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Healing From Purity Culture: Resources for QWM Event

Queerfully and Wonderfully Made!  hosted a fantastic event last week and I had the opportunity to join their sex panel to discuss how to heal from Purity Culture! I put this little resource together for our community and hope you will share it. Follow their link for more info about future events! 

 

Healing from Purity Culture Trauma as a Queer Survivor and Embracing your Divine Uniqueness is a radical act of courage and true love for yourself. Wherever you are on this journey of healing, whether it leads you deeper into your spiritual exploration or on the journey of unbelief; I wish you well. You deserve to heal. You deserve to be whole. Not everyone who comes out desires to part from faith community; but often, some rupture in one's connection to faith community is a painful wound that remains, long after we have come out. That is why I put together this resource page for you. You deserve to enjoy the unique Self that lives within you and to be free to explore your desires, attractions, identities, in a way that brings love and wholeness to you, and to those with whom you share love. You deserve to explore your own relationship with your spiritual roots, and to plant yourself in more fertile ground, where you can be whole.  You may have painful experiences, or disillusions, but you will also discover your own mind and heart-human and beautiful. 

 

What is Purity culture?

Purity culture is a system of belief and ideology that organizes sexual mores and rules around the notions that sex is only for cisgender, heterosexual , monogamous bodies who ideally have only been sexual with their spouse. There are forms of purity culture and its associated mores in all cultures and religions, including American Evangelicalism. Based in an essentialist notion of gender and sexuality, purity culture was and still is a central part of evangelicalism and other fundamentalist strains of religious tradition. This system of belief is often (not always) harmful to one's experience of individual self knowledge regarding sexual identity, gender identity, sexual exploration and enjoyment of one's body. It is often particularly harmful for queer people are inevitable impacted by these teachings, either by directly living within their constraints, or through the secondary impact that this system has on the debates around public policy such as access to LGBTQ inclusive Sex Education, Abortion Access, and transgender health policy and military policy for LGBTQ services members.

 

What does Purity Culture Have to do with Mental Health?

Purity Culture can negatively impact our views of queer bodies and our own sexuality and gender expression that does not align with what is held to be "Godly" or "God ordained" in Purity Culture. When information about our bodies and our sexuality comes in a form that shames diversity (non-heterosexual or non-cisgender), people who fall outside of these boundaries come away with the message that they are defective, less than, or even hated. With the  internalization of self hatred and shame, and no where to turn; denial of one's gender or sexual identity, harmful behaviors can result. Even today, when information is readily available to contradict this mis information, the power of an authority such as one's religious inheritance can be hard to challenge. We know that shame grows in silence and in the darkness and that shame will impact our sense of self worth, our lovability, and our emotional, spiritual and physical well being. 

 

What does the healing process look like?

Healing means to make whole again and it is an essential part of our evolution as human beings. Healing from Purity Culture begins with the need to deconstruct ideas, beliefs, misinformation and that includes those rooted in the ideas of colonialism and patriarchy that were part of the early teachings and traditions within American Evangelicalism  around sexuality and gender. Recreation begins by liberating your mind to ask questions, seek accurate sexual health information and affirmative ways of living your queerness in an embodied way. This includes the freedom to build a new sexual ethic informed by diversity, consent, and care for self and others. Here are some resources to explore!

DECONSTRUCT

Healing begins by deconstructing the misinformation and distorted information that is so prevalent in Purity Culture! 

Unashamed : A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Bolz-Weber 

"Christians are obsessed with sex. But not in a good way. For generations countless people have suffered pain, guilt, and judgment as a result of this toxic fixation on sex, the body.Raw, intimate, and timely, Nadia Bolz-Weber offers a full-blown overhaul of our harmful and antiquated ideas about sex, gender, and our bodies." 

You can watch her discuss Sex, Shame, and Scripture here

Give Me Sex Jesus

Documentary by Matt Barber

Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People by Joan Roughgarden

Coming So Close, But Missing by a Mile by Lisa Maurel, MFT at OneSafetynet.com

I authored this piece as a critique of  "Understanding The Transgender Phenomenon", authored by Evangelical Psychologist Mark Yarhouse.  Readers may find it a helpful way of dismantling common distortions of gender diversity.

Photo Credit: Lisa Maurel

Muslims for Progressive Values A lecture series that seeks to dismantle the religious justification for homophobia in Muslim communities with medical, social and religious history. We have also included self-empowerment and mental health tips for LGBTQI Muslims.

 

DECOLONIZE

 

Much of Purity Culture is known to be rooted in patriarchy and the notions of a strict gender binary. But did you know that both are also interwoven with institutional and systemic racism within our culture, our history, and the church?  

Unashamed : A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Bolz-Weber 

"Christians are obsessed with sex. But not in a good way. For generations countless people have suffered pain, guilt, and judgment as a result of this toxic fixation on sex, the body.Raw, intimate, and timely, Nadia Bolz-Weber offers a full-blown overhaul of our harmful and antiquated ideas about sex, gender, and our bodies." 

To Shake The Sleeping Self by Jedediah Jenkins I read this memoir over the winter and truly enjoyed Jenkins honest descent of his journey to grapple with his history in fundamentalist Christianity and his sexuality. The author " narrates the adventure that started it all: the people and places he encountered on his way to the bottom of the world, and the internal journey that prompted it. As he traverses cities, mountains, and exotic locales, Jenkins grapples with the questions of what it means to be an adult, his struggle to reconcile his sexual identity with his conservative Christian upbringing, and his belief in travel as a way to "wake us up" to life back home."

DeColonizing Transgender 101 by b. binaohan who does not use capitals:

written for the indigenous and/or person of color trying to understand how their gender is/has been impacted by whiteness and colonialism.

thebodyisnotanapology.com

The Body is Not An Apology fosters global, radical, unapologetic self love which translates to radical human love and action in service toward a more just, equitable and compassionate world.

Illustrated Passion of the Gay Christ by Kittredge Cherry

Illustrated Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ and More Kittredge Cherry

Ezili's Mirrors: Imagining Black Queer Genders by Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley

 

RECREATE

This journey of learning is just beginning. Here are some positive and intersectional resources for sex education, body education, body acceptance and queering sex and spirituality for all bodies and genders.

scarleteen.com

Lesbian Sex Bible  by Diana Cage

The Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein

Trans Bodies Trans Selves: Laura Erickson-Schroth 

transsexzine.com Joys of Queering Masturbation, Sex, Identity, and so much more at 

grunt.Org Education, Information and Inspiration For Trans men into Cis men.

 

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