Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-07-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Activist/author Urvashi Vaid keynotes DignityUSA event
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2019-07-07

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Attorney, author and advocate Urvashi Vaid gave a keynote address at DignityUSA's three day conference, "True to the Spirit, True to Ourselves," July 6 at The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago. ( DignityUSA is a national pro-LGBTQ Catholic organization. )

Vaid is a longtime activist in the LGBTQ movement and is currently the president of the Vaid Group, a social innovation firm working for equity, justice and inclusion.

DignityUSA board member and Dignity/Boston member Peggy Hayes introduced Vaid and spoke about her influence on the international stage.

Vaid spoke about the ways in which Dignity has helped LGBTQ Catholics over the past five decades navigate their faith in the face of resistance by the institutional church leadership.

"My focus today covers three areas," said Vaid. "A personal reflection on faith and liberation; where we find ourselves as a movement in terms of what we won, the unfinished business and this cultural moment we are in and where we go next."

Vaid joked that because she was raised as a Hindu in India it makes her a pagan and apostate in the eyes of Christians worldwide.

"I am one of those heathens that my beloved spouse and partner, Kate Clinton, the recovering Catholic, was asked to pray for every Sunday during Mass," said Vaid. "'Pray for the pagan babies,' she was told. Little did she know that her prayers for one would be answered."

This drew uproarious laughter and applause from the more than 300 people in the room.

Vaid said she has always viewed her political activism as an act of faith even though she did not have a religious practice, a fact that bothered her late mother. She explained that there is a difference between religion and faith and being spiritual is more interesting than any tradition.

She said emigrating to the United States in 1966 and moving to a small upstate New York town when Vaid was 8 made her an outsider and that, she explained, was revealing to her. She said that an outsider's perspective has informed her entire life's work.

"Alongside the experience of being an outsider, this formative experience of being an immigrant taught me that migrating and leaving everything you know behind to seek a better life for oneself and one's family is a deep act of open-heartedness and faith," said Vaid.

Vaid decried the Trump administration's inhumane and violent conditions and treatment of the human beings who are imprisoned in for-profit camps because a "vicious, opportunistic, loathsome, immoral, monstrous, slimeball …decrees that it must be so."

Activism and faith in change was also shaped by two encounters Vaid had with Catholic tradition—attending Catholic school in India where she was taught by Carmelite nuns and discovering liberation theology in college, including reading theologians like Gustavo Gutierrez, credited as a founder of liberation theology.

"Gutiérrez … proposed that there are three levels or dimensions of liberation—material, internal, and spiritual … and that the true measure of spiritual life was to be found in praxis or action for social justice," said Vaid.

According to Vaid, the LGBTQ movement is an example of the principles of faith and liberation in action.

"The advocacy arms of our movement have worked to enable each person to find well-being and emerge from material conditions of suffering caused by inequality and discrimination," said Vaid. "The service and cultural arms of our community have worked to strengthen our inner sense of freedom, and overcome self-hatred and shame as well challenge as intra community prejudice. The faith-based arms of our movement have built alternate churches, theologies, spaces and movements within each faith tradition despite massive persecution and repression."

Vaid spoke about LGBTQ movement advances across five dimensions—legal equality, cultural respect, material or lived equality, inclusion, power and freedom and self-determination. She noted that LGBTQ people have only won partial legal equality, gains have been uneven and transgender and gender non-binary people, people of color and people living in poverty have not benefitted as fully.

"Cultural progress has been great because of marriage equality and Kate always says it 'turned outlaws into in-laws,'" said Vaid.

Vaid noted that 37 percent of U.S. residents still say that sexual relations among same-sex adults are always wrong, and an indicator that they still see LGBTQ individuals as immoral. She also analyzed the history of the backlash that is still happening in the U.S. Vaid cited a number of individuals to discuss the alliance between evangelical white Christians, the religious right and the Republican Party—from Nixon to Reagan to both Bush presidents to Trump.

"There is an intricate connection between racism, sexism and religion," Vaid argued. "We have to face it and organize against it especially in this country."

Vaid said many white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump—whom she called a candidate without any moral or Christian values because they fear they are being displaced and losing cultural control. She discussed her theory of how a form of toxic masculinity is fueling the white nationalist movements, and urged LGBTQs to speak out about the danger and limitations of traditional forms of masculinity and femininity from our feminist and non-binary gender perspectives.

The current political climate does not leave Vaid in despair. Instead, she said she sees a vital role for Dignity and faith-based organizations in this moment, to provide the moral compass for liberation. She urged Dignity members to continue to love and support LGBTQ Catholics, be an outspoken moral voice on gender and sexuality and a witness for social justice in society, work for those who are the most vulnerable and persecuted and organize with other progressive faith-based groups and leaders.

Vaid called this moment the most exciting time for progressive politics in her lifetime because of the organizing that has emerged since 2016.

"I refuse to give in because I have a stubborn optimism," said Vaid.

A Q&A session followed.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Welbon invited to join Motion Picture Academy 2020-07-09 - Local Black lesbian filmmaker Yvonne Welbon was among the 819 artists and executives invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and ...


Gay News

SCOTUS provides exemption for religious schools from bias lawsuits 2020-07-08 - On July 8, the U.S. Supreme Court ( SCOTUS ) ruled seven to two in favor of two California religious schools that argued ...


Gay News

Bisexual actress cast as new lead in 'Batwoman' 2020-07-08 - God Friended Me co-star Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new Batwoman, succeeding Ruby Rose, who exited the role after the end ...


Gay News

Chicago church that hosted historic same-sex event demolished 2020-07-08 - Following an extended effort to save the building, Misericordia Homes recently demolished the former Chicago Town and Tennis Club/Unity Church building at 1925 ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Paris Jackson, GALECA nods, Halle Berry, Jennifer Holliday 2020-07-07 - More than 274,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to prevent the distribution of the indie film Habit, which critics say is "Christianophobic ...


Gay News

WORLD African country's pro-LGBT move, Pride marches, lesbian singer 2020-07-07 - In a landmark decision on July 6, the Senate of Gabon voted to decriminalize same-sex relations with 59 votes in favor, 17 against ...


Gay News

Chicago Sky hosts 'Unapologetically You' Pride virtual panel 2020-07-02 - In honor of Pride month, the Chicago Sky held a virtual panel "Being Unapologetically You" June 23 focused on success stories from three ...


Gay News

Rev. Stan Sloan to leave Family Equality 2020-06-30 - The Rev. Stan Sloan—who, at one time, led the local organization Chicago House—will step down as CEO of the national group Family Equality ...


Gay News

Lighthouse hosting virtual Black Queer Pride on July 3-5 2020-06-30 - On July 3-5, Lighthouse Foundation will host a virtual Black Queer Pride in celebration of the organization's first-year anniversary. The organization aims ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Athlete/ex-servicemember dies, Stonewall Inn, Pride attendees arrested 2020-06-29 - Angela Madsen—a member of the LGBTQ community whose remarkable life included a spell in the Marines, several medals ( including a bronze in ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.