Allyship and Advocacy Panel
Bringing together representatives from five different religious congregations, USGA asked how those individuals negotiate their allyship with their spirituality, and how they advocate for queer communities within their congregations. The purpose of this evening was not to have a shopping trip of religions, but to instead learn from affirming religious leaders how to be better allies and get advice on understanding your own spirituality along with your queer identity, not in spite of it.
Five individuals participated in the panel: Dave Lewis from Provo Community Congregational United Church of Christ, Reverend Dani Lee from Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, Reverend Lora Young from the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, Rabbi Sam Spector from Congregation Kol Ami, and Holly Ancel, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a licensed social worker.
The night was full of healing quotes from the five individuals, and ultimately, the message of the evening was clear. Rabbi Sam Spector emphasized repeatedly that “everyone has holiness within them.” Dani Lee added to this by reminding the crowd that they are God’s children, saying, “Who you are…is beloved as a whole.” Dave Lewis repeated this sentiment in saying that in his own church, “You are welcome…no matter where you are [at] or [who] you are.”
Overall, the night was memorable and affirming. It served as a reminder that there are religious leaders who will advocate for queer individuals and their right to spirituality. The night ended with the panel offering hugs to anyone who wanted one from an affirming religious leader.