top of page

Advocating With Heart For Unity And Healing

Ellen Mennell is recognized when it comes to her work in Social Justice, Inner Healing, Awakening, Religious Deconstruction and Religious Trauma. She is CEO of Advocate of Soul, an online coaching business, an International Speaker, Women’s Circle Facilitator, the author of AS IS, Book 1 & 2, and the host of Advocate of Soul., on YouTube.

 
Executive Contributor Ellen Mennell

Every June, cities and communities around the globe come alive with vibrant colors, joyous parades, and a sense of unity and celebration. Pride Month is a time dedicated to honoring the LGBTQ+ community. It is a myriad of events that embrace diversity, promote acceptance, and celebrate love in all its forms. However, the shadow of opposition often looms, particularly from certain religious institutions that struggle to reconcile their beliefs with the principles of Queer equality.

 

 group of young people making fist bump as symbol of unity

As a Lesbian and a Spiritual Empowerment Coach, part of my work around religious trauma is advocating for my LGBTQ+ family by addressing the tension and ongoing challenges toward inclusivity. Pride Month is an opportune moment for me to reflect on my journey by sharing ways to bridge the gap between faith and pride.

 

Transforming the darkness of faith

During my upbringing in the Evangelical Christian faith, specific teachings known as the clobber passages inflicted immense heartache, as they were rigidly interpreted and exclusionary, shattering my identity and relationships.

 

Because there is a widespread belief within many Christian Churches that Queer relationships are sinful or morally wrong, it often leads to deep shame and guilt. This belief suggests our very essence is flawed solely based on our identity and who we love.

 

To keep the wolf from the door, religious bodies must acknowledge the pain and recognize how teaching self-rejection fosters lifelong internalized homophobia and shame, affecting a sense of worthiness for love and acceptance. Validating these core beliefs through humble dialogue is an initial step toward healing.

 

Another way to mend ties with the Queer Community is for religious groups to accept how their beliefs can alienate families, causing heartbreak and isolation. Rejection from loved ones hurts deeply. I must stress this point. Addressing abandonment and isolation in a safe, unconditional, and affirming manner can pave the path to forgiveness and healing.

 

We have all heard of Conversion Therapy, but what is it exactly? Conversion therapy is a harmful form of talk therapy, supported by certain religious groups, that aims to alter sexual orientation or gender identity using discrediting and dehumanizing methods. In my experience within Christianity, this involved:

 

  • Leaders cite the Bible in private sessions to label being gay as sinful.

  • Coercing me to recite statements denouncing my sexuality.

  • Undergoing prayers akin to exorcisms to "cure" my homosexuality.

  • Being asked to resign from ministry positions.

  • Publicly confessing and repenting for my sexual orientation before the congregation.

 

Given that Conversion Therapy exacerbates feelings of self-loathing and internalized stigma, it is paramount for the Queer community to have the liberty and platform to voice their resentment towards this practice. Instead of leaders brushing aside or denying the harm caused by coercive pressure to heteronormative standards, they can help alleviate shame by fostering loving, safe, and affirming dialogue, which prevents further damage to our mental and emotional well-being.

 

What often goes unspoken is how coming out can lead to losing a religious community. This severing of support amplifies loneliness and feelings of being adrift and disconnected, creating an overwhelming sense of mourning for relationships that were once central to our lives. When religious leaders talk about creating a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community, they must guide their followers to transform condemnation into celebration.

 

Sacred harmony is possible

True allyship within religious communities must go beyond Pride Month, however. Many of us who identify as Queer are asking for leaders and followers alike to:

 

  • Listen to our stories and educate yourself on our struggles.

  • Speaking out against homophobia and transphobia places tools of justice in our hands.

  • Advocate for Laws and policies that protect our rights, ensure equality, and act as places of safety for all.

  • Create Welcoming Spaces whether at work, home, or in social settings.

  • Offer Mentorship for Queer Youth so they Thrive in life.

  • Implement educational programs and training for religious leaders and congregants on Queer issues, emphasizing empathy and respect.

  • Do collaborative projects that unite religious and LGBTQ+ groups

 

All these things are doable and cultivate sustainable unity, a concerted effort on both sides of the conversation. It should not be up to religious groups to come together first, any more than it is up to the Queer Community to lead the way. Both are needed.

 

Debunking is in order

To encourage cohesion, myths must be dispelled that hinder harmony. In Evangelical Christianity, I encountered the Choice Myth, wrongly suggesting that being Queer is a lifestyle choice. Another prevalent belief was Faith Incompatibility, implying that Queer and religious identities contradict each other.

 

The Queer community also holds myths about religion. Some assume all religious institutions are inherently hostile to Queer individuals, overlooking diversity within religious communities. Similarly, there is the notion that religious beliefs are rigid and resistant to change, ignoring progress in theological perspectives. Overall, the belief persists that religious institutions resist LGBTQ+ inclusion, overlooking efforts by many to embrace diversity.

 

Ignite the journey: Unite for progress

As we elevate Pride Month by acknowledging the celebration and the collective pain, let us not stop there. When we embrace inclusivity on both sides, we are strong as allies and nurture a well-rounded understanding between the religious and Queer community. This powerful force is not just envisioning a better world you are actively designing it. We are creators after all. Let's pave the way for a future where unity is the norm and love and acceptance reign supreme.

 

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

Ellen Mennell, Spiritual/Empowerment Coach

Ellen Mennell, a trail blazer for Freedom, believes compassion, love, and understanding is key to healing our planet. This led her to live in more than 20+ nations leading humanitarian efforts around Social Justice. These experiences shaped Ellen’s life forever and gifted her with a diverse way of thinking, living and being. Overcoming Life’s challenges and Spiritual awakening led her to abandon decades of religious fundamentalism. Her journey has inspired others to rise into their own power. Ellen’s coaching strategy, writings, speaking events, and inner healing work gives permission to people everywhere to live from their own truth, by walking their own path, and by saying YES to what stirs their soul.

Comments


CURRENT ISSUE

  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04

CHANNELS

bottom of page