This page provides arguments and ideas for mobilising alongside, or as part of progressive communities of faith, for the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, as well as links to further resources. It is destined to be updated on a regular basis. Please send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Arguments for Action
It is relatively new that faith and religions have come to be used in the same sentences as human rights, and sexual and gender diversity. These connections do, however, constitute crucial human rights issues, if we are to live as ‘complete’ human beings – both in terms of gender and sexual diversity, and in terms of spiritual fulfillment and expression.
In many cases, particularly with mainstream and more traditional forms of religious practice, religious communities and practices have very often been dominated, as well as polarized, by forces from the conservative right. This has been most useful for those who wish to suppress gender, sexual and human rights. But it has also been useful for those who wish to suppress religious and spiritual diversity, and to exclude people who have more tolerant views within mainstream communities of faith.
These limiting voices have been active inside our homes, in our local politics, in national political debates and in global negotiations, often leaving little or no room for human rights-based decisions.
Homophobia, transphobia and sexism have in fact often been promoted as core values, where conservative religious voices are given free reign, sometimes forming even a backbone of social and religious belief – in the name of ‘public order’ and ‘traditional morality’, for example – which ultimately perpetuates long-standing ideas of LGBT people as sinful, sick or criminal.
At the same time, progressive voices of faith amongst religious groups have often been pushed aside, discredited and blamed, for not taking the right stances, or for not being on the right track. Some have even been accused of betrayal or complicity with evil.
LGBT members of faith groups have faced particular forms of discrimination; all too often rejected on the one hand by many LGBT communities, as well as by their own faith communities. LGBT communities often have been, and still are, targeted by stigmatization, and disowning by local communities, homes and religious leaders, and subject to attacks, insults, blackmailing and violence.
Amidst all of this, they have very often been stripped of their rights to express and to fulfill who they are, as complete and social human beings. LGBT people too have the right to faith!
We refuse to feel ashamed!
Social pressure – emphasising the need for certain ‘treatments’, statements and behaviors – from family members, community or religious leaders, and friends often seed internal homophobia and transphobia in us. This is one of the most hurtful yet effective ways of disarming the person, and also LGBT communities as a whole.
Community leaders, speak up!
Religious voices often justify violence against, and criminalization of, LGBT people through reference to religions. Of course these voices are not the majority, but they are mostly the loudest, which in the end draws false conclusions that all religious voices are in question.
Not only religious groups linked to the state, but also religious community leaders, and the faithful everywhere, have a say in the inclusivity of religions. In this sense, community leaders and people of faith everywhere, who may never become visible activists at the frontline of the LGBT movement, can also be valuable partners in condemning attacks committed in the name of religions or morality.
- Join the IDAHOT Global Inter-faith Prayer Initiative
Since 2007, the European Forum of LGBT Christians, in collaboration with Italian LGBT Christian group, Gionata, have been promoting annual engagements around May 17, on the part of progressive communities of faith. You can find out all about the Initiative here. In 2014, the organisers produced this toolkit on the Global Prayer Initiative, which you can download via this link.
- Official global website for the Global Prayer Initiative 2014 (Italian, English and Spanish)
- CALEM – Confederation of Associations LGBTQI Europeans and Muslims: www.calem.eu
- Article by CALEM on “Self Sustainable Mosque, Refugees Shelter and Muslim İmam-Es Training Center”, here.
- European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups:
- Global Interfaith Network on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (GIN-SOGI), here.
- Jerusalem Open House, here.