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Priest: Transform shame in Dominica into change

COMMENTARY

Good can come from the shameful treatment of a gay couple from Palm Springs, Calif., who were arrested recently on a cruise in Dominica, says the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego.

This is a “teachable moment” that could make people in affluent countries realize the plight of LGBT people in 76 countries where anti-LGBT laws are in effect — and then take action to help them, he says.

In an essay “The politics of shame, from San Diego to Dominica,” published in the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Ogle writes:

Albert Ogle
Albert Ogle

The Dominica story is a photograph of the present disconnect between affluent global north LGBT people and millions of global south LGBT people who fight every day against shame and discrimination. …

A fraction of what we spend in global north LGBT travel and leisure could transform the persecution and the shaming of millions of human beings.

Ogle is working with the Spirit of 76 initiative to bring representatives from those 76 countries to this summer’s World AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., where they will  describe the negative impact of anti-LGBT laws on AIDS prevention efforts.  He is seeking donors who will help pay the costs of that effort:

We need to find sponsors for our 76 people coming to represent these countries at a big Faith and World AIDS Conference in Washington.

Just bringing these people together to share their stories and practices will be a transformative moment. Their presence and contribution among us will be enormous and what they will take back to their challenging contexts will also be significant … if we really want to make some inroads into this complex problem.

So I invite our readers to think about making a donation, sponsoring an individual and transforming our “teachable moment” from shame and isolation to pride and solidarity.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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