Leigh Wilmot is a recent college grad. She was a eucharistic minister at her catholic college in Rhode Island. She is also a lesbian. It was not until the last two years that Wilmot was forced to face her biggest fear. Her sexuality. It was a subject in her life that brought both shame and hurt. Her mother was a devout Catholic and has now become a fundamentalist Protestant, a denomination that follows a strict interpretation of the Bible. When she first faced her sexuality she was both confused and ashamed. She knew she loved God, but was also aware of her wrongdoing in the context of the theology she grew up with.
To deal with her feelings of disgrace, Wilmot found herself abandoning her connection with God in order to come to peace with her sexuality. She took time away from church. But a cordial invite from a friend encouraged her to attend the First Somerville Church. The church was hosting its 2nd Annual Drag Gospel Festival. She was immediately intrigued by the church when she passed under the pride flag hung over the entrance. She was drawn to the aura of the congregation and service. She expected the drag show to be cliché, but was quite surprised by the intensity of the service. She cried at the image of the female minister dressed in pride garments walking down the sanctuary aisle. Coming from a strict Christian and Catholic background, the sight of a woman in clergy yet alone dressed to support homosexuality was unheard of to her.
Since that initial visit in October, 23-year-old Wilmot has been to church every Sunday. Her new found spirituality is helping the transition of “coming out” just a little bit easier because she has her church friends to support her as well as the word of God to guide her. She is working on balancing her two identities and hopes to be involved in the youth ministry at the church to help be a mentor for young adults who may be having similar issues.