On Monday 12 February IAM celebrated an intimate evening of storytelling at Suzie’s Coffee Shop in Kuils River to mark Pride Month in Cape Town. Our “Queer Expressions” event brought together clergy and other faith leaders to share personal narratives, while friends and family of IAM, new and old, were invited to listen and engage.

By bringing together both allies and queer voices, we acknowledged the ongoing discrimination in faith communities, but also imagined together what ongoing embodied resistance looks like.

We had the opportunity to listen to two beloved partners of IAM, Revs Nitano Muller and Nombulelo Khumalo share their narratives on integrating faith, identity, and calling. They shared their strategies for ministering in contexts where LGBTIQ+ lives are not recognised, and often experience violence and exclusion due to religious communities’ fears and lack of knowledge.

“Compartmentalising is not a part of my vocabulary. It has not been and it will not be, because I believe we are called to bring all of who we are to our faith.”

Nitano spoke powerfully to how he has managed to live out this integration of faith, identity and calling, because he chooses to follow Jesus. Despite the fact that the church does not always recognise LGBTIQ+ realities, he remains committed to ministering in such a way that others feel seen and recognised, not merely by God, but by faith leaders too. 

Nombulelo’s closing words, “My body is my best advocacy,” echoed a central truth that queer faith leaders so bravely keep advocating for – that embodiment matters.

A performance by Vuvu Khumalo captured the atmosphere of the evening aptly – a felt sense that when we gather in solidarity and love, hope becomes tangible. It was a reminder for all those present that we can co-create inclusive and affirming communities.   

It was wonderful to acknowledge how this gathering also celebrated and affirmed Suzie’s Coffee Shop as a gathering place where everyone is welcomed and their humanity recognised. “Queer Expressions of Faith” continues to be a faith advocacy “tool” that brings discerning voices together in a welcoming, safe space of inclusion and affirmation.