Brainstorming Exercises from the Second Annual Meeting

During the second annual meeting of the Circling the Wagons Coalition, David Matheson and Jim Struve led us in several brainstorming activities in which the group collectively identified various harms that are faced by LGBTQ/SSA individuals. The group also discussed various ways in which we can create safety for those individuals in our communities.

A PDF version of the brainstorming questions and the group’s responses can be found here.

Question 1: What are the harms that are faced by LGBTQ/SSA individuals in our community?

Social Harms

  • Isolation
  • Helplessness
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Rejection from social group
  • Family alienation
  • Dismissiveness
  • Stigma around STDs
  • Member Roulette
  • Duplicity hurting families
  • Lies/secrecy
  • Homicide
  • Loss of talents, gifts, contribution of LGBT who feel forced to leave congregations
  • Loss of good (LGBT) parents

Sexual Harms

  • Person unable to explore safely (goes underground)
  • STDs
  • Shame-based family system
  • Sexual abuse/assault
  • Shame
  • Non-assertive sexuality
  • Sexual perpetration
  • Not self-informed sexuality

Emotional Harms

  • Emotional abuse
  • Duplicity, living dual lives, compartmentalization
  • Self-doubt
  • Shame
  • Ostracized
  • Fracturing, loss of integration

Spiritual Harms

  • Spiritual separation from others
  • Loss of faith
  • Loss of meaning
  • Feeling estranged from the Lord
  • Fear
  • Afraid to talk to others
  • Member roulette

Physical Harms

  • STDs
  • Addictions (eating, substance, sexual, alcohol)
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
  • Physical bullying
  • Violence
  • Shame-based family system
  • Trans individuals lack of access to medical treatment
  • Homelessness

Other Harms

  • Few groups for support
  • Self-loathing
  • Trauma reenactment

Question 2: What guidelines need to be in place for individuals to feel safe?

  • Understanding knowledge
  • Willingness to talk
  • Awareness, everyone’s journey is different
  • Put judgments on the shelf
  • Wanting to help others to be best they are
  • Willingness to consider others’ points of view
  • Won’t be turned away from community
  • Accept everyone is worthy of love
  • Recognize everyone’s imperfections; forgive; give grace
  • Willingness to allow everyone to be in contradiction
  • Respect everyone’s journey as different from our own
  • What are you willing to commit to do to address these harms?
    Come back to Coalition
  • Share experience in a candid way
  • Willing to try
  • Be self-aware
  • Talk to people even when scared. Believe there’s a chance for dialogue.
  • Start to erase the aisle
  • Find common ground
  • Collaborate as much as possible
  • Self-care
  • Step into fear of challenging own beliefs

Question 3: What have you done to create safety that has been ineffective?

  • Debated people
  • Talk to family
  • Hidden myself
  • Try to convince others they’re wrong
  • Lost my temper
  • Tried to offer a leader new information
  • Tried to talk to a leader
  • Offer pity rather than empathy
  • Tried to give solution before understanding

Question 4: Now What? Where do we go from here?

  • Social groups
    • Collaboration between groups and leaders
    • Diverse ideologies sponsor something monthly
    • Safe place to meet
  • Facebook group
  • Specific times to communicate to address differences in person
  • Doing things other than talking
  • At what point does Coalition grow into the
  • Structured service project
  • Subcommittees

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