The intersection of queer and Catholic identities has drawn attention at two major events here in the U.S., as the stories of LGBTQ people of faith continue to be told.
At Creating Change, an annual LGBTQ conference that recently took place in Detroit, Ted Ravago, a student at New York University, Manhattan, found affirmation in his identity as a gay Catholic. He wrote for the NYU student newspaper about his thoughts on these pieces of his identity that can sometimes feel in conflict:
“I centered my experience at the conference around queerness and religion because I am gay and Catholic. In queer spaces, religion is often frowned upon — and legitimately so, considering the history between the Church and the LGBTQ community. As a result of this tension, I rarely receive the opportunity to discuss the intersection of my queerness and my faith, and having that opportunity at Creating Change was extremely eye-opening. It taught me that I don’t need to repress that side of my life to be accepted into queer spaces.
“In conclusion, there is no such thing as not being queer enough. Queer people can coexist with all of their other identities — whether spiritual, racial, economic or occupational. Gay, trans, ace and aro, bisexual, pan and gender non-conforming people from all paths of life are welcome. Society must abolish the idea of being queer enough. No person needs to conform to a set of standards in order for their identity to be valid.”
At the Sundance Film Festival, one of cinema’s biggest events, a new series premiere took on the same questions in this very unique environment. Delivery Girl’s pilot focuses on a conservative New England town, where a young woman named Trisha Donahue struggles with whether and how to express her lesbian identity to her Catholic family and community.
The show is a passion project for Kate Krieger, Delivery Girl’s writer, director, and star. The series will see her play a different woman in each episode as it tells multiple self-contained stories. The Advocate raved about Krieger’s Catholic lesbian character, writing that she “delivers a painfully relatable performance for anyone who has wrestled with the raw experience of coming out to their parents and struggled to be honest about themselves despite their surroundings.”
“From an acting standpoint, portraying Trisha is such a joy for me. I love playing her because she has such a rich, interior life. I wanted to tell her story because I see her as an underdog whose inspiringly brave. I will say that regardless of her sexual orientation or my own, I relate deeply to the fear of disappointing the people you love (in Trisha’s case — her parents) as well as being in love with someone who cannot show up for you — someone who’s unavailable in one way or another — and the profound heartache that comes along with that. So much about who Trisha is has to do with taking challenging emotional risks and letting go of the results and the responses of others. My hope is that queer audiences — particularly people who are still closeted — will see her as an inspiration to live their truth with complete abandon. Easier said than done, I know, but as a woman who spent a lot of life dodging vulnerability and emotional transparency for fear of what others might think or feel about me, I can say that leaning into your truth and being true to who you are ultimately pays off in spades “
The series has yet to be picked up by a network, but that could change soon if the positive reviews keep rolling in at Sundance.
The work of integrating identities is never easy, but, as each person boldly does so, a new role model is created for future generations.
—Jonathan Nisly, February 7, 2019, New Ways Ministry,