AUSTIN, Texas - It was movie night at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in Theater in East Austin. The event was put on by the Kind Clinic and Embrace Austin to create a safe space for members and allies of LGBTQIA+ this Easter weekend.
"What I want people to take away specifically from this event is that you can be queer, you can be gay, bi, lesbian, trans, and still practice religion and still be spiritual. There is no divide and so you can identify within a lot of different communities, and we want to create this space for you to feel comfortable talking about it," said Joe Anderson Jr., Marketing and Special Events Manager for Texas Health Action and Kind Clinic.
The movie played was Blackbird, a coming-of-age tale based in Mississippi that merges the worlds of religion and sexuality. Dozens of cars lined up to watch the movie, but also be part of a conversation.
"We wanted to have a conversation with everyone that came about how we can create these spaces that are affirming and filled with love for people who are spiritual, religious, practicing things like that, during Easter Weekend," said Anderson.
The all-inclusive event hopes to provide a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community who may not feel welcomed anywhere during this holiday weekend.
This event especially hits home for Anderson. He says he didn't have this kind of safe space growing up. "I was a black, gay boy from Dallas who did not have mentors to talk to about everything that I was confused and questioning, and so I want to be able to create these moments for people that identify within the LGBTQIA+ community."
Now, he’s creating safe spaces like this movie night. The movie night was followed up with a discussion on why it's okay to be yourself and religious.
"We can't just keep seeing that religious folks are always like ‘you're going to hell, you're doing this’ to the queer community. We want to expand the narrative and show like, there are pastors who identify as queer, there are queer churches, there are, you know, affirming churches that want their parishioners to come in and feel supported through the movement, through the fight for rights," said Anderson.
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