Darren Holman said his Mormon family renounced him after he came out as gay, and he was forbidden from attending his grandmother’s funeral. Brandon Petross Oliver, on the other hand, watched his conservative, religious grandmother warmly welcome his engagement to another man. Steve Pieters said his Christian faith gave him the will to live in 1984 after doctors told him he would die of AIDS complications within eight months.
Through stories and song, members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles on Saturday shared struggles to reconcile faith with identity in a program titled “I Rise,” an emotional meditation on the nuanced and often-tense relationship between religion and the LGBTQ community.
“A lot of gay men have been hurt, have been harmed by religion, and we hope to heal,” the chorus’ executive director, Jonathan Weedman, said in an interview Saturday. “We hope that with this concert, we create a dialogue, we create an experience in space, where members of all faiths come together in love and understanding.”