Pride by John Erickson

When we come together, we are the Divine.  I didn’t think I could experience that twice in one year; clearly, I was wrong. 

If you’re anything like me you not only hate opening up your Twitter feed each morning but also feel compelled to in order to make sure you didn’t miss whatever new atrocity to come out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. After the Women’s March, I felt charged. I felt that whatever this administration threw at the proverbial “us,” I knew we could and would overcome it. Although that charge kept me going for a few months, there came a time where I just couldn’t go on anymore and that I was completely drained; then walked in a man named Brian Pendleton.

After the Women’s March on January 21, I didn’t know what to expect. The event was truly so successful that many of the organizers and coordinators were on an activist high as a result of what was a truly magical and divine moment. A few months came and went and the 45th President of the United States continued (much to our surprise) to be as awful as we all knew and expected. However, while I am able to exist in a world, no matter how oppressive, as a cisgendered white male and the full on privilege and power that comes along with that territory, many of the individuals and communities being attacked did not have those same freedoms; and like with the Women’s March and how that all took shape, in walked Brian Pendleton to my life to talk to me about the #ResistMarch.

Cover PhotoAlthough my involvement during the 120 days or more that led up to the #ResistMarch happened in a flash, one thing is for certain: miracles exist not because of divine intervention but because G-d places people on this Earth to make positive impacts. The beauty of the #ResistMarch was not just the passion of the organizers but the beauty of the rainbow that came out in full force on June 11

The strength shown by our community was one that, for all intensive purposes, proves that love does conquer all. RuPaul couldn’t have expressed the common and conquering theme better than when he said: “It’s all about love; giving love and being able to receive love. That’s our secret weapon; that’s the one thing they don’t have: our love and our music. That is our activism. That is what we use and what we always use to fight the ugliness.”

That is the one experience that I took most out of the #ResistMarch: the power of love and friendship; the beauty in the unexpected conversation that leads to changing the world, again.  Thank you, Brian. Thank you, for bringing us all together to resist, recharge, and love.


When we come together, we are the Divine.  I didn’t think I could experience that twice in one year; clearly, I was wrong.

John Erickson is the President of the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women. John is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Religious History at Claremont Graduate University where he is finishing up his dissertation tentatively titled “Step Sons and Step Daughter”: Chosen Communities, Religion, and LGBT Liberation.” John holds a MA in Women’s Studies in Religion; an MA in Applied Women’s Studies; and a BA in English and Women’s Studies. He is the Founding and Past President of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s LGBTQA+ Alumni Association and currently serves as the Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Stonewall Democratic Club, a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. He is a permanent contributor to the blog Feminism and Religion, a Co-Founder of the blog The Engaged Gaze, and the Co-Chair of the Queer Studies in Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion’s Western Region, the only regional section of the American Academy of Religion that is dedicated to the exploration of queer studies in religion and other relevant fields in the nation. In April 2017, he was the first openly gay athlete to be inducted into the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference Hall of Fame. Most recently, John was one of the coordinators of the Women’s March Los Angeles, which brought together 750,000 people in downtown Los Angeles on January 21, 2017, and a Committee Member for the #ResistMarch, which brought together 100,000 people from Hollywood to West Hollywood in honor of LA Pride on June 11, 2017.






Old and Gay – Dying Alone and Rae’s Friends by Marie Cartier

MarieCartierforKCETa-thumb-300x448-72405A dear friend of mine is dying. Yes, the saying might be true—we all die alone. But we all are not necessarily lonely when we die. How can we die happy…with our self-respect intact?

We are all alone, born alone, die alone …I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness. —Hunter S. Thompson

Many of the women that I interviewed in my book Baby, You Are my Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall lived a closeted gay life. Their respect for their gay self had to be hidden in order to survive. It was how they respected the gay inner self—it is how they protected that self’s very survival.

Many of them, as many of us do, had friends that affirmed their inner identity even as it was hidden to a majority of the outside world. As they grew older, their friends (as many of our friends will do) died. That meant that the friends they had in the gay bars died holding the secret of their gay lives. Many of these women grew up into adulthood without the benefit of a community. For them “gay pride,” “coming out,” and even the word “lesbian” were not words they would ever use in their common conversation. Continue reading “Old and Gay – Dying Alone and Rae’s Friends by Marie Cartier”

Jesus, Mary and Joseph: Who Are Our Saints? by Marie Cartier

Tomorrow I will be going to a friend’s 7th grade classroom presentation of “famous people in history.” She has 120 students who will be dressing up as someone in history and doing a presentation board about this person—as well as dressing in costume. She asked me to come in costume as Frida Kahlo. As many of you know, I admire/adore Frida Kahlo and wrote a blog last year extolling her praises; actually it was a “valentine towards an ethics of loving women and art.” (And every year I dress as Frida and help a friend do a lively lotería game at an LGBT celebration of Cinco de Mayo at our Church.)

My friend told me that while there would not be a Diego Rivera in her crowd of costumed living historians—there would be Frida’s lover Josephine Baker (someone saw the movie Frida and knew Josephine and Frida were “friends”), and there would be several Guadalupes.

This got me thinking that for children/teens – especially children brought up in religious households (and especially Catholic households, of which I was such a child) – saints and real people are often conflated. And famous real people one admires often are given “sainthood” in one’s imaginary church. Continue reading “Jesus, Mary and Joseph: Who Are Our Saints? by Marie Cartier”

Over the Rainbow or…“Over” the Rainbow? by Marie Cartier

What are the dreams that we dare to dream today?

I was sitting with a young queer student from my Gender Women’s Studies class at the gay coffee shop in Long Beach, California. I offer this option to my students—meet in

Long Beach on Friday of finals week if it helps — realize that I teach in Northridge, so on a Friday afternoon this means perhaps a 2 hour drive to do this. But many students do it—this one student included. It happened that he made this trek on the first day of Gay Pride activities in Long Beach—the Dyke March was that night.

of Gay Pride activities in Long Beach—the Dyke March, marie Cartier, feminism and religion, stonewall
Marie with sister of perpetual indulgence—tippy tappy toes

I asked if he was going to any Gay Pride events while he was in Long Beach—perhaps even attending the Dyke March. He said, “I’m over Pride.” It felt like a game changing statement for a young queer activist.  I asked, “Why?” He said, “Why do I want to go somewhere and have someone try to sell me sheets or …a condo ….or buy pillows…it’s just about money, Professor. It’s got nothing to do with… what it was supposed to be about…?

I said, “Stonewall.” Continue reading “Over the Rainbow or…“Over” the Rainbow? by Marie Cartier”

%d bloggers like this: