For many gay guys, practices that focus on the spiritual side of life are essential. Cultural, spiritual and faith-based traditions can be connected to a sense of identity, group membership and good health. In many cultural groups, good health is defined by the health of the whole community. Elders in BC’s First Nations published a report stating that people can address their health and the health of their communities by reclaiming cultural identity, family values and reconnecting with traditional lands and practices. Practices like prayer, traditional medicines, meditation, ceremonies, singing, pilgrimages and the marking of sacred days can can lead to improved mental health by creating space for us to be more grounded and centered.
Some cultural and religious groups, as well as law-makers have a long history of negative relationships with queer, trans and two-spirit people. Today, many queer people are showing their resilience by re-claiming their traditional, cultural and spiritual practices. If spiritual practices don’t fit, communities of gay guys can be supportive allies by choosing to be respectful and open about practices that seem different or foreign. For gay guys, it’s about being open to finding practices that work for you, while respecting the ways that others in our communities take time for their mental, emotional, and spiritual and community health.
Be Curious: Spiritual practices are different from culture to culture, and from person to person and so what is important is remaining curious about the practices you see.