Thursday, December 22, 2011

Portraits of NYC's Homeless LGBT Youth

The Huffington Post 's Carl Siciliano profiled a series of young LGBT people who are living on the streets of New York City, vying for a chance at the few available shelter beds.  An estimated 40% of the 3,800 homeless young people (13-18) in NYC identify as LGBT.  Many have been ejected from their home situation due to homophobia or misguided fears about their orientation "spreading" to other children.  Many turn to prostitution as a means of survival.  Some found temporary solace among the Occupy Wall Street protestors.  Despite their dire circumstances, many speak of future goals: education, legitimate work, a normal life.

If you are in a position to do so, please considering support of the Ali Forney Center, which provides services to at-risk LGBT youth in NYC, or The Church, a Saturday evening program at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke-in-the Fields, just off Christopher Street where many LGBT youth from NYC and NJ congregate.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Parish Spotlight: Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, NJ

A congregation with a long history of inclusion has recently placed new energy into "believing out loud".

The Church of the Redeemer, in downtown Morristown, N.J., whose mission statement describes it as "a Christian Liberation community in the Episcopal tradition," has long been a place of radical hospitality. As its marquee has proclaimed for years, persons of every identity and belief system are welcome within its doors.  It recently called a new rector, the Rev. Cynthia Black, D.D., whose dedication to social justice meshes well with the church's history.

Redeemer has a number of public events in the month of October which are of interest to our community:
  • On Thursday, Oct. 13th, at 7:30 p.m., members of the congregation will host a discussion of Stephanie Spellers' 2006 book, Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other and the Spirit of Transformation.  The book is described as "a practical theological guide for congregations that want to move beyond mere inclusively toward becoming a place where welcoming 'the other' is taken seriously and engaging God's mission becomes more than just a catch-phrase.
  •  On Sunday, Oct. 16th at 7:00 p.m., the gospel duo and same-sex couple Jason and deMarco will offer a concert to benefit S.A.F.E., a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing safe housing for LGBTQ youth and young adults throughout the United States. 
  • On Thursday, Oct 20th at 7:30 p.m., Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda will speak about his work with LGBT people in his country as part of a nationwide tour organized by the St. Paul's Foundation for International Reconciliation.  Bishop Christopher will also preach at Redeemer's 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday, Oct. 23rd.   "Bishop Christopher is one of the most courageous people I know. At great risk to himself and to his family he has been willing to speak truth to power-- in this case, the truth of God's love to the Anglican Church of Uganda, and to the Government of Uganda," said Rev. Black.
Redeemer has long been a Sponsoring Congregation of The OASIS.  The congregation is a Proud Parish Partner supporting the work of Integrity, and is adopting the Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation marque, which was somewhat of a "no-brainer" given its place in the vanguard of LGBT inclusion in our area.

Vestry member Steve Osvold told us, “Redeemer has a long history of social action and LGBTQI inclusion, but we’re definitely seeing a new burst of energy and commitment. Some of that grew out of our response to Tyler Clementi’s death last year, but it also reflects where we are as a parish, with an energetic and visionary new rector and a desire to see what new things we can do to make the world better reflect the world Jesus described in the Gospels. Redeemer’s generally been more interested in what’s possible than in the status quo, I think, and so many people seem to be seizing on that at this moment. It’s really an exciting time to be at Redeemer!”

In the 1980s, the congregation, which at one time was one of the largest in the Diocese of Newark, was coping with dwindling membership and a perceived lack of direction or purpose.  Coping with the reality that the parish must reinvent itself or die, the members called The Rev. Philip Dana Wilson as their fifteenth rector.

Under Wilson's guidance, the congregation responded to the illness and death of one of its own from HIV/AIDS in the early 1990s.  At a time when many still refused to care for AIDS patients, the members set up an AIDS ministry and converted Redeemer's oversized rectory into the Eric Johnson House, a residence for persons with HIV/AIDS who are coping with homelessness or transition in their lives. Today the House is operated by New Jersey AIDS Services, a nonprofit separate from the church, but a symbiotic relationship with the congregation remains.

This focus on caring for the disenfranchised and underserved has blossomed into other ministries and is now at the core of the parish's identity.  These are just a few of the ministries that the congregation now participates in or supports, a textbook example of the response predicted by The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel in her study To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations.  In her research, Rev. Voelkel found that congregations who intentionally self-identify as LGBT-welcoming experience a further "hunger and thirst for justice" which leads to further commitment to social ministry.

When the time came to search for a new Rector, the congregation knew it needed someone who shared its commitment to inclusion.  The call went to The Rev. Cynthia Black D. D., who had long served as Dean of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but was herself a product of the Diocese of Newark, ordained here in 1985. Rev. Black's own history of social justice and AIDS awareness work won her the praise of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, who stated, "Her ability to grasp the many dimensions of any situation and to articulate them clearly and boldly have been a gift to the Council and the church."
Today, Redeemer has been blessing same-sex relationships for over twenty years. The congregation also recently started its own LGBTQIA group led by parishioner Leah Thomas, who stated, "With the death of Tyler Clementi, the Church is developing a concerted outreach to the wider LGBTQ community, both local and global. As part of this effort, we are proud to host Bishop Senyonjo to help raise awareness of the situation of LGBTQ people in Uganda."

The OASIS is proud to call Redeemer a partner in the work of furthering equality, and we look forward to participating in this month's events.  Redeemer is located at 36 South Street in Morristown, N.J., within walking distance of the Morristown Station on the Morristown Line of NJ Transit Railroad.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NOM's Former Social Media Strategist: Organization's Grassroots Support "An Illusion"

Louis Marinelli, the social media strategist for the National Organization for Marriage who stunned people on both sides of the marriage-rights debate when he announced he is changing sides, wrote in his blog that NOM's grassroots base is largely "an illusion" and the reality is a handful of people funded by -- and presumably directed by -- anonymous donors.

Marinelli, who organized a publicity tour for NOM this past summer, said the group encountered lackluster support which was overshadowed at most stops by pro-LGBT counterprotests.

The illusion that makes up NOM’s base of support

Two Cents and a Couple of Copecks - Louis Marinelli

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NJ Lawsuit Begs Question: Who is a Man?

A Camden County transman's lawsuit against his former employer opens up a set of new legal and ethical questions: What is the ultimate definition of male vs. female, and who gets to decide?

El’Jai Devoureau, who was born biologically female but has identified as male his whole life and is legally so on official records, was fired from his job at a drug treatment center after he refused to answer his boss's questions about whether he has had gender-reassignment surgery. The job he was doing is restricted to men only because it involves witnessing men providing urine samples for drug tests.

A Lawsuit’s Unusual Question: Who Is a Man?
New York Times

Former GOP Senator: Homophobia in Party "Disgusting"

Former senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) called out members of his party for homophobia and sexism. Speaking on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Simpson railed against rhetoric and efforts to thwart the rights of women and gay people.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bishop Christopher to UN: Decriminalize Homosexuality

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, who has sacrificed his personal livelihood and safety to speak out on behalf of LGBT Ugandans, addressed the United Nations on Friday. Among his key points was that de-criminalizing homosexuality is key the fight against HIV/AIDS. Currently 70 nations consider homosexuality a crime and seven enforce it with the death penalty. Uganda's parliament was presented last month with a bill that would have made it the eighth. Efforts by Bishop Senyonjo and others raised awareness around the world, which led to pressure on Uganda's government to table the bill. Those in favor of it also are encouraged by Western influences: evangelical ministers including Rick "The Purpose-Driven Life" Warren and Scott Lively have toured Uganda in recent years emphasizing scriptural messages that are favorites of anti-gay rhetoric.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Driving Force at NOM Has Epiphany on Civil Marriage

Louis Marinelli, who was the driver of both the "2010 Summer of Marriage Tour" RV and the National Organization for Marriage's social networking presence has told the blog Good-As-You in an exclusive interview that he has had a major epiphany on the subject of same-sex marriage and now supports civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

In addition to driving the motorhome used for the tour, Marinelli created the Twitter feed and Facebook pages which NOM eventually adopted as its own.

While he still feels that homosexuality is "wrong" and a health hazard, Marinelli now sees religious and civil marriage as two separate things and feels same-sex couples are entitled to the rights and protections afforded by a civil marriage license. While he still considers himself part of NOM, he feels the organization should focus on religious marriage.

Marinelli's views changed, ironically enough, because of the personal encounters he had with gay and lesbian people he met during the NOM tour. He started to see them as "real people" and that "instead of trying to destroy American culture, they just wanted to take part in it." He became alarmed by the hateful rhetoric his social networking efforts had attracted and has distanced himself from some of the more vocal opponents of gay rights. He came out in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal in December.

Some of his shifts are more nuanced; for instance, he still takes issue with the LGBT community "tacking onto" the black civil rights movement, saying that gay rights is not the civil rights movement, it is a civil rights movement.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Is the Kill-the-Gays Bill in Uganda Dead on Arrival?

There is cause for cautious optimism as a report in the Box Turtle Bulletin blog states that Uganda's "Kill-the-Gays Bill" appears to have been shelved. It had been on the table for discussion by the Parliamentary Affairs Committee, but it appears that someone, possibly President Museveni himself, directed that it be dropped because most of its key provisions are addressed in other existing legislation.

Needless to say, David Bahati, the bill's sponsor whose name it unofficially wears, is furious and is not likely to give up his personal anti-gay agenda easily. Bahati is a member of "the Family" (sponsors of the National Prayer Breakfast) and has connections to ex-Episcopalians at Truro Church in Virginia. Prominent U.S. evangelical preachers, including Scott Lively and Rick Warren, have traveled to Uganda and helped fan anti-gay sentiment among the country's Christians.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Apple Yanks Exodus "Ex-Gay" App

Apple quietly removed an iPhone/iPad app created by "ex-gay" group Exodus International from its iTunes online store after over 150,000 people signed a petition complaining about it.

The creators of the petition are a Vermont think tank called Truth Wins Out, a name deliberately similar to "Love Won Out," the name of an ex-gay "ministry" created by Focus on the Family and later sold to Exodus International, creators of the now-removed app.

Truth Wins Out cites a document called "Just the Facts" crafted by the nation's leading mental health and educational bodies (including the American Psychological Association and the National Education Association) that condemns "ex-gay" therapy as misleading and generally harmful. It points out that Apple's policy is to reject racist or bigoted content, and questions a double standard. Among other complainants is Dr. Gary Remafedi, a professor of sexuality at the University of Minnesota, who told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Wednesday that Exodus misquoted his research to make its case that homosexuality is an adolescent phase that can be arrested with therapy.

In a November blog post, TWO quotes an Exodus statement in which the group states it will target young people (beginning in middle school) with its message that sexual orientation is a choice which can be influenced through prayer. Given the rash of highly-publicized suicides of gay or gay-perceived youth who were victims of bullying last fall (which Exodus has tacitly acknowledged its programs "might" encourage), TWO seeks to educate the public about what goes on at these "ministries". In a series of videos within the same blog post, ex-clients report being placed in close contact with sex offenders and being asked intimate questions about their anatomy by counselors.

Patrick McAlvey was also an Exodus client at the age of 19. He visited Exodus’ Lansing affiliate Corduroy Stone where he was counseled by Mike Jones. During counseling, McAlvey was asked about the size of his member and made to engage in erotic cuddling. He spoke out about the experience in a Truth Wins Out video

Apple cited the same logic for removal as a previous incident involving an app called "The Manhattan Project" arguing against same-sex-marriage, which Apple stated would "offend a large segment of the public." That petition only required 7,000 signatures to get Apple to change its mind.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Same-Sex Blessings Conference

On March 18th/19th, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church hosted a meeting in Atlanta of 200 members of the House of Deputies (clergy and laity elected to represent their diocese) to discuss implementation of same-gender blessings as mandated in a resolution passed at the church's General Convention in 2009. The conference was sponsored by a grant by the nonprofit Arcus Foundation and was streamed live over the Internet for further participation and transparency.

The Episcopal News Service posted a report on the meeting here. The Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, offered praise for the collaborative structure of the meeting but expressed concern that outside funds were required to make it possible. Nick blogs at

Deputies leave historic meeting eager to discuss same-gender blessings with wider church
Episcopal News Network

Thoughts on the Atlanta meeting
The Lead - Episcopal Cafe

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catholic Dad Weighs In on Prop 8

The former director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco and the father of a partnered gay son, Brian Cahill speaks out against the Catholic Church's continued support of Proposition 8, the bill that still prevents same-sex marriages in California despite being ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

My gay son: the face of church's lack of respect

San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, March 14, 2011

Transgender Man Installed as UCC Minister

The Denver Post reports on the installation of the Rev. Malcolm Himschoot as Pastor of the Parker United Church of Christ, a growing congregation in the Denver metro area. Comments were refreshingly tilted towards the positive at press time.

Church's transgender pastor grateful for life "beyond my wildest dreams"
Denver Post

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Giving to LGBT-Advocacy Organizations Drops... And They Keep Making Progress

According to the Movement Advancement Project's 2010 National LGBT Movement Report, giving to LGBT advocacy organizations dropped nearly 20% in 2010 due to a combination of the economy and an off-year at the ballot box. The full report is downloadable from within that article.

However, the majority of the major LGBT social justice groups included in the report are still quite vibrant and functional due to reduced spending, effective fund raising and sound management.

The recent major wins in the legal arena speak to their effectiveness. But -- as MAP Executive Director Ineke Mushovic pointed out in a March 2 column -- the LGBT population can and should be doing more to support these groups which are fighting many battles on our behalf, especially if we want the recent winning streak to continue.

LGBT Movement Makes Major Advances, But Are They Sustainable?
Ineke Mushovic in the Huffington Post

How Religion Can Help (and Hurt) Our Understanding of Marriage and Family

How Religion Can Help (and Hurt) Our Understanding of Marriage and Family
The Rev. Barbara Crafton in the Huffington Post

In her comments on the Obama administration's decision to cease Federal defense of DOMA in court, Barbara Crafton describes a yearning for the "traditional family" that conveniently overlooks a glaring reality: the Bible's understanding of what makes a family was no closer to the Right's Leave it to Beaver ideal than our contemporary one.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

By Grace Alone

In the context of encouraging Presbyterians to vote for Amendment 10-A, which would drop restrictions on LGBT clergy, The Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba makes an excellent Biblical case for inclusion in a piece titled By Grace Alone.

The Presbyterian Church USA, under the auspices of the organization More Light Presbyterians, is one of the denominational partners of Believe Out Loud.  Rev. Duba is the Former Director of Admission & Director of Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Former Dean at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

USA Today Column: Anti-Gay Rhetoric Rings Hollow With Americans

A column by Tom Krattenmaker in USA Today portrays conservative Christians being backed into a corner as the American public's perspective on LGBT people is being reshaped by real-life experience.  Groups that continue to plug homosexuality as evil risk losing the loyalty of their members when this rhetoric contrasts with their experience with LGBT people in their own lives.

In addition, a series of books about scripture and sexuality are painting a very different picture than the black-and-white "reality" the Christian right has traditionally presented. 

On gay rights, keep fighting or adapt?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Break the Silence Concert: More Details

Three renowned LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) choirs will come together for the first time to sing sacred and spiritual music, while lending their own unique voices to advance the existing Christian movement for LGBT equality.  The concert will take place in New York City at one of the oldest Christian institutions in the United States – Marble Collegiate Church.  The entire event is an initiative of the Believe Out Loud project, which is managed by the Collegiate Churches non-profit organization, Intersections International.

The three choirs are:

  • The New York City Gay Men's Chorus, which has appeared at such venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and performed alongside such stars as Liza Minnelli, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Channing and Eartha Kitt.  From Town Hall to City Hall, from the advent of AIDS to the struggle for marriage equality, the NYCGMC and its more than 250 members have been producing innovative programs and serving the LGBT community for more than 30 years.
  • The Anna Crusis Women's Choir, the longest running women's choir in the United States, was founded in Philadelphia in 1975.  In addition to being a premier performing arts group, they are an agent for social change that tackles issues facing LGBT persons and other disadvantaged populations.
  • Lavender Light Gospel Choir, a men and women's chorus, was founded in 1985.  The group consists of several ethnic and spiritual backgrounds, and provides a special ministry to African-American gays and lesbians—a constituency who have historically been pressured within their communities to choose between their race and orientation.
Sung Won Park, director of Believe Out Loud and all LGBT programming for Intersections International, called the coming together of the three choirs "a historical event to shout out God's love for all people, especially those who have been marginalized by the church as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"The time has come for us to take a stand," said Park, "and let the world know that being silent about our support of LGBT equality equals shutting the doors to the sanctuaries for these individuals."
Believe Out Loud, a trans-denominational movement to promote LGBT-inclusion in the Christian church, has begun a three-year drive to get one million progressive Christian voices to believe out loud and show the public that an all-inclusive Christian collective can save lives.  According to a recent poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, an astounding two-thirds of the respondents see a direct connection "between messages coming from America's places of worship and higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth." (

Within the Episcopal Church, IntegrityUSA, along with TransEpiscopal, The OASIS and other diocesan LGBT ministries, has adopted the brand"Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregations" for those churches who are intentionally welcoming and affirming of LGBT people.

"The church should serve to affirm life for all people," said Park.  "But if two-thirds of the public believes the church is not affirming life when it comes to LGBT people, it is a wake-up call to all churches to shift this perspective."

Believe Out Loud is an unprecedented coalition of the nation's leading religious and secular LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Gays & Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Progressive Christians Uniting; Public Religion Research; Christian Community Inc.; The Religious Institute; Many Voices; The Association for Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (American Baptist Church USA); Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance (Christian Church/Disciples of Christ); Integrity USA (Episcopal Church); Lutherans Concerned (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America); More Light Presbyterians (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)); The Coalition for LGBT Concerns (United Church of Christ); and The Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodist Church).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Uganda Update

 Bishop Christopher Senyonjo wrote a poignant letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the other leaders of the Anglican Communion about the plight of LGBT people in Uganda, punctuated by the recent brutal murder of David Kato, an LGBT activist and member of the church.

Meanwhile, supporters of the bill to make homosexuality a capital crime in Uganda are using the murder to drum up more support for their cause. 

Back at home, Bishop Gene Robinson wrote a guest column in the Washington Post entitled "Words Do Matter" in which he points out the connection between the violence in Uganda and religious figures on these shores, including Scott Lively and Rick "purpose driven" Warren.  David Bahati, the author of the aforementioned bill, is a member of a group called "The Family" who sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast.  President Obama attended the event, despite an outcry from many progressives.  He did so last year as well, and used the occasion to remark on the draconian law in front of its author.

In a slice of good news this week, a 29 y.o. lesbian woman who was under threat of deportation from England back to Uganda has been granted a reprieve while her case is reviewed, thanks in part to 30 members of the British Parliament and an on-line petition.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Break the Silence Concert

On Sunday, February 20th, Intersections International presents a spectacular concert to benefit Believe Out Loud, the multi-denominational revolution of welcome that's sparking new ways of thinking in churches across the country.


Join us for Break the Silence, an afternoon of spectacular music and celebration featuring the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir of Philadelphia, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Lavender Light Gospel Choir at the beautiful Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Proceeds benefit the Believe Out Loud project, a collaboration of Intersections International, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's Institute of Welcoming Resources, and twelve Christian denominations. Within the Episcopal Church, Integrity and the various OASIS diocesan LGBT outreach programs, along with TransEpiscopal, are working with congregations to promote inclusion. For more information on Believe Out Loud within the Episcopal Church, visit An Invitation to Become a Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.

Tickets are $20.00 in advance; $15.00 for groups of five or more; and $25.00 at the door.

For more information, contact James Rowe at Intersections International.

WHEN:  Sunday, Feb. 20th at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Marble Collegiate Church, 3 W 29 St, New York, NY
- Subway: 28th & Broadway (N,R) 28th & Lexington (4,6)
- Bus: X27 (5th Ave & W 30 St)

View Larger Map

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teenager Comes Out to Entire School in MLK Day Speech

Originally scheduled to sing at a Martin Luther King Day event at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, California, Kayla asked if she could speak to her student body instead. Here is her story.

25 years ago the idea of a high school student making a speech like this was about as inconceivable as Dr. King getting elected president in 1968. When we get frustrated at the seemingly glacial pace of progress, let's remember how far we've come.

"We ain't what we should be, we ain't what we gonna be, but -- Thank God -- at least we ain't what we was."


If someone knows who that quote is attributed to, please comment!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finding Jesus... At A Drag Show

As we mentioned in a recent post, Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Faye) has started his own LGBT-friendly congregation in New York City. However, as he tells the Huffington Post, he still had some of his own demons to deal with when invited to a performance by Ru Paul. He tells the Huffington Post what happened next.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lessons in Grace from Maurice Mannion-Vanover

The New York Times reports on the death of Maurice Mannion-Vanover, a young man whose short life -- anything but what society would call "traditional" -- has much to teach us all. He and his family belong to St. Luke's: Montclair.

Against All Odds, A Beautiful Life

"It Gets Better" Jersey Style

Students at the University of Medicine and Dentistry - New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., contribute a video to the "It's Getter Better" program.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ecumenical Prayer Meeting this Saturday in Oradell

Join Us For An Evening
Fellowship & Faith
January 22, 2011
5:30 PM at
The Church of the Annunciation
343 Kinderkamack Road
Oradell, NJ 07649

Bring Your Own Bible


Join us as we
share and grow in faith

Music, Fellowship & Faith

All are welcome!

Child care will be provided!
Entertainment for the children!
Fellowship for all to include light fare!

Contemporary & Non Denominational
Adult Prayer Meeting

Public Transport:
RAIL - Pascack Valley Line - Oradell Station
BUS - 165, 762

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Short Films Encourage Acceptance by Families

Courtesy of the Impact Program blog, "Always My Son" is one of a series of short documentary films called are being produced by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University to encourage the families of young LGBT people from a variety of cultural backgrounds to be supportive vs. judgmental.  Studies show a family's response can have a dramatic effect on a person's well-being.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Remaining Awake During a Great Revolution

Did you know that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last Sunday sermon was preached from an Episcopal pulpit?  He offered these words at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter & Paul (AKA the National Cathedral) in Washington DC on March 31, 1968, four days before he was assassinated.

As the nation attempts to make sense of the Tucson shootings and the degree to which the polarization of our ideals and politics played a role, Dr. King's words remain keenly relevant, especially for those of us whose permission to be full participants in society remains a commodity controlled by others.  Thanks to Fr. Ron Pogue for the link.  Read his thoughts here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A "Great Gay Awakening" in the Evangelical Movement

Today's Huffington Post article by Cathleen Falsani discusses the LGBT-welcoming ministry of Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Faye), and points out several others within the Evangelical movement who are having having a re-think of their understanding of the Bible's teaching (or lack thereof) of homosexuality as we understand it.

At the Believe Out Loud Power Summit in Orlando this past October, we met Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network, an organization that empowers and supports LGBT Christians.  The group's annual conference in Denver last month drew hundreds of attendees.

Meanwhile, busily undoing our work of reconciliation in Schenectady a city councilman and a couple of preachers are raising a stink about some affirming billboards targeting gay African-Americans sponsored by local LGBT group In Our Own Voices, as reported in the Albany Times-Union.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gay Athletes Speak Out

The other day we shared a blog called Born This Way, which is a collection of childhood photos, self-submitted, that suggests that non-normative mannerisms and interests associated with same-sex attraction are evident way before a child is thinking about such things.

Today, perhaps as a counter to that, we offer a blog (Three Kids, Three Time Zones, One Mission) written by three male varsity athletes who happen to be gay.  These young men are not ashamed of their orientation, but at the same time they seek to let the world know that not all gay folks will talk, act or have the interests we have been socialized to expect they will.  They invite other LGBT athletes, out or not, to share their stories, and some have done so. Not surprisingly, the world of competitive sports is not an easy place to be LGBT, and the scarcity of out athletes means it can be quite isolating.  Brad, Robert, and Ben seek to change all that.

Friday, January 14, 2011

They say "a mother knows"....

A new blog called "Born This Way" challenges the notion that same-sex attraction or the interests or mannerisms associated with it are either learned or magically appear at adulthood.  LGBT folks share childhood images of themselves and describe how they began to realize they were "different".

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Heroes

Daniel Hernandez, the gay assistant of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who helped save her life, was hailed by President Obama as a hero. 35 years ago, the gay man who saved Gerald Ford from a similar attack had a very different experience. 

 The Lead offers some commentary on a Los Angeles Times editorial comparing the two stories and their aftermath.

St. Aelred's Day Message from Integrity NYC-Metro Convener Mary O'Shaughnessy

On this Feast of St. St. Aelred, from a midieval manuscriptAelred , the patron of Integrity, below is a message from Mary O'Shaughnessy, the newly-elected Convener of Integrity NYC-Metro:

In its original incarnation, Integrity/NY served as a support and refuge for gay and lesbian Episcopalians who had very few welcoming parishes to choose from.

Today, we are blessed in the dioceses of Long Island, New York and Newark with a wide variety of parishes who have integrated LGBT people as members, leaders, and clergy.

You might well ask, “Why is Integrity/NYC-Metro needed?”

Our LGBT brothers and sisters need our support. There are many Episcopalian and Anglican LGBT people who are not as blessed as we are. This past fall, Integrity/NYC-Metro helped raise $6500 to support Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a Ugandan supporter of LGBT rights who has been stripped of all his income and threatened with death, because he believes in our equality before God. There are U.S. dioceses in which no openly LGBT person can present themselves for vocational discernment, solely by virtue of their orientation or identity. We need to continue to stand with those in need.

There are LGBT Christians who are seeking welcoming churches. Many LGBT people who were raised in hostile churches or denominations still love Jesus Christ and want to follow him as Lord, even though they feel shunned or alienated by “organized religion.” Integrity/NYC-Metro wants to reach out to these Christians and offer them the same gift we have found for ourselves—membership in welcoming, truly integrated faith communities. Parents of LGBT people have also found themselves choosing their love for their children over the condemnation of their churches, and they too seek church homes. We are actively working to identify parishes who want to be part of this Integrity/NYC-Metro movement.

We need to be as out as Christians as we are as LGBT people. Many progressive people scoff at Christianity as a close-minded, ignorant refuge for the hate-addicted and self-righteous. We need to fight that stereotype by coming out as Christian and LGBT wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Integrity/NYC-Metro is a supportive group for coming out as Christian!

Please join Integrity today. A portion of every member’s dues comes back to our chapter. This is how you can support our ongoing outreach to the LGBT community and the church. Visit and sign up at the Membership link. Be sure to specify Integrity/NYC-Metro as your chapter!


Mary O'Shaughnessy
To learn more about what Integrity NYC-Metro is planning, or to get involved, please visit us at

Friday, January 7, 2011

For Gates of Hope: Speaking the truth in love

Our Bishop, the Right Rev. Mark Beckwith, recounts his encounter in December with the Right Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, a retired bishop from Uganda whose ministry to LGBT persons in his country has come under attack under the anti-gay fervor being stirred up in part by Western churches.

For Gates of Hope: Speaking the truth in love