Andrew Gilliver, the wonderful host from the LGBT Foundation and a full time professional homosexual (his words not ours :-) ) said that often the people of faith, when confronted with the issue of LGBT, would withdraw into solitude, not wishing to confront in case they offend. However, Andrew suggested that organisations should rather deal with the offence felt and address the issue of LGBT. The LGBT Foundation had written to 60 or more people of faith inviting them to this event, but the response had been lacking – are they afraid of what they may find?
He also highlighted this source of recent statistics: http://www.youthchances.org/ which gives the issues faced by young LGBT individuals in our country today - well worth a read.
Manchester Pride have an interfaith group now and wish to introduce it into the Pride event next year, just as we saw in London last June.
The first of the external speakers was Rev Hayley Matthews, the Rector of Holy Innocents, Fallowfield and Trustee of the LGBT Foundation. She gave an illuminating talk on hospitality and how those in faith groups need to welcome all into their places of worship. The welcome needs to be inclusive but not invasive. What people do or whether they have a husband can be problem for LGBT individuals: the questioner needs to show respect.
In terms of those people ‘coming out’: in a recent survey: 6.3% were fully out; 0.5% had come out to their Boss; 45.6% had come out to a few people; and the remainder, 47.6% were not out. The question why has to be asked.
Here's Graham Sawyer Hayley Matthews and Kieran Bohan
Unconditional love =
congruency (being genuine) +
Unconditional Positive Regard +
We then heard a talk from a worker at the LGBT Foundation, gave a deeply personal account of how a Muslim may feel when confronted whether to come out as gay or not. He described his roller coaster journey moving through suicide, self-harm, deep utter isolation, desolation, suffering verbal and physical abuse before coming out and finding employment with the LGBT Foundation. You wonder how anyone could ask the question: so is this a lifestyle choice when people go through such trauma. He also mentioned how hard it is to speak with his parents about his feelings, how this is currently (and may remain so for some time to come) nigh on impossible to broach. We haven't included his name as he has yet to speak openly with his parents and we don't wish to hinder that by naming him here. But we do praise him.
We hope that such events will become a standard across the country but with a greater attendance from more of the clergy of all faiths, whether they be affirming or not. We have to talk and show His love.
Clink on the link below to download our presentation.