Maria Hernandez-Peck – Spirituality and Religion

“All my gay friends are in church.”

In religious schools certainly, [same-sex sexuality] is very frowned upon. I think, for example, people who enter religious life are at a great disadvantage, because they don’t really address sexuality within religious life. I think they go in age 17, 18 and they get stuck. Or there are people who enter religious life—I’m talking Catholic—[in order] not to deal with their own sexuality. There’s a lot of sexuality and experimenting within religious communities.


Back in those days I was really a practicing Catholic. I would try to catch Mass at the cathedral at noon. And here, all the churches are not really in favor [of gay rights]—although we did have Integrity and we had Dignity.[1] Dignity was much more active back in those days. But I remember being in church one time, looking around, and what do I see? All my gay friends are in church. I’m saying, “They don’t have to be here in the middle of the week, at a 12:00 noon Mass—these are the people who are here.” Well, when you talk about the Gospels, Christ never said anything about gay people, if you look at it. Certainly he never said anything. There’s never anything about lesbians. My concern is that the church has done a lot of damage to people. Yeah, I think some of the experiences I have had, in terms of assumptions about my being attached to females, that created a great deal of damage to me for a long, long time.

I went to MCC several times. [Austin Amerine] was a wonderful pastor that they had. He had this cane that had the head of a duck and he would talk to [it]. He was just really, incredibly nice. People really liked him. It was really comfortable to go to church when Austin was in charge. Then we had a woman in charge, and that was okay too. The kids from the gay-lesbian alliance [at Eastern Washington University] would go to the MCC Church.

You know what happened to the MCC Church, the main church? They went to some retreat and they said, “Well, you don’t have enough of a membership [in Spokane] for us to continue to support you.” That’s very sad.[2]


[1]Integrity and Dignity were religiously-based organizations that supported LGBT individuals who were not welcome in their home churches.

[2]The EMCC closed in 2010.


Source: Interview with Laura S. Hodgman on 3 June 2013.