Institute for Welcoming Resources The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Donate  Search



Towards a Welcoming and Inclusive Church

Resources

IWR is a program of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

IWR News

Email this pagePrint this page

Press Releases, Book Reviews, etc.

1) New Documentary Video: Call Me Troy
Tragoidia.com

Call Me Troy is the truly inspirational story about a remarkable and dynamic individual whose activism was decades ahead of its time; the Reverend Troy Perry.

To see a preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0TJIlR_U5Y
For more information: http://www.tragoidia.com/troy/

Rev. Perry is perhaps best known as the founder of the Metropolitan Community Church - the first church to recognize the spiritual needs of the gay community - but his “firsts” don’t stop there. He was the first openly gay person to serve on the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. In 1969, Perry performed the first public same-sex wedding in the U.S., in 1970 he filed the first-ever lawsuit seeking legal recognition for same-gender marriages and he was instrumental in turning back the wave of intolerance that swept the nation in 1977 that began with Anita Bryant’s Save the Children Campaign. From presidential advisor to outspoken advocate, Perry has been on the front lines leading the charge for equal rights and protections for gay men and lesbians the world over as well as providing a place for all people, gay and straight, to worship side by side.

Call Me Troy celebrates Rev. Perry’s life as a civil rights hero and his legacy of spiritual service to the LGBT community where he had the audacity to claim Christianity for himself and his community. Documenting four decades of unwavering service, this film is a nostalgic reminder of where we come from for some, and an astounding story of our roots for others.

Top of Page

2) New book, The God Box, great for teens
Reconciling Ministries Network, Flashnet, September 20, 2007

"The God Box" by Alex Sanchez and published by Simon & Schuster is available on amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com and other mainline vendors and can be pre-ordered on the web or at your neighborhood bookstore. This is an excellent resource for Christian teenagers addressing scriptural interpretations, ex-gay ministries, hate crimes, and coming out experiences all encountered in the lives of a set of teenage friends.

"Alex Sanchez evokes the crucifying experience of adolescents wrestling with their sexual identity and their identity as Christians. He does a remarkably faithful job of opening up long-abused biblical passages often used as proof texts to denigrate homosexuality. This book is a gift not just to teenagers, but to those who love and work with them."
--The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church

Top of Page


3) For the Bible Tells Me So
forthebibletellsmeso.org

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

Find out when the film will be shown in your area!

http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/screening.htm

Top of Page


4) GLMA Hails Groundbreaking Report Finding That Children Benefit When Their Same Sex Parents' Relationships Are Legally Recognized ~ Report appears in July issue of Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics
San Francisco, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, July 5, 2006

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association today hailed the publication of findings that legal recognition for same sex partners benefits their children.

The 16-page report, which includes an exhaustive review of the growing body of medical literature on same-gender parenting, concludes that "Children of same-gender parents often experience economic, legal, and familial insecurity as a result of the absence of legal recognition of their bonds to nonbiological parents" and that "legal recognition of a [same-gender] spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and secure environment for their children." The 2000 Census found that same-gender couples are raising children in 96 percent of all US counties.

The report, entitled "The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-Being of Children," appears in the July 2006 issue of Pediatrics, the scholarly journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP, with 55,000 members, is the largest and most influential professional organization for pediatricians in the United States. The report was commissioned by the AAP's Board of Directors, which specifically approved its broad dissemination.

Ellen C. Perrin, MD, Director of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and The Center for Children with Special Needs at The Floating Hospital for Children Tufts-New England Medical Center and one of the authors of the report, stated, "The scientific data overwhelmingly demonstrate that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of children's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. We conclude that civil marriage is beneficial to children, regardless of the gender of the parents, because it strengthens families and helps foster financial and legal security, psychosocial stability, and an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support."

GLMA's Executive Director, Joel Ginsberg, stated, "This report confirms what all parents know: that it's love that makes a family. State and federal legislators who say they're trying to 'protect' children by sponsoring constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage are not just wrong, they are actively harming the health and well-being of all our children."

Speakers:

Author Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
Southern Baptist Pastor Nancy Sehested
New Testament Scholar Reta Halteman Finger
Hymnwriter and Religion Professor Mel Bringle
Civil Rights Activist, Pastor, and Gospel Singer Mary Emma Evans

Music, Dance, and Drama Team:

Roman Catholic Liturgist, Author, and Peace Activist Sr. Martha Ann Kirk
Music therapist, Singer, and Liturgical Dancer Catherine Cuasay
Pianist Janice Pope

EEWC's Mission

We support, educate, and celebrate Christian feminists from many traditions.

Our Purpose

  • to encourage and advocate the use of women's gifts in all forms of Christian vocation.
  • to provide educational opportunities for Christian feminists to grow in their belief and understanding.
  • to promote networking and mutual encouragement within the Christian community.
We Welcome You

EEWC welcomes members of any gender, race, ethnicity, color, creed, marital status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, political party, parental status, economic class, or disability. Our biennial conferences sustain our spiritual connectedness and foster our learning about critical Christian feminist issues. Our quarterly newsletter, EEWC Update, provides Christian feminist news, thought, and inspiration. EEWC members network with and support each other through local chapters, regional events, and the Internet.

. . . .We call ourselves Evangelical (from the Greek word euangelion, "good news") because we believe that the Gospel is good news for all people. We call ourselves Ecumenical because we recognize that the Christian faith is expressed through a rich diversity of traditions. We are committed to the full inclusion of women with men in the home, the Church, and the world. We call ourselves Caucus to reflect our origin as one of the various caucuses of Evangelicals for Social Action.

Top of Page


5) Their own receive them not
National Black Justice Coalition, October 2007

Book Review by Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, retired United Methodist Minister:

Horace L. Griffin has written a powerful and illumnating book that addresses the reality of African American Lesbians & Gays in Black Churches with the above title (Pilgrim Press, 2006). It is a book that I reccomend shou be read and re-read by all who value the magnificent prophetic history of the Black Church. The book is a reminder that sadly, a Church that emerged from the history of slavery and racial segregation, the Black Church has revealed that despite this history, when its comes to the reality and rights of Black Gay persons in church and society, it can become a carbon copy of the white church that once supported slavery and segregation.

My experience as an ally/advocate of Gay rights is that we in much less severe ways than that of our African American sisters and brothers who are Lesbians and Gay men, are "not received" by much of the Black Church.

Dr. Sylvia Rhue, Director of Religious Affairs and Constituency Development of the National Black Justice Coalition has asked that I write these words for the Religious Newsletter.

In my 51 years of ministry that have been shaped by my participation in the Martin Luther King - led Civil Rights Movement, in city after city I have been a member of Ministerial Alliances, Black Caucuses and other groups that unashamedly address the continuing struggle for Black justice. We have talked about the negative re-segregation of public schools, gentrification, police brutality, the economic and healthcare disparities between black and white communities, the miserable failure of government at all levels in response to Hurricane Katrina Katrina, the racist, sexist and de-humanizing comments of Don Imus, etc., etc. But, only when Gay rights and same gender Civil Unions and Marriages become the topic of conversation bles are opened and verses are read that some interpret as being condemnatory of same gender love, commitment and sexual activity!

Why does conversation about Gay persons and Gay rights evoke such passion, defensivseness and biblical literalism that is not in evidence when we address some of the issues I mention above? Some thoughts.

1. While our enslaved foreparents were not biblical literalists because they experienced the Bible being "used" to enforce slavery and segregation, some of us have found it convenient to use Bible passages to critique and condemn same gender love. In The Slave Narratives one slave is quoted as saying this about the Bible and the slave masters: "They used the Bible like a stick against us". The words and music of the Spirituals that emerged from the plight of enslavement, focused on a Bible that was about liberation, not oppression, the love and acceptance of Jesus, not the hate and non-acceptance of those who attempted to control and later crucified Jesus.

Today, many anti-Gay leaders in the Black Church (and other Churches) seem not to comprehend or care, that when it comes to Gay folks, they can imitate white racist folk, in quoting Scripture to condemn them. It is said, that "Imitation is the finest form of flattery". It is beyond my comprehending capacity to understand why and how some Black preachers and Laity have no qualms about imitating the words, interpretations and actions of white racism when it comes to their homophobic heterosexism!

2. It is sometimes said that when a person becomes emotional, irrational, illogical and defensive in their protests about persons or groups of persons; "They protest too much!". This is a way of saying that those who seem to go beyond the best that is within them as they "talk about folk", there is more to their story than they dare admit! God's gifts of sexuality and sexual activity are gifts that are beautiful, yet complex. During his presidential campaign, years ago, former president Jimmy Carter created a stir when in an interview when asked about sex, he admitted his own struggles when he read the Biblical passage that said, "If a man looks at a woman in lust, then it as though he as acted on his lust". (A paraphrase). President Carter suggested that despite these words of Scripture, his eyes as they saw attractiveness in a woman, conveyed to his emotions a positive emotional and physical response.

I contend that just as some persons, white and non-white had/have difficulty with black-on-white affection that results in kissing and others forms of intimacy, some persons black and non-black had/have difficulty with same gender affection that results in kissing and other forms of intimacy. The Church has taught us that to be emotionally and sexually aroused is to come close to the edge of the not-good. Even in the marriage relationship! (It is still difficult for many of us to acknowledge that our parents "did it",to produce us). Same gender intimacy, just thinking about, provokes many persons to revert to the earlier ideas promulgated by the Church about sex,that demeaned and demonized it. I suggest that some who are negatively strident in their opposition to Gay persons and Gay rights, are expressing more about their own, unarticulated views about God's gift of sex as they engage in "Gay bashing", than they would admit.

3. "I love the sinner, but hate the sin". How many times have I heard a colleague say this to indicate that despite attitudes about love between same gender persons, he/she still holds on to the love ethic of Jesus. Whenever I hear these words, I wonder how many times in my 73 years of living have I heard a white person say or imply; "I love black people, but I hate their unwillingness to 'stay in their place'. Some of my best friends are black, but when they begin to 'act black' and not act like me, I must condemn them." I will never forget the words of the black Preacher who said; "If the KKK marched against same sex marriage, I would march with them." Most of us appropriately condemn Black-on-Black crime. When will Black persons of faith, from the pulpit to the pew acknowledge that there is a Black-on-Black crime we have not yet adequately addressed? It is the crime of not affirming and accepting African American Lesbians & Gays, openly, in the Black Church. Horace Griffin was "right on" when he wrote, their own receive them not. I am a witness to the fact that as a Black Ally/Advocate of Lesbians and Gays in the Black Church and beyond, although I would never claim anything like the ostracism Black Lesbians and Gays receive, in too many Black settings, my advocacy has been greeted with disbelief, disagreement and sometimes doubts about my commitment to the Black Agenda.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said; "Segregation is dead; it is just a question of how long and expensive some folk want to make its funeral". Anti-Gay bias and bigotry are dead. I am saddened that some of my Black colleagues in the church and in society are prolonging the funeral. They have not taken the to think about what it means for Black folk to align themselves with white folk in an attempt to deprive Gay folk of their humanity and their rights. Many of these white anti-Gay folk once used Scripture to suppress Black folk in the same ways they are now seeking to thwart Gay rights. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

But, thank God for the words and music of my ancestors. Many a day I remember how they used to sing and say; "You can talk about me just as much as you please. But, I can talk about you when I get on my knees." May we as Black Gay and straight people, despite our differences, despite the many ways we hurt each other, hold each other up in prayer. "God is good all the time. All the time, God is good". I am a witness!

Gilbert H. Caldwell
Asbury Park, New Jersey

Top of Page


6) CALL ME MALCOLM: video, study guides & Discussion Guides
UCC and Filmworks

"Call Me Malcolm" was co-produced by the UCC and Filmworks, Inc., and since it's debuted at the Riverside (Calif.) International Film Festival (2004), it has screened across the country and around the world, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Adelaide (Australia), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Mexico City.

The 90-minute film tells the story of the Rev. Malcolm E. Himschoot, then a UCC seminary student, who poignantly explores his struggles with faith, love and gender identity.

"'Call Me Malcolm' is part of the United Church of Christ's effort to provide resources for churches and other organizations to explore and nurture God's extravagant welcome that includes lesbian, gay bisexual and trangender persons," said the Rev. Michael D. Schuenemeyer, the UCC's minister for LGBT concerns.

Schuenemeyer says "Call Me Malcolm" is unique among documentaries that deal with transgender issues "because it focuses on gender identity as it relates to matters of faith, spirituality, vocation and human personhood."

"In the film, Malcolm does not propose easy answers to the questions that arise," Shuenemeyer says, "but with enormous heart, integrity and sensitivity shares his own struggles and listens compassionately to [others], as he comes to terms with who he is and God's claim on his life."

Director Joseph Parlagreco says the film is more than an examination of Malcolm's life or the struggles of the transgender community, but a film that all can relate to, because it's about discerning, discovering and celebrating one's identity.

"This is not the first film to take on the subject of transgender issues and it certainly will not be the last," Parlagreco says, "but most transgender films tend to focus on the physical and exploit the conflict. I wanted to do a different kind of film. This is a film about identity."

"Malcolm's struggles are all of ours - 'Who am I?' 'Where do I fit in?' 'What am I doing with my life?'" the filmmaker says.

Parlagreco, an award-winning cinematographer whose directing credits include work for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and VH1, says the UCC has served as a "minister to the film."

"Imagine," Parlagreco muses, "a church producing a feature documentary for film festivals - about a transgender minister. People are always amazed when I mention that the UCC is our partner in this film."

For more information, go to http://www.callmemalcolm.com/

Top of Page


7) Living in the margins: A national survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander Americans
The Task Force, May 10, 2007

Publication Type: Report

Using data from the largest-ever national survey of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, this historic study finds that 75 percent of respondents report experiencing discrimination and/or harassment based on their sexual orientation.

Download fact sheets for California, Illinois, the New York City metropolitan area, the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and Washington state. (Available languages: Chinese and English.)

Read the executive summary of the report. (Available languages: Chinese, English, Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese.)

Read the March 10 press release in Chinese, English, Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese.

Download the audio press conference at
http://www.thetaskforce.org/files/audio/05_10_07API_LivingInTheMargins.mp3

. . .

Download the full publication at
http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/API_LivingInTheMargins.pdf

Top of Page


8) Jumping The Broom: A Black Perspective on Same Sex Marriage
National Black Justice Coalition and Equality Maryland-Marylanders of Color,
November 7, 2005
[" . . . The National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s only civil rights organization for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people recently partnered with Marylanders of Color, an initiative of Equality Maryland, to produce Jumping The Broom: A Black Perspective on Same Sex Marriage. The booklet directly addresses the issue of whether or not marriage for same gender loving couples is a civil rights issue. It was produced to initiate dialogue in Black churches, fraternal organizations, media outlets, and among Black political, civic and community leaders.

Jumping the Broom highlights some noteworthy statistics, refutes some commonly held misconceptions, and dispels the misinformation about the implications of ending discrimination in marriage.

  • Forty-five percent of Black same-sex couples reported stable relationships of five years or longer on the U.S. Census.
  • Even if marriage becomes a legal option for couples in Maryland, clergy will always decide for themselves, with no repercussions, who they wish to marry.
  • Twenty percent of Black men and twenty-four percent of Black women in same-sex households in the Maryland area work in the public sector but are denied healthcare benefits for their partners by the government.
  • Same-sex couples do not receive the protections of joint rental leases with automatic renewal rights. Only approximately 55-57% of Black same sex couples own their own home.
“Jumping the Broom gives voice to the thousands of Black same sex couples who are in love and have committed to spending their lives together, sharing life’s blessings and burdens,” said H. Alexander Robinson, NBJC’s Executive Director and CEO. “Their message: this is America, the land of freedom, and denying gay and lesbian couples the right to go to city hall and get a marriage license is discrimination and it’s wrong.”

“Jumping the Broom” can be downloaded in PDF form at http://www.nbjcoalition.org/jump_broom1.pdf. To order copies of the publication for your church or community group, email info@EqualityMaryland.org.

About the National Black Justice Coalition

The National Black Justice Coalition is a civil rights organization of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our allies dedicated to fostering equality by fighting racism and homophobia. The Coalition advocates for social justice by educating and mobilizing opinion leaders, including elected officials, clergy, and media, with a focus on Black communities.

Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest civil rights organization, focused on making life better for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Maryland. Equality Maryland works to secure and protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Marylanders by promoting legislative initiatives on the state, county and municipal levels and educating the public about the issues faced by our diverse community.

Top of Page


9) Straight for Equality
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, PFLAG, August 6, 2007

While the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community continues to work and struggle to achieve equality, it is becoming increasingly evident that a tremendous number of straight people are recognizing that these struggles must end.

The challenge to many of these individuals is finding a way to get involved - both formally and informally - in the effort and getting resources and support for their work.

In 2007, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) will be providing the solution: Straight for Equality.

Learn more about Straight for Equality and find out how to get more information and get involved here.

Top of Page


10) A special message about children... from Rebecca Walker

GenderPAC, December, 2005

Dear Friend,

I'm Rebecca Walker. You may know me as the editor of What Makes A Man: 22 writers imagine the future or as the author of Black, White, and Jewish. But I'm also a parent. And of all the writing and activist work I do, raising a child is where I find that I labor the hardest. Parenting is a challenge, especially in a culture that distracts girls with media messages prioritizing their sex appeal, and social traditions that tell boys that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness.

In his earlier schooldays, I had to go to my son's teachers each year and say,

  • Please don't tell him big boys don't cry.
  • Please don't ask him to stop talking with the girls.
  • Please don't suggest he should be out playing soccer instead of drawing or painting.

Frustrated, I'd wonder why I had to reinvent the wheel each year. Why there wasn't a workbook on avoiding gender stereotypes in the classroom that I could hand to teachers and principals. A website I could send them to. A local group I could join.

Now there is! In 2006 the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) will launch Children As They Are, a landmark resource and support network for children and the grown-ups that care about them. Through a variety of media, Children As They Are helps parents, educators and other caregivers create environments where children can develop all their skills, interests and talents - regardless of whether they're considered "right" for boys or girls.

Already Children As They Are has:

  • Created parent- and educator-friendly toolkits to expand school non-discrimination policies,
  • Conducted original research on the impact of gender stereotypes on children, and
  • Lead workshops for educators across the country on how to effectively address gender stereotyping through both curriculum and classroom management.

We are making tremendous progress, but we need your help to launch our website and begin disseminating valuable information and resources. If you truly want to make a difference in the lives of boys and girls everywhere, click here to make your tax-deductible contribution.

By supporting Children As They Are, you put real tools into the hands of parents and educators that will help create safe environments for boys and girls to develop into well-rounded individuals who will one day build strong families of their own.

No matter how small your donation, we will make sure that every penny goes to changing the message our children receive by helping them to live, grow and thrive as they are.

Thank you for your invaluable support.

Very best,

Rebecca Walker
Children As They Are
Advisory Council Member

P.S. Help make sure that the next generation of children doesn't grow up with the shame and ostracism that comes with failing to conform to rigid gender norms. Contribute Today!

Top of Page

Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Open and Affirming Ministries of the Gay, Lesbian & Affirming Disciples (GLAD) Integrity Reconciling in Christ Program of Lutherans Concerned/North America
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ