A Blessing for our beloved trans youth.

The laws happening in Texas targeting trans youth is absolutely breaking my heart. Our trans brothers and sisters (never mind youth) are already such a vulnerable community and they do not deserve this. I wish I could do or say more, & I am struggling. So I wrote this Blessing. Sending so much love to you, my trans friends.

Full text:

A blessing for our beloved trans youth. (Who feel anything but, right now.)

May you, my magnificent trans friends, know that you are entirely exquisite.

May you have the courage to block out the hate, knowing that these voices, these laws, these lawmakers – they are the abusers. 

May you inhale breath into your God-made lungs, and be filled with a profound sense of purpose. You are no mistake. You are perfect.

May you find a safe and soft shoulder to exhale all of this grief. Do not hold it in. This is not fair. This is not just. This is abhorrent. 

May you reach out and connect with the many strong hands, wanting to keep you safe. Let us pull you away from despair. Let us remind you that you are loved and celebrate your very existence. May you know that anything else is a lie.

May you feel that for all the loud, hurtful voices, there are many other voices shouting our love & support into the ether. May your heart & soul absorb every last positive vibration.

May you embrace the innate beauty of your identity, and see yourselves as your Creator does. As I do. May it seep into your bones your intrinsic belovedness.

My trans brothers and sisters, I stand with you. I’m so sorry you are continually targeted for simply existing. May we never stop fighting for your right to feel safe, at home & beautiful in your own body. 

DreamWorks “Spirit & Friends” drops!

Calling all friends & fans of the DreamWorks SPIRIT universe!

I haven’t been able to share until today – but this is the project I have been Art Directing!

A series of 2D shorts for DreamWorks called “Spirit & Friends!”

I am so proud of our insanely talented team at Doberman Pictures here in Vancouver who made this look so fantastic. 🙏🎉🐴

I definitely felt the pressure to make sure this long-standing and beloved franchise was handled with care, and working with the folks at DreamWorks was “a dream”. 🤣🤓🌟

A new short will air every Saturday at 10am on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/spiritridingfree/videos

Here is the first episode, which dropped today! (Update, it almost has 2 million views now!)

Make sure to like & subscribe, as they say 🙏❤️

More episodes have been released! Here are a few more 4 mins of cuteness!

Hear my queer prayer.

There needs to be more queer prayers in the world.

That is – prayers written by queer people. So here’s mine. Sending love, my friends.

Full text:

Hear my queer prayer. Spoiler alert: queer prayers are just prayers by queer people.

To the God of knowing, loving – and creating – ALL of my parts. Especially the ones I had to shame & hide for so long. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God who sees my grief that still needs to be uprooted. My questions that don’t have answers. They remind me, it’s okay, just to be human. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God of tight toddler hugs. My body feels heavy with love as my son wraps his arms haphazardly around my waist. Do You feel heavy with love for us? Hear my queer prayer.

To the God of believing in my desperate dreams. I know You are the one who sits up with me late at night, as I gaze into the hopefulness. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God of pure human connection. When I feel seen by another person – it feels buoyant. Thank you for this great reminder that I am alive. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God of incredible sex. You created that ability to fuse physically and emotionally, and in all of my queerness, I can say that it is good. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God of nudging me to give random acts of kindness (even if these are a smile or an ear). I see that glimmer in my peripheral of what, perhaps, we are here most to do. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God of helping me to see the best in others. The back stories, the how did you get here’s, the I’m so sorry you haven’t been seen’s. Hear my queer prayer.

To the God who tells me that simply being who I am, in my queer fullness, makes Their heart sing. This is the song I blast on repeat. Hear my queer prayer.

HERE TO QUEER Podcast

We had a lovely conversation about queer books for kids and teens & why they are important. We also chatted about the writing process, since both of us wrote a memoir (her book Outlove, mine Still Stace) – how do you decide what to put in the book, and what not to? Julie is doing such great work for the LGBTQ community, I was so grateful for this conversation!

What does it mean to become an AFFIRMING CHURCH?

Well let me tell you what it means to ME – a queer Christian person. 

Taking that step to be affirming, quite simply is like turning a light on a very, very dark path. Now, that light isn’t going to tell you how long the path is, or what direction to go. It’s also not going to tell you how treacherous the path is up ahead. But MAN, that light is going to make it a WHOLE LOT easier to see. 

And it’s going to be a WHOLE LOT SAFER to keep walking. And having safe spaces to an LGBTQ person of faith, is like having a drink of cold water in the middle of a massive desert.

Now, let’s be clear. Becoming affirming isn’t the end of the journey, rather it is the beginning. It doesn’t mean the work or the learning is done. It doesn’t erase the years and years of deep hurt and trauma that the church as a whole has caused to gay people. 

BUT it means, now we can acknowledge and grieve that TOGETHER. It means taking each other’s hand, and taking that first big step toward healing. Because we were CREATED for healing.

By saying you are affirming, it means you are saying to me and people like me: I SEE you and I CELEBRATE ALL of YOU as a child of God – your sexuality included

PHEW! Let me tell you. That is REVOLUTIONARY to us. It always makes me emotional, because quite honestly, it does NOT legitimately happen very often. And when it does, it’s actually hard for our tender hearts to believe. 

Because so many of us have been promised a real welcome, but when it comes right down to it, they were hiding a huge ASTERISK that allowed them a way out. I personally have been a part of that journey many times, and each time it happens, it chips away a little more of your soul. 

So please, be gentle with our fragile & untrusting hearts.

For a church to actually FOLLOW THROUGH with being affirming – for us queer folks… it is life CHANGING.

It means that you are not just saying we have a seat at the table, but you are showing us where to sit. 

Being

an

affirming

church

SAVES

LIVES.

As far as our (gay) research shows, there are over 100 churches here in Chilliwack, BC. Two of them that we know of are fully LGBTQ affirming. TWO. That’s less than 2%. Since moving here in the summer, many people (gay and straight) have asked if we have found a church here. There is a NEED for many more affirming churches in this community.

If your church wants to have this conversation, contact me.

If your church is struggling with this conversation, contact me.

If your church wants a gay Christian (yes we exist!) to speak about this from the pulpit so a pastor doesn’t have to – contact me.

If you are queer and go to an unaffirming church and want support, contact me.

If you are queer and you have left or been kicked out, I’m so sorry. I see you. I’m here if you need someone in your corner.

We need to change this. I will do what I can to help change this. We need more inclusive spaces in our churches. It’s not about comfort or being trendy.

Being an affirming church SAVES LIVES.

Thanks for coming to my Gay Ted Talk. 🌈

(Full video of The Bridge Abbotsford’s Affirming service from Oct 2021 here. Come chat with me on TikTok here!)

Marriage (reality) check-in.

Hey hi hey!

Who’s marriage/relationship is really struggling right now? 🙋🏻‍♀️

In a prolonged pandemic,
In the Polaroid of social media,
In a perfection obsessed world,
I want to be honest about the reality of what IS right now.

This season of marriaging (and parenting young kids) through a prolonged uncertain pandemic HAS BEEN THE VERY HARDEST.

I have been working from home FT since March 2020. That’s coming up on 2 solid years, and let’s be honest pals – no one is supposed to be around their spouse 24/7 forever, right? 😅

This is no one’s fault. This is the result of this intensely difficult season. Bless, we are doing our best. We have therapists and close friends we confide in. And still – the words separation and divorce have come up.

But we aren’t giving up.

Instead of talking about it after the fact, I thought it might help to talk about it IN the fact. Let’s shine a light on this. This is hard. This is scary. If you feel that, I see you.

Maybe we too, want to know we aren’t alone in this struggle.

Here’s what we are trying:

Let bad days be bad days.
Let good moments be good moments.
Come together in the joy, the grief, the exhaustion.
Give space as much as possible under the same roof.
Create moments to be silly as much as possible.
Be honest with what you need.
Work on yourself, learn from the lessons this tough season is trying to teach you.
Apologize, forgive, give grace.
Keep going.

That’s what we are trying to do, every single day. That’s all we can do.

We will keep going.

Sending love to you all in the hardness.

Holding rainbows.

Since the release of Still Stace, a lot of people have felt safe enough to share their precious journeys with me. I’m so thankful for all the messages, Zooms and walks. Keep ’em comin’ 🙂

Whether you are queer, bi, trans, gay, lesbian, not sure, or somewhere in between – know your stories are always safe with me. I will protect them, respect them and hold them gently.

I will never take for granted this privilege of witnessing someone’s steps toward their full authenticity.

Your courage & bravery continually inspire me.

I hope you FLOURISH.

I was gifted some alone hotel time yesterday (thank you to my wife Tams), and I (obviously) went to the pool asap. I wanted to use this time to think about 2021 and then, 2022.

As I floated on the water and my ears dipped under the muted surface, I felt a muffled word rise to the surface of my heart.

FLOURISH.

© Stacey Chomiak 2021

Maybe it doesn’t make sense after the dumpster fire of 2021, but I have learned to trust these nudgings.

So let’s be brash with our hope, why don’t we: I hope you FLOURISH in 2022. I hope I FLOURISH in 2022.

Don’t get overwhelmed at the large-ness of that word. I think it could be beautifully gentle. Let’s dream together, what could this look like?

Maybe:

  • Carving out 3 mins to breathe and listen for your own voice
  • Walking away from a toxic conversation, or maybe relationship
  • Walking toward a beautiful connection
  • Working to rebuild something worth rebuilding
  • Having courage to end something not worth rebuilding
  • Putting up a boundary
  • Changing your mind about a boundary
  • Changing your mind, period
  • Being intentional about working toward a dream
  • More therapy
  • Taking a deep breath instead of reacting
  • Deciding to take up more space in your own life
  • Doing something – anything – just because you LOVE IT
  • Eating the damn cookie and savouring it
  • Dancing alone in your office between meetings
  • Caring less what others think
  • Caring more what you – authentic you – thinks

Could we normalize flourishing in our own lives – even in a pandemic? I’d love to try.

This is not a resolution but a hope. Let’s flourish together! Share with me if you want.

I love this journey for us. ❤

Essay for “The Gay & Lesbian Review”

Thank you to The Gay & Lesbian Review for publishing my essay! Full text below image, or click on the link to read.

“HOMOSEXUALITY is sin, no doubt about it. And it’s the worst kind of sin because it twists our sexuality and tries to make us believe we could be something we are not. God created man to be with woman. That is black and white. Do not be deceived. Let us pray.”

My blood ran cold.

As I sat there in the wooden church pew next to the girl I had been secretly kissing (and more), it felt as if suddenly everyone knew. I stole a quick look at her, but she evaded my eyes. I felt as though I had forgotten how to breathe.

The pastor’s words were coursing through my veins like a drug my body was rejecting. There was my confirmation. Homosexuality is the worst kind of sin.

I closed my eyes in an attempt to calm myself, but all I saw were flashes of us. Me, lying on top of her, kissing her, and then a lightning bolt coming down from the heavens, careening us into a fiery pit. Was I destined for hell?

How could my body betray me like this, becoming so weak at the touch of another girl? How could my Jesus-loving heart allow such sinful desires to consume it?

I had heard shocked whispers about homosexuality in our church hallways, but never before in my youth group. Not until today.

How did I get here?

I loved being an Evangelical Christian. At my public school, I was pretty sure they called me “Christian Stace.” I was convinced that wearing overtly Christian-themed T-shirts and a cross necklace was going to bring my “secular” friends to Jesus.

But that was before Joanna’s soft lips pressed against mine for the first time, and my entire being buzzed with pleasure. Nothing seemed to matter after that—except more kissing.

When my lips were apart from Joanna’s and trying to pray instead, I was filled with equal parts shame and guilt. They were getting heavier by the minute. I felt so heavy after that sermon that I feared I might crash through the pew and onto the soft purple carpet.

I carried that foul burden for the next thirteen years. I had no tools, no support, and no understanding of what being gay meant. I had only ever known this straight, heteronormative Christian world, and my feelings were coming from an entirely different universe.

In my desperate attempts to free myself of this sin, I learned all about ex-gay ministries and about people who had apparently “prayed away the gay.” Christians in the ex-gay ministries spoke of “same-sex attraction” as a disease that spread rapidly.

I was definitely infected. I hated myself. I prayed, I kissed her, I prayed, I enjoyed sex with her, I prayed… It was an endless cycle of giving in to lust and lamenting that I was paying for it with my soul. But my prayers were futile. How could I live a life God would be proud of if I couldn’t cure this disease?

Looking back, I have a lot of compassion for my younger self. I was just trying to “fight the good fight.” Except it wasn’t good at all. I know God was grieving as I bullied and hated and tried to erase this beautifully creative and sweet part of myself.

My church had taught me that this sort of sin was too large, too ugly, too damaging to be forgiven. God despised  homosexuality, so logically God must despise me.

This is not what I believe today. Today, I have a wife and two kids, and I stand fiercely proud and wholly beloved by God in this gorgeously gay body of mine. Today, I do a little preaching of my own: queer preaching. My sexuality used to be a thorn in my side that needed to be removed. Now I know that my sexuality enriches my faith.

Since coming out as a gay Christian in 2010, I have chosen to be visible: to speak up, to share, to challenge, to take up space in this world as I am, and not to exist quietly.

I never had someone to look up to, and I vowed that one day I would try to be the person that I needed when I was young. For gay Christians like me, being visible might save someone’s life. I loved my church community, but they were not able to love me back. It almost broke me. And it has broken too many other people.

So many harmful messages that the church has sent out are still ringing loudly in the ears of LGBT people. We have a lot of work to do to rebuild, reframe, and reclaim these messages as the beautifully beloved people that we are.

Stacey Chomiak illustrates & writes kids books. Her young adult illustrated memoir, “Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming-of-Age Story”, was recently published in October 2021 by Beaming Books. She lives happily nestled with her wife and two kids in Vancouver, Canada. Stacey identifies as a gay Christian and loves to have conversations around faith and sexuality.

Hang in there.

Last night was the longest night of the year.

Yesterday new restrictions were announced here in BC. New variants, new worries, new boosters.

Christmas is around the corner.

It’s a lot.

I don’t have any profound wisdom except to say what my soul keeps humming:

Hang in there.

Don’t give up. Even the longest nights don’t last forever.

Connect with a friend. Have a hot bath. Create some art. Read your favourite book. Laugh at a dumb comedy. Blare Christmas music and stare at the tree lights. Dare yourself to Repeat the Sounding Joy.

We’ll get through this.
You’ll get through this.

As always – I’m here. Reach out if you need. Really.

Sending love. ❤️

(Photo taken on my bike in Chilliwack, BC.)

%d bloggers like this: