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The Glitter Ash Project: LGBT and Christian life

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Glitter ash project

The Glitter Ash Project: LGBT and Christian life

As the Christian world marked Ash Wednesday, a New York nonprofit group encouraged the clergy to remind Americans that there are LGBT who are Christians via the Glitter Ash Project.

Created by the group Parity, the project asked the clergy to put ash mixed with glitter on people ‘s forehead to remind them about LGBT inclusivity.

The Glitter Ash Project: Supporting the LGBT

Christians begin the 40-days of repentance of Lent with Ash Wednesday, by having a minister or priest mark a cross on their foreheads with ash.

The practice is usually done with Catholic and Protestant denominations. For those who want the simple ashes without the glitter, this was also offered for the recent Ash Wednesday.

“People are responding with such joy that they can show their faith and show that they are LGBT,” said the Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, executive director of Parity.

“LGBT people are people of faith, too.On the day, Ash Wednesday, when Christians are publicly Christian, we are going to be publicly queer,” Rev. Edmonds-Allen added.

The Glitter Ash Project: Parity’s idea

Though Parity faced doubts and objections to using glitter ashes, they did consult theologians– including those from more conservative evangelical backgrounds– on the idea.

Once they got their approval, they cooked up a formula for the glitter ashes: blessed ashes, makeup-quality polyester purple glitter, and olive oil.

The group sold out all of their 150 packages– which could smear foreheads of 15,000 people– to churches nationwide. Because of this, the group encouraged churches to make their own glitter ash.

The orders came from not only Roman Catholic churches but also from Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Baptists. Churches in the United Kingdom and Canada also ordered the glitter ashes.

“This is a way for queer Christians and queer-positive persons of faith to say ‘We are here.’ It is also a way for other people to be a witness to that and be in solidarity with them,” said Rev. Edmonds-Allen.

The Glitter Ash Project: Public acceptance

The public reaction has generally been well-accepted.

Diane Jordan, Christian and straight, said: “It symbolizes a hope for me. You know, like a better tomorrow. It makes people look and then they ask me. I like spreading the word.”

“Everyone has their own life. Who am I to choose?” Jordan said, who said she contributes to LGBT causes.

Elizabeth Oakes, an employee at the Commerce Department, said the mark would symbolize her progressive values : “I think it’s a little bit more positive, isn’t it?”

Sandra Zapata, a lesbian and LGBT advocate, “The LGBTQ community needs to know that they are welcomed in a new and different way when it comes to religion. It makes a difference to know that someone didn’t just say this is a safe space, but went out of their way to make it a safe space.”

“I want to feel validated as myself in religion and this was the beginning,” Zapata said.

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