We had another fabulous talkback on Wednesday November 12th after the evening performance of The Brightness of Heaven. This time our writer and director were joined by Jeff Stone of Dignity NY. Established in 1972, Dignity/New York, a chapter member of Dignity USA, is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to encourage gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT) persons and their friends to express their sexuality in a manner consonant with Christ's teachings. Dignity helps people to become more active members of the Roman Catholic Church and society, and works through education and legal reforms for justice and the social acceptance of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.
The themes within The Brightness of Heaven, including homosexuality and the church are still very relevant today. Children are still being cast-out by their parents, because their sexuality is not embraced within the church. The audience was very eager to engage with Mr. Stone and our creative team. They shared their personal experiences and listened intently to Mr. Stone’s insightful commentary.
Although things are shifting in today’s society the LGBTQ community still runs the risk of being ostracized from the faith that they grew up in. Laura Peterson discussed the culture of religion in public school as a child and how that has changed. We are not expected to all say the same prayer before sports games. Our lives don’t necessarily have the same saturation in the church that it used to, but LGBTQ kids still run the risk of being shunned at home.
It is difficult to shift archaic religious ideals of a generation that was raised within the church and who have held firm to those beliefs. Joyce in The Brightness of Heaven states that the church was everything to them, it was where they grew-up, socialized, and married. People who have been so connected and nurtured within the church are being asked to choose between their faith and their children. Dignity offers a place where LGBTQ persons can embrace their faith and community, while not suppressing who they are. So hopefully the Jimmy’s of today can still connect with their families and their faiths.
Visit Dignity/NY Website HERE
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