Dear One Who Has Not Yet Come Out,
During Pride month, it can seem like everyone who is LGBTQ+ is out except you. And this can hurt your mental health like nobody’s business. I get it. And, you are not alone. In fact you are so very not alone…
As you search for every link on the internet for resources and community…
As you comb through your facebook feed looking at your out friends with envy…
As you wonder if the you you know inside will ever be the you that others know…
Know this: You are God’s beloved in whom God is well pleased. God made you in all your grit and glory, glitter and gaiety. So take your time. Your worthiness is not dependent on your out-ness. Coming out is different for all people. And, as many of us learn, it’s often not just one part of your identity you end up coming out about. So, take a deep breath (or 10) and lean on the everlasting arms of a God who knows the true you. And when you’re ready, and it feels like the right time for you– know that I, as a Pastor, celebrate you. And, God does too.
To make it through this month, when your beloved queer mental health may be suffering, try some of these tips:
Light a candle where you are. Your own Pride candle. To reflect the Divine and holy spark within you that makes you uniquely you.
Pull out your art supplies. Or just magazines and glue or tape. When you think about what queerness means to you, what do you picture. Can you make a collage of the image? Put that someplace you’ll see it all month.
In your own way, in your own space, claim a bit of whatever queerness you may have thought wasn’t yours to claim until you were fully out. You know what I’m talking about– the bowtie, the heels. Claim what is yours, dear one.
Get a therapist that you think will be safe to come out to (whenever that may be). If you need help finding a therapist, look to queer resources in your area to find one that is recommended.
Reach out to a local (or online) LGBTQ+ Pastor. We are here to remind you that God loves you in the totality of who you are.
Beloved one, remember that God’s call in your life is not a call despite who you are. God knows your whole self and calls that whole self to discipleship. Stand brave in that knowing.
If you’re feeling like you need to talk to someone about feelings of hopelessness or suicidal thoughts, reach out to the Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 .
In Love and Solidarity,
If you are an ally: please remember that part of intersectional justice is remembering that LGBTQ+ people exist in any space you may be a part of. Help the wellbeing and mental health of queer people through making it clear that you are an ally, safe to come out to, consistently educating yourself, and advocating for queer rights. As we fight to proclaim together that Black Lives Matter, pay close attention to the ways in which you can be an intersectional ally through support of black LGBTQ+ people, particularly Black trans Women, often subjected to violence and brutality in our country. Allyship is an everyday commitment. Show up for us, please. In doing so, you make it safer for people to come out.
Rev. Megan Snell (she/her)
Rev. Megan Snell, MDIV, DMin Candidate, is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, currently serving as Clinical Spiritual Advisor at Recovery Centers of America in Danvers, an inpatient drug and alcohol recovery center. Prior to this position, she has served as Pastor of several UCC churches in the Boston metro area. Throughout her ministry, Rev. Megan has officiated weddings, baptisms, and memorial services in the wider community.
Rev. Megan is a Doctoral Candidate at the Pacific School of Religion, studying the intersection of mental health conditions and the Christian community. She holds an MDiv from Andover Newton Theological School. She will be starting a PhD programme at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland in Practical Theology in 2021.
Rev. Megan also lives with chronic mental health conditions. She writes, teaches, and preaches regularly on the topics of mental health, mental illness, and faith. Rev. Megan writes for and serves on the Board of Directors Executive Committee of the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network. Megan is a board game nerd and hiking and Krav Maga enthusiast. Her family lives in the Boston area and they share their life with numerous dogs and chickens. To connect with Rev. Megan go to revmeganosbornsnell.org.