Thank you Ragtag Cinema for standing up for the LGBTQ community - in words and action. This week has been a challenging one for many in our LGBTQ community, as we’ve seen and heard the sermon and the ensuing discussions. This kind of support is affirming, healing, and deeply appreciated.
RAGTAG FILM SOCIETY ENDS SPONSOR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CROSSING
October 18, 2019
In 2009, David Wilson, one of the founders of the True/False Film Fest, and Dave Cover, one of the senior pastors of the Crossing, embarked on the least likely sponsorship in history: a conservative evangelical Christian church agreed to sponsor an irreligious documentary film festival. This unique project sought to find common ground between people in Columbia, Missouri who did not necessarily share religious beliefs but might nonetheless be able to grow and learn from watching documentaries at True/False and movies at Ragtag Cinema. From the beginning, this unlikely partnership created challenges, and both organizations lost supporters who couldn’t fathom why two organizations at loggerheads on many issues would ever work together. We nonetheless believe that the relationship has fostered meaningful dialogue and exposed two communities to each other in ways that would otherwise not have happened.
After ten years, however, Ragtag Film Society must end the sponsor relationship with The Crossing. We have always known that there are many places where the values of The Crossing and our organization diverge, but a recent sermon has crystallized an unbridgeable difference between us. The message, premised on the idea that trans and gender-nonconforming people are broken, has caused tremendous pain in our community. We do not believe that expression of authentic gender and sexual identities makes any person broken; it makes them whole and contributes to the richness of our community and lived experience.
Ragtag Film Society values inclusivity and celebrates diversity. We embrace the voices and views of LGBTQ+ citizens, artists, and leaders in our organization and our programming. We will not give a sponsor’s place of prominence to any organization that discriminates or explicitly devalues LGBTQ+ citizens. We encourage anyone who wants to support our community to donate to The Center Project, a local non-profit that provides essential services here in Columbia.
To the congregation at The Crossing and people of all faiths, you--and everyone-- are always welcome in our spaces and in our community.
To our LGBTQ+ supporters and allies, thank you for your energetic support and feedback. We love you and we see you.
For further information, please contact:
Shon Aguero, President, Board of Directors, Ragtag Film Society (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jeremy Root, Past President, Board of Directors Ragtag Film Society (email@example.com)
Thank you Shane McClure Stinson for your strength and courage and for sharing your story. ❤️ And thank you for doing this fundraiser! We are 100% volunteer-run and donations like these allow us to continue serving the local LGBTQ community in so many ways.
TW: Hate Speech, Suicide
In light of learning about the Oct. 13 sermon about gender at The Crossing, Columbia, MO, my heart is breaking for all the queer, trans, and questioning people who heard the words “they are broken”.
Situations like this hit home. I was asked to leave a church 10 years ago after coming out as queer, and I can’t help but find myself reliving that isolation and pain after hearing that sermon. Being a part of a community that is supposed to be centered in love and compassion and then to hear that your identity just isn’t in God’s plan was irreversibly damaging and has negatively impacted my relationship with faith and trust to this day. It made me question my very reason for being. To be frank, it made me hate myself. As a trans person, I have to speak up about this.
Keith Simon’s and The Crossing’s words are dangerous. These conversations play a large part in shaping what trans people believe about themselves and the world they see themselves in. I’ve said it before and I will say it again...
40% of people who are trans will attempt suicide. That is 40% of people who are trans seeing themselves as unworthy of living. A survey from the Williams Institute in 2016 estimated that 1.4 million people in the US identify as trans. That means roughly 560,000 people have attempted to take their own life. Not because being transgender is a sin, but because people who shape this world actively tell trans people they are not worthy of being part of it.
Trans people feel this unworthiness when they are consistently turned down jobs, when healthcare isn’t available, when people physically or verbally threaten them; but most importantly they feel this when their friends, their lovers, and their community do not support and love them for who they are. Trans people do not need fixing. We need people that affirm and love us just as we are, no exceptions. True love has no conditions. If you believe that then what comes next should be simple. We cannot allow the harm coming from The Crossing to continue.
When these situations of injustice happen, it can be hard to decide what your action will be, but know that your decisions will impact peoples lives. Action looks different for everyone and it can range from chatting with the pastor about how detrimental his sermon was or finding a new church community to join.
If you feel empowered to take monetary action, donating to LGBTQ orgs is one way to support our community. Take a moment to donate to The Center Project, a grassroots nonprofit that’s doing hard work in Columbia, MO to support LGBTQ Missourians.
There are many avenues to take, but ultimately you have to choose whether or not you want to do something about it or continue on like no harm was done. Your choice has a direct impact on the trans community. It has a direct impact on me. It has a direct impact on the people who heard that sermon and questioned whether or not they belong here in this world. What do you want to say to them? I promise you, they are listening. We all are.
This article is part of a series of profiles of the inspiring SAGE constituents who were part of the Stonewall uprising in 1969, an event that inspired the modern LGBT-rights movement. Charles “Valentino” Harris, known to friends and family simply