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Webinar on human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community set for Monday

The event is another in fulfillment of a 223rd General Assembly (2018) overture

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Michael J. Adee

LOUISVILLE — Dr. Michael J. Adee, a global advocate for human rights for LGBTQIA+, is the featured speaker during a storytelling webinar at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday. The event is open to everyone, but registration is required. Register for the free event here.

Adee is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ruling elder who served as executive director for More Light Presbyterians from 1999 until 2012 and helped lead the successful campaign to end the ordination barriers to LGBTQIA+ ministers in the PC(USA). He has also been instrumental in the founding of several national and international LGBTQ+ organizations and, during the webinar, will offer insight about what other churches and organizations are doing around the globe.

The event was planned in response to a 223rd (2018) General Assembly overture, On Celebrating the Gifts of People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities in the Life of the Church , approved by commissioners by consensus with amendments. In 2019, a committee was formed out of the World Mission initiative to engage the PC(USA) in responding to that overture.

Currently its members, from ministry areas across the Church, include the Rev. Mienda Uriarte, Luciano Kovacs and Sandra Duverge, World Mission; the Rev. David Maxwell, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation; and the Rev. Shanea Leonard, Associate for Gender & Racial Justice in the PC(USA).

The group identified several main goals to be addressed, including:

  • Confess ways World Mission and its predecessor names (e.g.  World Mission Division, Global Mission Unit, etc.) excluded and harmed persons who identified as anything other than heterosexual and cisgender.
  • Challenge the continued exclusionary practices, including in countries where queer people are criminalized.
  • Plan events/webinars/gatherings to bring together LGBTQIA+ people in the Church, including former mission co-workers and Young Adult Volunteers who struggled as queer folks in homo/transphobic environments, PC(USA) affirming partners and LGBTQIA+ activists from countries in different regions of the world for sharing and storytelling opportunities; suggest educational strategies to constituencies; and promote advocacy efforts.
  • Discuss ways to initiate conversations with partners across the world on LGBTQIA+ issues.

Earlier this year, the group met online and developed a questionnaire for former and current World Mission employees to identify any experiences they may have had or witnessed with regards to sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression. The purpose of the survey was to confess past harms and create new ways to support persons who are LGBTQIA+.

The storytelling webinar is one in a series of planned events.

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