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An interfaith perspective

“Beloved Community” is a product of Queer Rock Camp’s commitment to love and inclusion

On Saturday evening, August 15, at downtown Olympia’s Film Society, amid the din and jubilation of vibrant rock music, I experienced a profound sensing of spiritual magnificence.

World religions and spiritual traditions all profess love, diversity, inclusion—principles to be embraced and yet, too often, seem abstract and without substance.

Olympia Queer Rock Camp is the personification and amplification of “Beloved Community”. Please absorb the profundity of Queer Rock Camp Collective statement of truth:

“Queer Rock Camp empowers youth and builds community through music.

We support the fluidity of gender and sexuality, and see music as a way to amplify resilience and self-expression. Queer, trans, gender-variant & allied youth ages 12 – 21 learn new instruments, form bands and write original songs all in the course of one week. All this hard work culminates in a final performance…”

The “Beloved Community” is planned over the course of each year, this being its fifth in Olympia and first in Seattle. Approximately 50 volunteers carved out of their lives, a full week to participate in creating camp and guiding the 50 campers who came from across Washington and other states. Out-of -town campers enjoyed the hospitality of host “families”. All campers were transported to the “camp”—Lincoln School, where each day unfolded rich, organized experiences, complete with much good food and generous amounts of loving attention.

Again, the words of the Queer Rock Camp Collective:

“ At Queer Rock Camp we are committed to creating a safer space for everyone, particularly those who are affected by oppression and marginalized systems such as homophobia, transmisogyny, transphobia, adultism, sexism, racism, classism, fat phobia, ableism and many others.”

The organizers and participants all “seek to create a space that feels safer for us to bring the marginalized parts of ourselves into the center where they can shine. And, the volunteers “…all have the responsibility before, during, and after camp to look deeply at the places in our lives where we hold unearned privilege, examine our internalized biases and ‘isms’, build and practice allyship skills, and be thoughtful about how our access to privilege and resources impacts how we take up space at camp.”

I am awed with the incredible spiritual maturity embedded within the framework of this wonderfully, fun-loving, music-producing, and celebrating intentional community. Within the context of Queer Rock Camp, concrete, intentional effort is implemented in providing opportunity to disperse separations and expand individual and group transformation as genuinely deeper loving beings. May Olympia’s Queer Rock Camp continue to shine as a living, breathing example of how a “Beloved Community” can be grown, transcending ignorance and narrowness to become a non-linear, formless spiritual realm supporting the fluidity of gender and sexuality—ever adapting the language and its articulation, to encompass all.

Wisdom lyrics by one of Queer Rock Camp bands:

We are human

What the &*%^ is the problem with how we dress or act

I do as I feel is right because no matter what, I am me and

I deserve the best…

Even though you don’t agree with how I am,

I will always stay true to myself.

Rock on Princess Wombat and all the bands of Olympia Queer Rock Camp 2015 for leading our way into universal “Beloved Community”.

Selena Kilmoyer is a board member of Interfaith Works

More information on Queer Rock Camp can be found on their website




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