Last month, the Department of Social Policy teamed up with the University LGBTQ Association to host an LGBTQ focussed interfaith event as part of LGBTQ History Month. The event was designed as a networking event to create debate in smaller groups and to let speakers and traditional audience members discuss with one another the issues of faith and sexuality.
LGBTQ and faith issues are important in our society of growing multiculturalism. Yet despite this growing diversity and growing public acceptance for gay rights, religion and faith is still an issue today. In general, Anti-LGBT sentiments in religion can both cause personal anxiety over sexual orientation and gender for LGBTQ people, and lead them to being isolated from their culture and community. Stonewall surveys found that 75% of young gay people attending faith schools have experienced homophobic bullying. This isolation can be alleviated through finding more supportive branches of faiths.
The event had speakers included Rabbi Leah Jordan from liberal Judaism, Rose Neelam from the Muslim Women’s Charity the Safra Project, Rev Dr Catherine Shelley from the Anglican Church, Rev Andrew Braizer from the Methodist Church , Fr Patrick Mileham from the Catholic church, and speakers from the University of Birmingham Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society. Unfortunately, Sikh and Hindu Associations were unable to attend.