An affirming newsletter for Lesbian Women
and their Partners
January 2009- Vol 1, Issue 1
In This Issue
Melissa Etheridge In The News
Movie Review
For The Religious Community
The Bridge - Feature Article
Straight Allies
Quick Links       
 Check out the updated Books & Resource sections!  A free downloadable Resource Directory is now in the works!   If you know of additional resources you would like to see added, please email me the information. 
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Building Bridges
Melissa Etheridge Sees the Opportunity to Build Bridges
Pastor Rick Warren will be saying the prayer at Obama's Inauguration on January 20th. While he supported Prop 8 and is opposed to Gay marriage-Melissa Etheridge is speaking out in support of building bridges with this evangelical leader. You can read her blog here: 
sunset walkway 
Milk Movie 
 You can still catch MILK, starring Sean Penn at the movies. I highly recommend seeing this film. You will get a sense of the history of the LGBT movement from Stonewall on and see the inspiring life of Harvey Milk as he steps out of the closet and  into life as an advocate for himself and his community. Even after his death, Harvey inspires us for the work today. In our continued struggle, we are standing on his shoulders and many others.
For show times click here:

For The Religious Community 


 Build a Bridge: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
For the religious community, I ask that you check into the resources below and that you get to know a gay or lesbian person if you don't already. Remember, we are among you as your children, your neighbors, and your community leaders. And in many ways, we want the same things that you do-peace, prosperity, and the freedom to love our spouses and raise our families.
 For those of us in the LGBT community, we can seek to understand the concerns and the fears that those in religious communities have about gays and lesbians. If you come from a religious tradition, perhaps you can contribute to peaceful dialogue that opens doors. Remember, there are many supportive religious communities that provide spiritual havens for LGBT people. You don't have to toss your spirituality to embrace your sexuality and vice versa.
There is much division between us over the issues surrounding marriage equality and equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. But I believe that if we begin the conversation with an appreciation for our shared experiences and ancestry perhaps, this can help us be better bridge builders creating the kind of world we want our children to live in.
Click here to read the story of My Bridge Building Neighbor
What Christians Think about Homosexuality
by L. R. Holben by Bibal Press
Our Price: $24.94
Buy Now
Welcome to the January 2009 issue of 
REFLECTIONS, from the office of Lisa Maurel, MFT. 

Happy New Year!

I hope you will find this edition of my newsletter to be both inspiring and informative.  Please forward and share to all you may think would enjoy!
 "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." 
- Kahlil Gibran



Bridge 3

Imagine a chasm. Deep and dark. On either side are people-separated by fear, mistrust anger and suspicion. Both sides convinced of their own rightness and holding the other side in contempt. This could be any group of people in conflict. An alienated couple. An old family divide. The reds and the blues.  But my focus here is  the divide between those who oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians for religious reasons (one of the two largest predictors of support for Prop 8), and the LGBT community.  
Here are a few thoughts on the subject of bridge building between these two "sides" from my perspective, as a therapist, a student of theology and spirituality and a lesbian.
What Kind of World Do You Want?
The song by Five for Fighting says it all: "What kind of World Do You Want? We might agree that we all want a world of peace where our children can thrive-but we don't agree on what constitutes that peace. The truth is, none of us will have a world the completely reflects our personal ideals or beliefs. The ability to live in peace with people and cultures we don't understand or agree with is perhaps one of our greatest challenges today. 
We can start by finding common ground. 
Whether you are a double minority with an immigrant and religious background, or part of a religious group(many of which oppose gay rights); you probably have a connection to history as a minority in the distant or not so distant past. What all minorities have in common is the experience of oppression and marginalization by the majority culture. As minorities, we have all been "outside the circle" of the mainstream. We have all experienced being different. And we have all fled some form of persecution or discrimination, in search of our freedom.
Our common ground as minorities.
We can trace the origins of many of our religious denominations today, back to small, minority religious groups that endured persecution and discrimination from the larger majority from which they differed. From the days of the Old Testament and the enslavement of the Jews, to the persecution of the Christians by the Jews, to the protestant reformation movement in Europe. These religious groups, many of which are now part of the dominant culture, once suffered religious  and economic persecution at the hands of the majority in power.
Our history here in the U.S. alone is replete with examples of religious and political refugees. What began with a movement to flee the religious persecution of the homeland and find freedom and liberty in the New World often spiraled into a kind of repeat of the same old story. 
Our common cultural history  of marginalization.
Cultural enclaves and ghettos in the U.S. grew out of the need for affordable housing for new immigrants and created a kind of insulation for minorities to continue their cultural traditions and community while embarking on the journey of building a life in their new country. Irish, Catholic, Italian, Polish, Jewish, Chinese,  African slaves, emancipated slaves (who were not immigrants in the voluntary sense);  each new group of immigrants bore the brunt of this prejudice, labeling and demonization. Many were fleeing political and religious persecution. 
The LGBT community of course did not come by boat. But like other refugees from persecution , they emerged from the small towns and parishes all over this country where they were hidden in the secrecy and silence of the closet.  WWII and the opportunity to travel broke down the barriers of isolation, silence and  created connection to greater community.  By flocking to urban areas that provided the protection of anonymity, cheap housing and association with other gay and lesbian people-a visible community could be born.  Heterosexism was and is still an oppressive force for LGBT people, but community afforded a kind of affiliation that instilled a new sense of empowerment.

Click here to read What is Heterosexism?  

 Our common desire for freedom
Minority groups as they developed into cohesive and organized communities, become more vocal and more active in advocating for their rights. Religious and ethnic minorities, and sexual minorities have all followed their own path towards the pursuit of equality. The cycle of cultural awakening for a minority group moves from dis-empowerment and invisibility, to vocal organization and advocacy. Once organized, these groups engage in long and difficult journeys towards gaining freedom and equality.

Resources for this Article and Recommended Reading
Listen to the song here: and raise money for Autism Speaks at the same time! What Kind Of World Do You Want 
Can the love between two people ever be an abomination?  Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Click here for a documentary addressing these issues:  For The Bible Tells Me So
For more information on the factors that predicted voter positions on Prop 8 : 
ABC News
Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present
by Neil Miller by Advocate Books
List Price: $18.95
Our Price: $147.73
Buy Now
Straight Allies
butterflyAnd now a word from our sponsor....
I'd like to introduce you to someone who works behind the scenes of my websites, my newsletters and my practice. Angela Fuller, is a Professional Assistant ( who has been helping me grow my business for only a few months and in that short time, she has become a real advocate for the LGBT community.  Check out her eHow article:  "How to Support Gay Marriage When You are Straight"      And thank you Angela-for all you do to create peace in the world!
lisa - headshotBe well and happy,
Lisa Maurel, MFT
"Growth is in your hands"