By Dale Madison
When Rev. Jamie N. Grace was deciding upon the mission for WIG Ministries, he knew that at its heart it needed to focus on the youth of the LGBT community.
Grace says he founded WIG (an acronym for “Wild Inspirational Gatherings”) because he was tired of watching news reports of gay kids—many depressed and unable to find a reason to explore their wonderful young lives— committing suicide, and he decided to take action.
That decision comes to its fruition on Wednesday, May 16, with the first meeting of WIG Ministries at The Manor Restaurant and Complex in Wilton Manors. “I want not just young people but people of all ages,” insists Grace, who adds that “it’s not just about being gay, but about discussing everything from being masculine to line dancing, from music to getting older, from twinks to Bears, and every other aspect of gay life.”
“This is about teaching the next generation,” Grace explains. “That’s why I need all kinds of people to be involved. Every gay person struggles and strives to understand the nature of spirituality. WIG will do exactly that, with a framework that’s half spiritual and half education,” he says.
“I came from a New England Jewish background,” Grace recalls, “and my vision is to inspire kids to this life and be proud of their being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender.” Says Grace: “Folks have to realize that gays are the ‘other chosen people,’ and being chosen isn’t a choice, it’s a blessing, a miracle.” He sums up the purpose behind the ministry as “Being proud of who you are and what you are.”
He is also careful to point out what WIG Ministries is not. “This is not going to be a church type of atmosphere,” he insists. “It’s to be a cool space for all to come and enjoy. We are going to have a ‘Gangster Choir.’ As I call it, we will have three ‘fingers:’ WIGsters, videos, and limo rides. Many of these kids have never experienced any of these, and many have lived in fear of being found out.
I want them to learn to be able to live proudly,” adds Grace. “Right now, we have 3,400 Facebook friends, and it’s growing every day. Our first WIG Revival on May 16 will be followed by a private meet-and-greet with libations and appetizers,” Grace notes. He says of the event “It’s a musical, it’s a revival— no it’s Gay Pride every Wednesday night!” adding “I expect really friendly people, and The Manor has been so helpful in getting the ball rolling.
We are also inviting artists in the area to display their works.” “I am also looking for local impersonators to help entertain. So far I have Joan Rivers and Jennifer Hudson, Cher, Divine, and Pink—so I think it’s going to just be a great evening of getting people together.”
Grace then shares with a smile, “I used to be an impersonator by the name of ‘Trinity,’ so she may even make an appearance.” The WIG minister says that there is a suggested donation of $10.00 for the May 16 Revival, with VIP tickets available for $30.00. Grace is quick to point out that this isn’t a “cover charge.”
“No one will be turned away due to lack of funds,” adding that “This is just too important.” For more information, go to wigministeries.org.