June 29, 2022 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

GUEST COLUMN: Queer Mindfulness Meditation

InsightLA is a non-profit meditation center offering practices of mindfulness and compassion that are both secular and Buddhist in origin. 

For 17 years, InsightLA has been offering classes, silent retreats, and special events, with nearly 70% being offered on a donation-basis so that these teachings can be accessible to anyone regardless of financial means. Additionally, InsightLA offers financial support to any fee-based program so that no one is turned away for lack of funds. 

InsightLA is an open, inclusive and welcoming community comprised of folks who practice mindfulness. In addition, InsightLA has a social justice arm called Insight in Action that makes mindfulness meditation freely available to the dedicated caregivers, social justice and environmental activists, first responders, teachers, and individuals who are on the front lines of suffering in Southern California and beyond.

Queer Mindfulness is an affinity group at InsightLA that is led by a team of facilitators who identify across the LGBTQ+ spectrum and likewise open to anyone identifying along the spectrum of queer identities, regardless of prior meditation experience. This group is an opportunity to practice meditation in community, build wholesome connections, and be mindfully present to the joys and sorrows that arise from living in the world as a queer person. The format of each monthly meeting is guided by two facilitators who share a talk, give a 30 minute guided meditation, and facilitate small group breakout sessions with opportunities for community discussion.  

The concept for Queer Mindfulness, like any affinity group, arose from the desire for people to share a safe space with others who understand and share their experience. It is so rare for queer spaces to exist that encourage vulnerability, build resilience and genuine connection, and are not centered around party-scenes or substance use. Queer people also face pervasive institutional bias, violence, and social stigma making it challenging for folks to safely be out. Queer people are also smaller in numbers than straight and cis-gender folks, which means that queer people are frequently underrepresented and isolated. With all that said, Queer Mindfulness at InsightLA is intended to be a refuge for folks to feel at home amongst people who desire to be compassionate and present for one another and who just “get it.” 

Members of the queer community have been incredibly receptive to this group and just keep coming back. Each month, there are roughly 20-40 people in attendance from across sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, age, race, culture and also varying experiences of being out. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from community members. Here’s what two people had to say about how the group has impacted them:

“There’s not a lot of LGBT groups like this where you get to learn from people and get to know what it’s like for them and just be intentional. I have other gay men’s groups but they don’t include the L’s, B’s or T’s of our community. This group helps me see how we have more in common than meets the eye.” 

“I didn’t think I could meditate before coming here. The teachers made it so easy to understand. Don’t get me wrong, paying attention to my mind is still hard (haha) but I’m also learning to not be so hard on myself. I do have a lot of shame but this group helps me feel like I’m part of a community. I’m so grateful it exists.” 

The hope is that queer folks will feel welcomed and valued at InsightLA no matter what programs they attend and at the same time, know that there is a dedicated space just for them to practice, heal, celebrate and build community. The intention is that everyone who attends Queer Mindfulness leaves feeling more connected, more present, and more compassionate toward themselves and others. 

We hope you’ll join us every 2nd Sunday of the month from 3:30pm – 5:30pm at InsightLA East Hollywood (4300 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029)! Here is the link to learn more: https://insightla.org/event/queer-mindfulness/2020-02-08-17-00/

Related Posts

California Trans Child Molester Gets 2 Years In Juvenile Facility

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A Los Angeles County judge ordered Hannah Tubbs, a transgender California woman, to serve two years in a juvenile facility...

Homeless Initiative Meeting In West Hollywood

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative works to address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response. It’s estimated that...

WeHo Premieres the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood announces the premiere of the Moving Image Media Art (MIMA) program and the worldwide debut...

LA Street Will Potentially Be Named After Anti-LGBTQ Singer

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A portion of Bailey Street may be renamed to the late Mexican Mariachi singer ” Vicente Fernandez Street’ – a...

WeHo Spreads Word About Free Covid Testing

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood is reminding residents that free COVID-19 testing is available for them.  Demand for COVID-19 testing...

Green Qween New Queer-Owned Cannabis Shop Will Open Downtown

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

Green Qween, a new queer-owned and queer-driven cannabis shop, will open in downtown on April 20th.  The shops owners, Andrés...

2022 ‘WeHo Reads’ Series Celebrates the ‘Road to Joy’

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to celebrate literature and local authors with its 2022 WeHo Reads literary...

New CA Law Helps With Transgender Deadnames

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

A new California law requires public colleges to update diplomas and records for transgender students who have changed their names....

MJ Rodriguez, 1st Openly Transgender Actress to Win Golden Globe

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Michaela Jae “MJ” Rodriguez has made history by becoming the first openly transgender person to win a Golden Globe.  The...

Animal Shelter Donations In Honor Of Betty White

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Animal shelter donations have increased exponentially in honor of late actress gay icon and animal lover Betty White. Over the...

AIDS/LifeCycle 2022 Needs More Volunteers

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

AIDS LifeCycle is back with more than $4 million raised so far for the 2022 ride benefitting the HIV/AIDS-related services...

Long Beach Named One of the Best LGBTQ Cities

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

For the 10th year in a row Long Beach has been named one of the best cities in the nation...

Gay Wedding At Dodger Stadium

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Eric Braverman and Jonathan Cottrell will exchange vows at Dodger Stadium. Showing the progress the LA Dodgers have made as...

LGBTQ Haven in Long Beach

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Long Beach is quickly becoming more and more of a safe haven for LGBTQ individuals with its queer spaces exploding...

Gerrie Schipske Enters Long Beach Mayoral Race

January 6, 2022

January 6, 2022

Gerrie Schipske announced on Thursday, December 30th that she would run for Mayor of Long Beach this year. The second-term...