To honour this day I publish two of my fave icons of Saints Perpetua and Felicity next to Saints Sergius and Bacchus. These ancient martyrs have been revered and honoured for their witness to same sex affection, commitment and devotion.
My thanks to FB friend Paul Halsall who in 1997 published a comprehensive Calendar of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Saints
We who are people of faith celebrating our diverse sexuality can look back to a rich history of mentors and witnesses to the grace of love among our LGBTIQ ancestors.
On this historic day let us unite in prayerful thanks for this legislation and invite our Church to begin a new journey of affirmation of our love and commitment.
As a young boy I have a vivid memory of the first Marian Procession I attended at the local convent of Stella Maris in North Geelong. The candlelight movement of women in dark habits singing the Lourdes Hymn took me into a world where heaven touched earth and all tears were wiped away.
In my mother’s kitchen a small Icon of Our Lady of the Way sat alongside the detergent just above the sink where our daily dishes were washed. My grandmother was a member of the Legion of Mary and walked the streets of her neighbourhood to join families who prayed the rosary as the Fatima Statue moved from house to house. Each rosary with finish with a rousing chorus of Hail Queen of Heaven that echoed down the street
Whoopi Golberg brought a new generation of people the spirit of Marian Hynms and devotion spiced up and inviting with a freshness and adventure that reflected the reality of the young woman of Palestine more faithfully than the Living Parish Hymnal.
The most popular Marian prayer in Catholicism has been the Litany of Loreto. Its invocations of Mary under Biblical and popular titles has made it a feature of Catholic Spirituality in chant and languages
And just when we thought we had given Mary every conceivable title Pope Francis added a new one, Mother of the Church. For those of us who identify with the LGBTIQ faithful this feast offers another opportunity to acknowledge the spirituality of equality.
As well as the litany there is custom of decorating statues in popular culture with flowers and rosaries, and even money.I also continue this custom of bringing elements of my life such as the rainbow colours to decorate and honour the place of Mary in my spirituality.
In this month of May we invoke Mary Mother of Equality Pray For Us.
Celebrating Brisbane Women Through My Lens
See the full collection here
The celebrations have begun and we will fly our flag and sing our song of equality with pride. We are queer in all its rich colours. We are lesbian, gay, trans,bi and gender diverse.
We will not be silenced or cowed by homophobia. We will not hide in the shadows of fear. We are your family, your neighbours, your work colleagues, your friends. We are young, we are teens, we are mature aged, we are elderly.
We walk your streets, we go to your church, your mosque, your synagogue, your temple.
We ride on your trains, we serve you at cafes, we entertain you, we represent you in politics, we drink in your pubs we police your community, we serve in your military.
We are people who invite you to stand with us against homophobia.
When I was young I liked purple. However my parents and community didn’t think it was an appropriate colour so I was not allowed to wear it.
I loved Lent and Advent because the Church was decorated in purple and the priests wore purple vestments. But no-one told me that purple was a colour for celebration.
So now I wear purple in solidarity with young people who respect diversity and sexuality. I wear purple as an older man to make up for the years I missed out on this experience as a young man.
Today is a great day for this media release from Australian Catholics for Equality.
This new role provides guidance to the Council of Moderators on issues affecting LGBTIQ Catholic persons, their family, friends and allies. The Advisory Board provides practical and strategic advice to support the total work of the organising community, improving the lives of LGBTIQ Catholics, their families, friends and allies to promote a just and inclusive church and society.
I look forward to the challenge and the opportunities of this new and exciting project.
Tony is a Brisbane based social worker, who also uses his skills as a photographer to promote social change and equity in the community. He spent six years with the Capuchin Friars as a young adult and has been involved in various public ministries of the Church as a speaker, educator and retreat leader. Tony is an occasional commentator on LGBTI issues for the ABC and has extensive media experience writing press releases and responding to interview requests. He is currently the Spiritual Life facilitator for the L’Arche community in Brisbane. Tony is a member of the Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group and supports Gar’ban’djee’lum Network an independent social network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, sistergirls and brotherboys (GLBTSB) in and around Brisbane.