Uplift: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Experience Within and Beyond Unitarian Universalism

By Michael J. Crumpler

In 2019, I had the distinct privilege of being published in two groundbreaking works related to HIV and AIDS, OnCurating Issue 42: What You Don't Know About AIDS Could Fill a Museum and Spiritual Care in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter.
For OnCurating I wrote, Thoughts on How to Include Spirituality in Exhibitions about HIV and AIDS:

As such, it is impossible to depict our HIV and AIDS experiences without also depicting our spiritual experiences of coping with HIV and AIDS. Epidemic exhibitions are good at capturing the suffering, the pharmaceutical angle, the dying lover, the sexuality, the activism, and the anger. While these are all spiritual experiences for sure, they do not represent the totality of what it is to live with HIV for me and the many friends I have who are also living with the virus.

When you don’t include spirituality, you miss a chance to capture the everydayness of church incarnate in our spiritual communities of survival and resilience. Our faith-based tactics for living and thriving and our sacred rituals that inform our life choices become invisible, particularly among black and brown folx. [Full Article]

For Spiritual Care in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter, I wrote, Give Us What Magic Johnson Got!:
I must admit, I barely knew Magic Johnson before 1991. But, nevertheless I felt the full weight of his sobering HIV disclosure as if it were my own. I remember knowing it was a big deal, but not fully knowing why. How had he gotten it? He must be gay, right? I pretended not to care, lest in my curiosity my own closeted truth become disclosed. As he stood there next to his wife, blinded by the flashing camera lights, naked before the entire world, I felt what he felt. Magic Johnson’s reality made it real not just for me, but for everyone. It was no longer a gay disease, a prostitute’s disease, a junkie’s disease, or Africa’s disease. It was now our disease as we witnessed a Black, successful celebrity athlete, admired and respected by all, living our worst nightmare in public guise. If Magic could get it, any of us could get it. If any of us could get it, then I knew that I certainly would get it. Fifteen years later, when I did get it, my dad comforted my mom by reassuring her that I would live a long healthy life because, "See! Look at Magic Johnson." Those words provided quite enough hope to get her through that day.
[Full Article]

About the Author

Michael J. Crumpler

Rev. Michael J. Crumpler joined the UUA in early 2017. Shortly thereafter, he was ordained to Reverend in the United Church of Christ....


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