Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry
by Christopher Pett
2022-05-06

This article shared 479 times since Fri May 6, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous.

Added to that reality was that if you were Catholic, you were condemned morally if you acted on your sexuality. While barely tolerated, as long as you denied your true identity and remained "chaste," you could have a place in the Church.

Then came Dignity/Chicago, the local chapter of the movement captured in the title "Dignity" that, in the '70s, exploded across the United States and took root here in Chicago, providing a place of spiritual and communal safety. It was in this nascent community that while being gay or lesbian, one could integrate one's sexuality and spirituality, claiming one's place in the Church among all the baptized.

After meeting for a brief time as a small prayer group, the community organized itself around a Sunday night liturgy at St. Sebastian's Church on the North Side and was formally chartered as a chapter of DignityUSA in 1972. It was one of the first four chapters chartered nationally in DignityUSA's 52-year history.

Fast-forward to 2022, and the community that emerged out of a time of great uncertainty and fear still exists and is now proudly celebrating 50 years of ministry and service to the Catholic LGBTQI+ community and our families and allies. Dignity/Chicago remains one of the oldest, longest-serving LGBTQI+ faith-based communities in the Chicago area.

As Dignity/Chicago approaches this amazing milestone, it's a time for reflection and celebration for what this community has achieved across five decades, including peaceful demonstrations and calls to accountability made to Chicago archdiocesan leadership, HIV/AIDS crisis leadership and support, and sponsorship of Center on Halsted and the Father Michal Judge plaque included in the Legacy Walk.

Dignity/Chicago remains the go-to voice of LGBTQI+ Catholics in Chicago and beyond. We regularly receive requests from local media to provide the perspectives of LGBTQI+ Catholics. I, along with many prior leaders of our chapter, have personally been interviewed by major local TV stations, radio (WVON, WBEZ), and quoted in the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, and, of course, Windy City Times. In 2015, I participated in a WTTW Chicago Tonight broadcast focused on the papacy of Pope Francis. As we know, voice matters and Dignity/Chicago is proud to be the primary source for ensuring the perspectives of Catholic LGBTQI+ people are lifted up.

We recognize that although much progress has been made since the challenges of the '70s, we face new and more pernicious challenges today. Trans people, especially trans women of color, are facing an onslaught of violence—sometimes deadly—as well as attempts across many states to limit, deny and cancel transgender people and those who identify as non-binary or gender-fluid.

In particular, there are concerted efforts across this country and by far-right politicians to use religious "freedom" as a screen to marginalize, cancel, criminalize members of the LGBTQI+ community. Dignity/Chicago, along with our national organization, DignityUSA continues to be a counterforce to these efforts.

And as many of us call upon our country to live up to its promise, so we continue to stand before our Church calling it to live up to its promise to all the baptized to be the place of spiritual safety, inclusion, respect and grace.

We recognize our work and communal life must change to adapt to the evolving needs of those LGBTQI+ Catholics seeking a spiritual home and place for justice-seekers.

As Dignity/Chicago celebrates its 50 years of vision, voice and contributions to the larger LGBTQI+ Chicago community, we also recognize the challenges of sustaining our ministry and work. Some within our area LGBTQI community have stepped away from a religious affiliation or active participation in worship and community life — some for good reasons in response to the institutional Church's rejection of our sexuality and lack of equality for women. No matter your experience of our church, we invite you to help us keep the tradition alive. "Like" our Dignity/Chicago Facebook posts. Join our email list. Check out our work and activities on our website.

Our celebration is your celebration as well; the evolution of a diverse, powerful and effective LGBTQI+ community here in the Chicago area. Not perfect, with more growing to do in its commitment to ongoing economic equity, immigrant rights and racial justice work, to name a few areas of unfinished business.

As one of our liturgical hymns proclaims, "We remember, we celebrate, we believe." The 50th anniversary of vision, voice and advocacy is an important milestone for Dignity/Chicago, but also for the larger, diverse LGBTQI+ Chicago community. We share our celebration with all of you and remain grateful for the support and encouragement we've received from community members over these past 50 years.

Christopher Pett is a former Dignity/Chicago chapter president and DignityUSA national president.

NOTE: Dignity/Chicago will celebrate its 50th anniversary the weekend of May 14-15. Visit www.dignity-chicago.org for more information. All are welcome!


This article shared 479 times since Fri May 6, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL New York synod, Danica Roem, legal action, Pride news, PFLAG
2022-05-15
The Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS), the regional body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, announced Christopher Vergara as its newly elected vice president, according to a press release. Vergara is the first openly gay ...


Gay News

LGBTQ Religious Archives Network holds 'AIDS, Activism and American Christianity' webinar
2022-05-12
LGBTQ Religious Archives Network (LGBTQ-RAN) held an "AIDS, Activism and American Christianity: A Conversation" virtual webinar on May 5. The event focused on Christian activism during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ...


Gay News

LGBTQ Catholic resource Outreach launches
2022-05-02
Outreach—a new website designed to help LGBTQ Catholics, their families and friends, and those who minister to them in the church—has launched. Outreach will publish news stories and essays from around the world; offer a resource ...


Gay News

United Methodist Church splitting over LGBTQ acceptance
2022-05-02
Theologically conservative Methodists have broken away from the United Methodist Church (UMC) over LGBTQ acceptance. According to a king5.com item, the breakaway denomination, called the Global Methodist Church, formed because ...


Gay News

Chicago Archdiocese settles with sex-abuse accusers
2022-04-27
A settlement has been reached between the Archdiocese of Chicago and five people who accused five separate priests of sexual abuse—including a high-profile priest who passed away in 2019, ABC ...


Gay News

VIEWS Biden, Democrats must end Title 42 now
2022-04-26
The Biden Administration should honor its commitment to immediately end Title 42 restrictions which were imposed by former President Donald Trump, to deny asylum seekers their basic, protected rights. It would be a mistake for Democrats ...


Gay News

VIEWS The closing of civil society: Russia and the U.S., or fear the queer!
2022-04-23
Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made manifest the fragility of civil society in Russia and the strength of civil society in Ukraine. It has also once again focused an intense spotlight on our own civil society. ...


Gay News

WORLD Conference canceled, Catholic event, India bills, Gertrude Stein
2022-04-10
The United Kingdom canceled its first-ever international LGBTQ+ conference after a boycott by more than 100 organizations, the BBC reported. "Safe To Be Me" was scheduled to take place in London in June to promote LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

LETTERS A difference in opinion about Vatican document
2022-04-07
I am responding to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burks, who issued a press release that Windy City Times published. A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could trigger a new wave of ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Mixed reactions to Will Smith's slap
2022-04-05
By now, everyone has seen or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a tasteless and misogynistic joke about his wife's short hair resembling Demi Moore's buzzcut in the 1997 movie ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT On A Scale of 1 to 10: Sex, Religion, Power, Politics--A Public Meditation
2022-04-03
QUESTION: "On a scale of one to 10, how faithful would you say you are, in terms of religion?"—U.S Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), South Carolina RESPONSE: "… there's no religious test in the Constitution under Article ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW It's Just Like Coming to Church (Welcome to the Church of YOU)
2022-04-02
Don't be fooled by the title. The Gospel of Jackie Taylor is not constructed on Old Rugged Crosses, Poor Wayfaring Strangers or Walks Through Lonesome Valleys. To be sure, there's a collection box at the entrance, ...


Gay News

DignityUSA: New Vatican document on education could increase exclusion of LGBTQI people
2022-04-01
-- From a press release - March 31, 2022—A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could make it even more difficult for LGBTQI people to be part of the Catholic school system and could trigger a new wave ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT For Elise, I promise to advocate to ban the trans/gay panic defense
2022-03-29
Elise is dead. We don't yet know how or why. But Elise is dead, and my heart is breaking. Trans activist Elise Malary was an inspiration for me. She was the driving force behind the legislation ...


Gay News

WORLD Religious leaders, Canadian monument, Sri Lanka, Ukrainian clinics
2022-03-27
More than 150 senior religious leaders from around the globe have committed to protecting LGBTQ+ people in faith communities, according to PinkNews. A "revolutionary" set of safeguarding principles were set out by the 2022 conference of ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.