For many years (decades), we in the LGBTQ+ community suffered from the opposite of pride: shame. So, let’s congratulate ourselves on finding our pride and making it strong and solid.  But, now that we’ve established that we are proud of ourselves and our community, I wonder: “What’s next?”

Out of curiosity, I Googled “pride” and was reminded that it is considered one of the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath and envy are the others (funny how we’re not so excited about having those traits!) Then I was directed to “the seven heavenly virtues”. I sure don’t remember studying these in college.

The virtues – before they were called “heavenly” – were defined by the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato. However, when they first came into being, there were only four. It wasn’t until later that the other three were added. Let’s take a look at all seven and see if any of them could be useful to us today.

Chastity:  Well, what can I say? It’s certainly not high in most people’s priorities, is it? However, let’s dig a bit deeper. Could there be some usefulness for us here? Do we sometimes emphasize sex a bit too much? I am proud to be a sex-positive therapist, but I wonder if a little chastity might sometimes be a good thing? The definition of chastity also includes obstaining from sexual misconduct.  No games, no lies, no bullshit. Let’s also consider the friendship of romance – the emotional connection in sex – and cultivating good health and hygiene as part of a contemporary definition of chastity.

Temperance: “What the heck is that?” You may be asking. Temperance is about moderation – not going too far – finding a middle path, as the Buddhists recommend. The skillful use of restraint, mindfulness of other people, practicing self-control and delayed gratification are other aspects of temperance. For any of us with tendencies toward addictive behavior, temperance could be extremely useful. Drama queens, control freaks and perfectionists: this means you.

Charity: We think we know what this means, but let’s expand the definition to include situations where we put others first. It’s not just about benevolent giving. Do you know the spiritual term “agape”? This is charity at its best: aspiring to unconditional love and forgiving others for their mistakes. Good idea; hard to do.

Diligence:  Unless you’re a lawyer, this isn’t a word you probably hear a lot. It’s about being careful in your actions and work, having a healthy work ethic and the ability to not give up when the going gets tough. Can you do this at all times, even when no one else is watching?

Patience: For many of us, impatience seems to be our middle name. Living with patience is about not giving up when things don’t come quickly, resolving conflicts peacefully and creating a sense of  stability and community. Patient people have a quiet confidence: they keep working, hold to their vision and know that – eventually – good things will come to them.

Kindness: Here’s a virtue that most of us aspire to. Kindness is about compassion, empathy and trust without prejudice or resentment. As proud LGBTQ+ers, it’s easy to be kind to people who love and support us, but can we do the same to people who are afraid and condemn us?


Humility: Outside of spiritual circles, this seems to be rather passé. I love this quote: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” Humility is a spirit of self-examination and courage of heart necessary to undertake work that is difficult, tedious or unglamorous. It’s about honoring those who have wisdom, like our elders, giving credit where credit is due and not glorifying yourself.

It seems ironic to me that these seven old-fashioned sounding “virtues” are actually quite relevant to our LGBTQ+ community today. We have many good reasons to be proud of who we are, where we came from and what we’ve accomplished. Bravo! Good for us. But, since we’ve pretty much got that down, I think it’s time to ask: What’s next?

We are strong, we are smart, we are powerful. Could our next challenges be from growing more patient, kind, temperate, charitable, diligent, chaste and humble?

Just asking…