Being Queer During the Pandemic Interfaith Panel

On Sunday, Feb. 28 from 2:00 to 3:30pm, speakers from four faith traditions will share their experiences of being queer during the Covid-19 pandemic. These are hard times for everyone but for LGBTQIA+ people— who have often felt religiously condemned and isolated from mainstream society–the quarantine adds an additional layer of difficulty. Speakers from four traditions will share their experiences of being queer during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Join via Zoom:

Meet the panelists, including MSUM School of Social Work alum, Cody Severson:

Buddhist: Rev. Wakoh Shannon Hickey, PhD. Wakoh (she/her) identifies as lesbian. She is a Spiritual Support Counselor (chaplain) for Hospice by the Bay in Northern CA. Rev. Wakoh is also a priest of Sōtō Zen Buddhism and a scholar of Religion in Modernity, specializing in North American religious history, Buddhism in Asia and the West, religions and medicines, and interfaith engagement. She is author of Mind Cure: How Meditation Became Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Jew: Eliana Shira Rubin. Eliana (she/her) identifies as a queer trans woman. She is a queer artist and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. She received her B.F.A. in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (ETW), and is currently a candidate for the Masters of Educational Leadership at Hebrew Union College-JIR. Eliana aims to intersect Jewish, theatre, and LGBTQ+ education. She is also a singer-songwriter and an avid fan of movie theatre popcorn.  

Christian: Pastor Joe Larson. Joe (he/his) identifies as a gay cisgender man. Since 2016, he has served St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fargo and was the first openly queer pastor called by a Lutheran congregation in North Dakota. Joe received his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary. Previously, he worked in the nonprofit sector, especially the HIV/AIDS field. Joe is also an artist, and enjoys creating paintings and mosaics.  

Atheist: Cody Severson. Cody (he/him/his) identifies as gay. Growing up Lutheran, he became comfortable in atheism after reading Chris Stedman’s ‘Faithiest’. He is a graduate student at Tulane University studying Public Health, and works with several nonprofits: Community Uplift Program and Presentation Partners in Housing. Over the last year, Cody has leaned into atheism more, where it has assisted him in reconciling the different aspects of life during a pandemic and how society interacts.

Moderator: Dr. Jacqueline Bussie (author of Love without Limits) is a professor of religion & director of the Forum on Faith and Life at Concordia College (Moorhead, MN).

Organized by the FM Interfaith Center, Concordia Colleges Forum on Faith and Life, and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of Fargo, ND.