness got shut down, locked away and trapped in shame. As an LGBTQI child, one may not have had that much freedom to stand one’s ground, and speak up. That may have resulted in anxiety-fueled ticks (lip biting, face pinching, etc.) - the byproduct of suppressing attempts of self-expression during formative years.
Today, adult LGBTQI individuals have the power to continue queering families - biological, chosen, and the ones that some might be forming with romantic partners.
That begs the question, how does one queer family? Understanding that most of the island has and continues to be heavily influenced by conservative schools of thought, it is important to release long-held resentments and angst. Ironically enough, by starting with the source, biological families. Some of the tools to embark on this meaningful exercise is: tapping into courage, and most importantly into compassion and kindness.
A concrete example would be to openly talk about aspects of one’s personal life. Anything ranging from the locales one frequents, music that impacts one’s day-to-day, individuals that one would like to pursue romantically or otherwise, to the victorious encounter while out and about during the weekend. Sharing queer stories is a powerful weapon to identify commonalities in human experience.
Acknowledging biological family members have impacted one’s thoughts, self-perception, words, and actions makes sharing queer stories critical. These stories are to be shared openly, shame-free, and not concerned nor intimidated by potential resistance from family members. There, it is where tapping into compassion and kindness for oneself and them come into play. Surrendering the closet with courage and unleashing one’s queer stories will free the words that will shape the needed work ahead. Words have the power to invite others to find similarities in human experience, and at a super-conscious level to pave the road to translate compassion and empathy-filled thoughts into actions of understanding, changing communities positively.
Ultimately, a newly discovered higher consciousness from breaking away from the residual resentment, angst and anxiety that one’s queering suffered during formative years will transform one into the glue that will hold one another in the LGBTQI community together - gradually society at-large.
Through research gathered on what it means to be Maltese and understanding reluctance from older generations to accept a multi-dimensional Maltese identity, creates an imperative for LGBTQI individuals to break away from that limited, antiquated mold.
Being an LGBTQI person does not erode being Maltese. On the other hand, perpetuating outdated, ignorance-fueled cultural constructs from colonial-times and religious rhetoric does decay the evolution of what it means to be Maltese.
Members of the LGBTQI community do face discrimination. All LGBTQI individuals shall be therefore committed to ending the struggle forced upon their community at-large. There is the need to move in unison. Not understanding the multi-layered identities of the queer community is the venom that continues to keep Maltese LGBTQI individuals from coming together and play their role in cultivating equality. Equality starts within the community in order to change a society.
Whether one is an LGBTQI club goer, dating/hook up app user, open relationship endorser, social drinker, or an every Sunday churchgoer, monogamy practitioner, married with human children or pet parent, and wherever one is in the political and self-expression spectrum. LGBTQI Maltese are queering every experience no matter how it manifests in action in every day breathing activities. Every activity one engages in, provide purpose to life and it is important to bring them to the forefront to enrich, improve, and create a healthy, united LGBTQI-community.
At last, but not least, Queering Religion
Understanding that historically Malta has been heavily influenced by the Catholic Church and Christian tenets, it is no surprise to see and experience the repressed emotions of a people that have lacked a healthy relationship with an institution that has negate them safe spaces for self-expression and self-fulfill-ment.
Religion does not belong to one set of people. From a spiritual standpoint regardless of precedent or tradition, mental ignorance, one has the right to appeal to supreme reason beyond prescribed doctrine that one is image of the Most High (spiritually) and ergo we are all the same. By establishing this higher plane of consciousness, LGBTQI individuals are in their full right to queer religion.
Being Maltese, LGBTQI, and associated to a particular community of faith are not mutually exclusive. Spirituality freed from man-made limitations allows for everyone to tap into freed consciousness and foster a sense of community and practice our responsibility to look after each other’s well being. When one allows ignorance of mind to be active, one allows apartness to creep in. LGBTQII individuals ought to transform their thinking to a higher consciousness and translate it into action to uplift and help one another reach one’s unique understanding of self-fulfillment.
My question to you is this: Will you bring a sense of higher consciousness to your every day life to queer up and break social barriers affecting our LGBTQI peers? OR perpetuate ignorance of times long past?
Catalyst. Mindful Nomad. Advocate. Pure Essence.
Henry is a social researcher, and fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish. He is a public relations veteran, creating magnetic, distinctive brand identities and building relationships for organizations and individuals. A multi-local globalized citizen. Get in touch with Henry if you are in need of innovative, though-provoking content.