June is LGBT Pride Month, and we are happy to be kicking it off with an opportunity for LGBTQI community to practice together on retreat. Living with Presence: a Retreat for LGBTQI Community, taught by Anushka Fernandopulle & Larry Yang of the Spirit Rock Teacher’s Council and Madeleine Klyne from the East Coast, takes place from Wednesday May 28 through Sunday June 1.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Spirit Rock sponsoring retreats for the LGBTQI community. These retreats began in 1994, the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, an important event in the movement for LGBTQI civil rights in the US. Since that time a lot has changed for the better for LGBTQI communities. However, there are still significant challenges.
Even today, in 29 states, you can still be legally fired from your job for being (or perceived as being) gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Same-sex couples cannot get married in 32 states, and 30 of those states have constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage. Young people are still bullied for being perceived as LGBTQI in many schools, and many people do not feel comfortable being out in their family, workplace or community. These dimensions of oppression inform our experience in ways that we may not always recognize.
One of the antidotes for this is finding community and practicing Dharma.
Many LGBTQI people do not even realize all the ways in which they are on guard in their lives until they get a chance to spend time in community. Many who have been on other retreats report that they have a different level of comfort and ability to be present on LGBTQI retreats that they did not realize was possible. The retreats have been a joyous opportunity to practice in the safety of community on the beautiful land at Spirit Rock. Retreat is a great opportunity to deepen one’s meditation practice and learn about Dharma. We invite all members of the LGBTQI community to join us in this retreat and to begin the celebration of Pride month together!