"Our instructor told us our bodies were like piece of fabric. When you have sex, it puts a hole in the fabric. Now who wants something with holes in it."
Struggling with Christian theology despite a love of Jesus and a Catholic School upbringing, Ricky Cintron converted to Hinduism. He was looking for a way to reconcile his sexuality with his sense of some spiritual in his life.
In Hinduism he found a reconciling of sorts, but did was it complete? "A lot of teaching tells us that our true nature is the soul." He said. "That means we're all equal, right?"
He found, however, that talking about true equality or intersectionality was difficult within the faith tradition.
"When I would try to talk about sexuality or gender or race, I would get shut down. 'These are all material things. That's divisive,' they would say."
As a queer person of color, Ricky felt that being told that talking about race is decisive was hurtful. There had to be a way to be himself completely, all the parts of himself.
He began to acutely feel a division between body and spirit. "In both of these religious traditions I was told to affirm my spirit at the expense of my body."
I had a crisis of faith. If you haven't had one, let me tell you, they're a lot of fun.
After 8 years a practicing Hindu, we picked up a Bible again. He began attending queer-affirming church services and investigating anew the way that he could be whole, body and soul. "One of the most healing things has been meditating on the fact that Jesus Christ had a body. Just like ours."
Ricky closed his Queer Voice in the World talk by asking the question "How do we begin to heal the divide between body and spirit?"
While acknowledging that he didn't have all the answers he suggested, "For those of us who are spiritual, I think we need to go deeper with our theology. We need to stop seeing the body and spirit as irreconcilable."
I've grown beyond seeing myself as a flimsy piece of fabric. I am so much more than that.