- October 20, 2014
Post submitted by Sklar Toy, Diversity Co-Chair for the HRC Los Angeles Steering Committee
On National Coming Out Day (NCOD), HRC partnered with the Queer Faith Forum and other organizations to host our first local NCOD celebration. The celebration focused on coming out to our faith communities and on claiming our faith identities as LGBT people.
The celebration took place at the United University Church at University of Southern California’s campus. The afternoon's events included liturgies and readings of poems from Jewish literature, Buddhist literature and the Koran. The program also allowed attendees to share their coming out stories. One of them was Patrice Ford.
Patrice Ford, 24, is a member of the Founders Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles. When she was in the tenth grade, she came out to her mom and her grandmother. Because of her faith, Patrice’s mother reacted very negatively and Patrice ended up packing a bag and left her home. She sought help from one of her teachers. That teacher and her partner opened up their home to Patrice and allowed her to stay and offered her support. There, Patrice learned from them that not only being gay is okay, but that she was able to learn about different religions and accepted that difference as well.
After a few months Patrice returned home, but her mother would still not discuss Patrice's sexual orientation. Patrice continued living her life as before, attending school and church services and as time passed, and her mother began to realize that Patrice has not changed from the daughter she has known all along.
These days, Patrice's mother is one of her biggest supporters. Patrice feels fortunate to be able to live openly and be able to practice her faith with the love of her mother, her family and her friends. It's stories like this that remind us of the importance of National Coming Out Day.