Hi readers! I’m a firm believer in having new year goals, rather than “resolutions.” Each year I select one thing to accomplish. 2017 was writing enough original songs to put together an EP (you can find the album, “Heartbreak and Unemployment,” on Spotify and iTunes). In 2018, I aimed to complete a full draft of the memoir.
I love Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It inspires me. So this year, I want to try doing standup at a comedy club. It may not be good, but I’m going to try it. You will not be invited. Nor will my family or friends. Because I intend to talk about all of you…
Aside from that primary goal, I have a few other goals for the year, and you can help to keep me accountable! Also let me know if you have experience or expertise relevant to any of these. I’d be happy to involve you as collaborators (i.e., you are invited for a ride on those potential disaster trains).
1. Draft a model non-discrimination clause for Catholic Schools. This has been on my mind for the last few months. I’d like to draft a clause that could be adopted by Catholic universities, high schools, and other organizations. I would like something that comes out of the teachings and traditions of the Church and that aims to protect SSA/LGBT employees who enter these organizations with goodwill but who might be afraid about being open about their experiences for fear of negative employment consequences.
I’m a firm believer in the importance of Catholic organizations—especially schools—with employees/faculty who uphold and teach the teachings of the Church in full, but even SSA/LGBT persons who do so often feel that they will suffer unjust discrimination. The only way to resolve this issue is to tackle it head-on, and I’m hoping that a thoughtful model clause could be helpful in this area.
Maybe no one will adopt it. I suspect that many organizations would have fears about implementing such a clause. Because, if Jesus taught us one thing, it’s: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” But I’d like to at least have it out there.
2. Move my memoir further towards publication. I’m hoping to get a full draft of the memoir (covering my experience as a gay Catholic at Notre Dame, focusing particularly on my friendships at the time and a romantic relationship I secretly had in school) into a publishable form over the next six months. I’ve been doing a lot of editing, but it still needs a lot more! As I’ve done more and more editing, I’ve become increasingly pleased with portions of the book and decreasingly pleased with it as a whole (because, though the highly edited parts are getting much better, I realize in the editing process how much more work can be done on the rest).
So I’m hoping to accelerate the editing process. Then I need to start looking at how to get it published. I need to figure out the querying/promoting thing and get moving on that! Anyone have advice on that process? I’m really hoping that this book can help people gain empathy and understanding for gay Catholics by giving a glimpse into some of my strange, soul-destroying, and life-giving experiences in the Catholic world, and I hope that it can encourage gay Catholics in their journey by showing them that, even if we are all different, they are not alone.
3. Publish a poem in a printed publication. I’ve got my eyes on you, Image Journal!
4. Host four meetings this year oriented towards encouraging and learning from SSA/LGBT Catholics in the Twin Cities. They dont need to be formal or big. They just need to happen. To start, I hope we can learn from each other by exploring three questions: How do I feel called to serve the Church? Where have I found community? What is the architecture of my prayer life?
To be honest, I have a lot of other goals. At work, I want to accomplish more (but be more humble). In my Church, I want to be more entitled (but hardworking). In my friendships, I want to be more demanding (but open). And in my writing, I want to be more ambitious (but intentional). But I’ll focus on doing standup for now.
So that’s what’s up for 2019. Any recommendations, ideas, suggestions, etc.?
Chris Damian is a writer, speaker, attorney, and business professional living in the Twin Cities. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D. and M.A. in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas. He is the author of “I Desired You: Intellectual Journals on Faith and (Homo)sexuality” (volumes I and II). He is also the co-founder of YArespond, a group of Catholic young adults seeking informed and holistic responses to the clergy abuse crisis. In his free time, he enjoys hosting dinner parties and creative writing workshops.