What is Interweave?
During September’s activity fair between services, I sat at a table as a representative of Interweave. Susan St. John brought in a big bright rainbow flag that was draped across the table where I sat. I figured that was the best possible advertising and everyone would know exactly what Interweave was about.
Shortly after I sat down behind the flag, I was asked what group I was representing, so I simply said Interweave. That got a bit of a puzzled expression, followed by “I didn’t know that men were part of that, but I guess times have changed.” I started laughing, and explained that we’re not a weaving or knitting activity group, but we’re UUC’s gay-lesbian-bisexual-transsexual-transgender-queer and allies group. We had a wonderful laugh over the whole thing.
Interweave is the official name that GLBTQ groups in the UU family use as a common means of identification. So who are we and what do we do? Interweave had been dormant at UUC for a number of years until the marriage equality issue breathed some life into the group, albeit temporarily. Last February, Leslie Robinson and Izzie Wilde restarted Interweave with a potluck dinner, and the group has met every other month since then. Our June meeting included a beautiful and astounding panel of transgender people and parents of children who have identified as being somewhere along the continuum of the many gender expressions that exist. This was an amazing evening of learning, of seeing how parents grappled with seemingly incomprehensible challenges to what was once perceived as a simple black and white world of male and female. I came away with a far greater appreciation of the diversity and wonderfulness of lives that cannot possibly be reduced to a simple either/or.
One of the fascinating themes of the evening was that many parents with gender non-conforming children simply could not make sense of their child growing up and not fitting into societal norms for no apparent reason. When the child finally had the confidence, the courage, the trust and the love to share their personal truth, and once the initial shock or surprise wore off, the light bulbs went off for the parents and, suddenly, aha! of course! NOW it makes sense! We heard personal stories of acceptance, support and unconditional love, which are not the reactions that all such children receive, by any stretch. Rejection, homelessness and suicide are the reality for too many such children, which makes the heart ache. We, as a group, gained so much insight and empathy, and helping make our new church facilities gender-neutral and welcoming to all is now a part of our mission.
Interweave meets every other month, on first Fridays, usually here at UUC, sometimes a summer picnic or whatever else we might dream up. Since the group is newly revived, we’re now looking at what we might do together besides our fabulous potlucks (we do like some of the stereotypes–yes, we can cook and we can decorate!). We stay connected with our UU-ness, with readings and chalice lighting and discussions. We’re looking into local agencies, such as Lambert House, that provide services to LGBTQ youth in the community as groups with whom we might partner to involve ourselves in justice work in some greater fashion. We’re excited to know that we will have a speaker from Lambert House at our December 4 meeting.
So that’s what Interweave is and where it is on its journey. I’m just glad it’s a part of mine. Many thanks to Leslie and Izzie and many more caring people for getting UUC’s Interweave up and running again!
Rick Johnson is a member of UUC who writes occasional blogs about his journey as a newcomer to Unitarian Universalism. UU was unknown to him prior to his first church service at UUC in September of 2014, for which he will be eternally grateful