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The Time for Gathering is Now: Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit Day 2

October 22, 2015

Following a simple but inspiring gathering service – the room was filled with amazing vocal harmony of people of faith – the second day of our Faith and Family LGBTQ Power Summit in Salt Lake City opened with a plenary session on the Exportation of the Culture Wars.

Led by Francisco Buchting of the Horizons Foundation, a panel of experts from groups like Soul Force, Southern Poverty Law Center, iPas, Center for Constitutional Rights, Political Research Associates and the National LGBTQ Task Force reflected on the homophobia, transphobia and bi-phobia that has been brought to Africa and Eastern European countries through groups like the World Congress of Families.

Cole Parker of Political Research Associates speaks on Culture Wars alongside Kathleen Campisano who spoke about Houston's HERO ordinance

Cole Parker of Political Research Associates speaks on Culture Wars alongside the Task Force’s Kathleen Campisano, who spoke about transphobic attacks on Houston’s HERO ordinance

The World Congress of Families(WCF) will meet in Salt Lake City shortly after our Power Summit, and the WCF’s main messages will be about the “Natural Family” – which according to their definition excludes and demeans our same-gender-loving families and relationships and trans people – and also promotes and supports bringing that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia to other parts of the world.

Local and national news media have extensively covered our gathering and understand the overall message from this Faith and Family Power Summit, including: Salt Lake City Tribune, Deseret News, Fox 13, CBS 2, NBC 5, ABC 4/CW 30, Telemundo, Univision, Q Salt Lake City, and the Advocate.

The stories and videos that were produced by these media outlets clearly show that as LGBTQ people we value our faith and want to reclaim from those who preach rejection our rightful place as beloved children of God.

When people leave the Faith and Family LGBTQ Power Summit this Friday, they will be returning re-energized with new and improved skills to be able to respond to disparaging messages from faith communities and anti-LGBTQ legislative actions in their towns and states—often which come in the form of “religious exemptions.”

The conference so far has included workshops on persuasive story telling, polishing media skills, building effective teams for action, developing potent strategies, moving faith settings to be welcoming to LGBTQ people and bringing healing to those harmed by religion. And those are just a few of the sessions that participants have been able to choose from for skills-building opportunities.

As they return home, participants will be potent voices to push back against the vitriolic messaging of the World Congress of Families and their anti-LGBTQ ilk. They will be actively transforming the faith narrative from discrimination and rejection to one of inclusion and God’s abundant love.

Today they will put their skills into direct action. I will report on that in the next blog.

by Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

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