I have founded Bridge of Light because of my passionate belief that full equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community cannot be achieved without directly addressing the widespread denial of the deepest humanity and fullest dignity of gay persons. The most radical message for the world to hear is that gays are made in the image of Spirit and our ways of loving are Spirit's ways of loving.
Since the late fifties and the Stonewall riots of 1969, the American gay movement has evolved into a powerful cultural, social, and political force. Today, however, the gay/queer/GLBT movement has many goals remaining unfulfilled. There is a widespread recognition of the need for more comprehensive visions and new strategies for attacking homophobia in all its manifestations. I believe that gays must directly confront the inner, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of our fight for equality ... or we will not rise to our highest potential. We have an opportunity to take the battle for equality to the next level.
The Bridge of Light celebration could play an important part in the next level of the gay movement. It does so by raising consciousness on individual, cultural, and social levels. All who hear of the holiday and are asked to celebrate it are called to raise their consciousness regarding the full equality of all people. We must ask ourselves and others this question: are gays fully equal to everyone else in our deepest humanity? Are our faces the face of God, our ways of loving God's ways of loving? Either you will light the candles or you will refuse.
The new cultural tradition forces the root issue of the equality and dignity of gays into the individual, cultural and social consciousness of everyone who hears about it. It is a calling for all to embrace the outcast (and the just plain ornery) of society with an open heart and mind. It is an open door to dialogue about the meaning of principles such as creativity, freedom, integrity, self-reliance, harmony, and love.
We will not celebrate in the closet. Perhaps someday soon we will bring observances of Bridge of Light into our homes, churches, temples, mosques, schools, workplaces, and public places. We could ask for endorsements from individuals, businesses, and organizations. We could ask for proclamations from local governments, civil societies, social clubs, and schools.
My own commitment to the struggle for equality is grounded in my Christian tradition, an integral intellectual framework, and faith in the Unity of All. My belief is that all human beings are created in the image of God, including those who don't fit into the convenient boxes for sexuality and gender expression.
I hope that Bridge of Light will be part of a movement that genuinely mends the fracturous cultural and spiritual divide on homosexuality. I hope that it will not be celebrated merely by gays/queers, but will be a movement for the spiritual equality of all persons that is led most prominently by the GLBT community.
Light a candle to affirm the full spiritual equality of all people. Light six. On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, join us in celebrating the Bridge of Light.
- Joe Perez
Joe Perez is a Seattle-based writer and the founder of Bridge of Light. more...