by Emily Burke and Shae Washington
We all have many different aspects of our identities and sometimes these aspects seem to be in conflict with each other. I’m Christian. I’m engaged to a Jewish woman. I am a graduate student studying theology. I’m a lesbian. I identify as a female and genderqueer. I am a lot of different things and reconciling all of the parts of my identity can be a challenge.
Sometimes it is other people who tell us that we have to pick between parts of our identity. Maybe someone told you had to be a Christian or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. You weren’t allowed to be both. Even if someone didn’t say it to your face, maybe it was in the larger culture around you or was the expectation you held for yourself. And this is just one of many examples of how we struggle as people and as part of the LGBTQ+ community to reconcile our identities.
We hear a lot in the Christian world about being reconciled to other people and to God. We hear about mending those relationships with others that have been wounded and about being “right with God”. But, do we ever think about being reconciled with ourselves? We are multifaceted people; we have many parts to our identities. We all have stories and each story has several chapters, with some chapters being drastically different from each other. Yet, all of these stories, all of these chapters, all of these parts of our identities make up who we are. When we don’t appreciate the diversity that is present in each of our individual identities, it can feel like we are at war with ourselves, always having to choose who to be that day because we do not let ourselves be all of the beautiful things that we truly are. We can also feel like we are waging war with ourselves when we completely shut out chapters of our lives. I, for one, have some dark chapters in my story. I would honestly rather ignore those parts of my story and act like they haven’t impacted me. In reality, though, they have impacted me greatly. Part of reconciling my identity is reconciling with my past. It is reclaiming all the parts of my story and figuring out who I am and who I am going to be in light of all of the pages.
In this summer’s WEConnect Retreat, Emily Burke and Shae Washington will facilitate a time for you to explore reconciling your identity. By providing you with a space where you can safely explore the chapters of your story and the facets of your identity, we hope that you can find greater peace within yourself. We hope you can leave the WEConnect retreat feeling proud of the diversity that is present with in you. We hope that you can proudly claim who you are, every single part.
And if you would like to explore more about these ideas of reconciliation and diversity in identity before the retreat, check out this TedTalk.
We’re excited to see you in Fort Lauderdale! Registration for the Q Summer Retreat is now open.