Curated chat from Gathering Voices: 2020 vision

This is a selection from Zoom chat during the event. We have tried to anonymise the comments.

Seeing more queerly

Complicity through silence.

Churches have no idea what is going on or what is involved – never knowingly met a trans* person – so they think 🙂

A phrase that comes to me is that if our faith doesn’t make us better people then we would be without it then it is worthless at best Desmond Tutu-If you are neutral in situations of injustice,you have taken the wrong side

In the ‘why do we need to see more queerly’ session we talked about: equality vs equity, the limits of same sex marriage, the importance on understanding that LGBTQIA+ justice doesn’t end with LG justice, and the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ family. Why queer visibility matters in 6 words: real inclusion, real justice, real change.

its important to invite congregations to look at these matters. Many will not have come across trans or gender queer. I take very opportunity to speak to people in my congregation and the groups I’m involved with. Most are open to the conversation and every conversation is an opportunity to move forward.

It was the Church of Scotland that approved the ordination of queer ministers.
Unfortunately a lot of people left my church because the Minister agreed with the Church Of Scotland’s ordination of LGBTQ+ ministers. I still have to be careful about who I am out to in the congregation, to avoid another “schism”! However, my Minister is totally supportive, and often uses diversity as a theme in services.

On language

I think it’s very important that people consider the language they use. Personally I struggle with being referred to as an ‘issue’ and being described as ‘non conforming’. That’s the language of the majority which doesn’t affirm diverse minorities.

We are people, not “an issue”, and what exactly are we supposed to conform to? White, straight, patriarchal supremacy? It has the implication that only cis gender is acceptable And yet, reclaiming language to use ourselves is legitimate and important, its another tricky tension.

I agree – I love the word ‘Queer’ but I don’t think trans and non-conforming has been reclaimed

As a hetero sexual woman, I feel totally unqualified to even start looking at “neutralising” the language in our congregational publications. Where do we find help?

I meant I don’t think trans people have reclaimed non conforming but I accept that we all have different ways to describe ourselves and I’ve definitely never conformed in life

“An issue, an issue, we all fall down” – fantastic!

For myself I like the term non-confirming. I think we are whatever our sexuality or gender identity need to be true to ourselves non confirming to the expectations of other people

I guess reclaiming language is very personal to each individual. I didn’t start to use the term non-conforming myself until another person who identifies in that way did and I loved it.

There’s a difference between using a word about yourself and other people using a word about you because it can have different intentions

“I have confidential press conferences, you leak, he[/she] has been charged under section 2a of the official secrets act.” (

What is normal?

If I recall correctly normal means 90 degrees to the plane Normal also means ‘statistically common’, i.e. in the majority. That shouldn’t mean that being part of a diverse minority is a problem. More thoughts on normal – a “statistically normal” distribution may have larger number of items grouped around a similar value, it still has items that fall a long way from the centre point (the norm). So…. diversity itself matches the statistical definition of normal.

I would suggest that churches present notions of normal in order to leverage control. Few ‘families’ are normal or conform to norms

I think another point is that identity is not fixed – if someone identifies as male at one stage in their life, it doesn’t mean they can’t later identify as non – binary. The same goes for sexual orientation.

Safe spaces

We can never be sure about how safe a “Safe Space” really is – especially if we include opponents – how can we work with those who, in the end, do not really want to listen and learn – but find ammunition – for disruption and gossip.

There needs to be a place where we can discuss things free from bullying, controlling – sadly the church often is not such a safe place. Then we need to work to make it so, surely?

Especially in times like this with COVID- resources for support are so important.

And thanks

Hi my partner and I have enjoyed this very much. We have to go now. God bless you all X

This event has been revealing, helpful and affirming, helping me to be even more determined to press forward with our community, striving to be a genuinely inclusive church. We WILL get there, with God’s grace.

Thank you all for the whole event – inspiring and challenging

Thank you to the organisers and participants.

Please sing along at home again. the tune is fairly well known The tune is the Londonderry Air AKA ‘Danny Boy’

Thank you so much to everyone for this afternoon, and for all the planning, vision, passion and hard work which went into pulling it all together in these different and strange times!

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