Presentation on theme: "Quickscan An Overview of Christian LGBT Organizations in Eastern and Southern Europe “Lead Us Beyond Acceptance” Conference of the European Forum of LGBT."— Presentation transcript:
Quickscan An Overview of Christian LGBT Organizations in Eastern and Southern Europe “Lead Us Beyond Acceptance” Conference of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups Amsterdam, May 16-20, 2012
Seven organizations CountryOrganizationStatusBoardEmployeesFunding EstoniaGeikristlaste Kogu NGO2NoneNo LatviaAtvērtā Evaņģēliskā Draudze No legal status No boardNoneNo MaltaDrachmaNGO8NoneNo RussiaLight of the World No legal status 6NoneNo SpainACGILNGO4NonePublic institutions (local government) UkraineCenter of Saint Cornelius NGO3NoneNo MoldovaHomo Diversus NGO3NoneMCC, other church networks
Current situation: social status “The social status is improving. The media are very supportive to LGBT.” (Estonia) “There is more support for a gender neutral partnership law in the parliament of Latvia than some 5 years ago. However, there is still much of work to be done in terms of equality.” “Malta has gained ground with regards to more visibility of LGBT and is hoping to create better awareness.” “LGBT’s are not considered as social group whatsoever.” (Russia) “Transgender people have more difficulties, but LGBT’s have achieved a certain degree of social recognition.” (Spain) “LGBT’s social status is very bad in Ukraine; because of a very high level of homophobia, all queer persons are stigmatised and discriminated.”
Current situation: legal status “Being LGBT is legal, the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal.” (Estonia) “In 2006 the Parliament of Latvia -under brainwashing of Christian party deputies- amended the Constitution of the country to determine marriage as union between a man and a woman.” (Latvia) “Cohabitation Law and Hate Crime laws are currently being discussed to cover LGBT rights.” (Malta) “LGBT’s are not considered as social group. Therefore they have no legal status whatsoever.” (Russia) “Marriage and adoption is allowed, at least currently, we will see with the new right wing government…” (Spain) “The situation became more dangerous because the Ukrainian Parliament made a new draft law to prohibit ‘Propaganda of homosexuality and peadophelia’.
Current situation: churches The churches are… …persecuting LGBT’s and openly supportive clergy (Estonia)...rejecting the possibility of being active LGBT and part of the church. (Latvia)...accepting every person and value highly the dignity of each person, but nevertheless hold an official position which condemns the act of homosexuality. (Malta)...considering LGBT’s as the most sinful people who deserve hell only. (Russia)...only in a few cases gay friendly. (Spain)...only accepting LGBT’s as good members when they hide their sexual orientation. (Ukraine, Moldova)
Most urgent problems LGBT’s feel unwelcome in the church. LGBT’s are not fully recognized by all religious institutions. LGBT’s are discouraged to come out and/or get involved in the Christian LGBT Movement. LGBT’s leaving the churches and/or have a hard time uniting their faith with their sexuality Political backlashes such as new laws preventing LGBT’s to lobby and demonstrate will harm all LGBT’s, including Christians. LGBT’s internalize homophobia. The lack of an affirmative Church (-group) as an alternative for the oppressive and rejecting church.
What’s already being done? Christian LGBT’s are… … publishing articles … keeping websites … investing in alliances with secular LGBT organisations … looking for allies within the church … involving their parents and friends in their struggle … campaigning … protesting … facilitating public talks … creating safe places for themselves to meet … developing new theologies and ways to interpret Scripture … organizing their own church services … struggeling to keep the NGO existing, after having fought for more than a year to get it registered
Plans for the future Publish books Organize seminars Create an intellectual space for expression and exploration Find teachers to give instructions Find an office space Find an icon of Saint Cornelius!
Conclusion StrategyOpportunityRisk Try to make changes within the church Recognition for LGBT’s within the institution Be excluded from the community, for clergy: to be dismissed Find a “room of one’s own” outside the church Space for spiritual and intellectual growth and self-consciousness Become detached from the church Raise awareness in society Find allies among secular parties, reduce influence of the church Increasing polarization with the church. The situation for LGBT’s in most countries is improving (more recognition and visibility, extension of legal rights). However, there is also a backlash in some countries (Russia, Ukraine) where rights are being restricted. Churches sometimes get actively involved in political campaigns agains LGBT rights. (Almost?) never are they actively involved in supporting LGBT’s. Christian LGBT’s can opt for several strategies, all with possibilities and risks attached: -