Queer Intimacies and the Poetry of Friendship

By Alicia R. Forde and Su Yon Pak

The Reverend Alicia Roxanne Forde serves with the Unitarian Universalist Association as the Director of the International Office. Alicia has a passion for engaging individuals and communities in discerning what they most care about and working alongside others as they seek to enact Love and Justice in this world. She has developed a profound appreciation for self-care, grounded leadership/organizational development, and the crucial importance of meaningful connections in establishing sustainable lives. Alicia was born and spent her formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. She identifies as a Black, queer, cis-gender woman with deep roots in Tobago. She considers herself bi-cultural and is grateful that her formative years enabled her to cultivate a global perspective. Alicia is a certified Spiritual Director and has a strong interest in health and wellness. When she's not hiking, you can find her reading, working-out, or podcast-walking. She is a graduate of The Iliff School of Theology (MDiv ’03) and currently lives with her partner and nephew in Longmont, Colorado.

Su Yon Pak (she/hers) is the Senior Director and Associate Professor of Integrative and Field-based Education at Union Theological Seminary, NYC. In this hybrid faculty-administrator position, she envisions, creates, and oversees the curricular and co-curricular work of field education, chaplaincy concentration, clinical pastoral education, ministerial formation, and combined courses inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. She is the co-author and co-editor of "Sisters in Mourning: Daughters Reflect on Care, Loss, and Meaning" (Cascade, 2021). She is interested in exploring the intersection of queerness and contemplative traditions as a spiritual director. Most importantly, she is a proud grandmother of Isobel and our grand puppy, Chara.

Part 1
Two Friends Reflect on the Poetry Friendship

If you’ve ever been in the presence of someone who is unafraid of themselves and thus unafraid to truly see you — then you know that it is sacred and holy. The space between you is where the divine shows up fully. There grace abounds.

Part 2
Two Friends Reflect on Vulnerability and Queer Intimacies

I was challenged with Su not to lapse back into my tendency to be shy or to run away when I feel exposed. The practice was — and remains — to keep showing up. To stay present to the unfolding of a relationship built — from the outset — on the foundation of vulnerability. It is far from easy.

Part 3
Two Friends Reflect on Finding Home in an Upside-Down and Inside-Out Friendship

How will we transcend this cloistered pandemic moment that allowed for intimacies to flourish — intimacies that are usually interrupted by the busyness of the world? How will we respond to being shaped and reshaped by the inbreaking of the “real world”?