Washington cathedral to focus on LGBT rights abroad

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., will host a panel discussion about LGBT rights this coming Sunday, featuring activists from Uganda, Malawi and the United States. This is the cathedral’s announcement of the event:

LGBT Rights Abroad: The Spirit of 76

Sunday, April 7, 2013 10:10 AM

It is illegal to identify openly as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in 76 countries. In addition to the indignity and cultural persecution suffered, such laws also too often result in LGBT people in developing countries not having equal access to HIV prevention and other health services.

Albert Ogle
The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle

In response to the need for training and advocacy for individual community leaders and organizations in these countries, the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, in residence at St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego, Calif., developed the Spirit of 76 Initiative with a vision of supporting representatives from each of the countries where it is currently illegal to be LGBT.

Cathedral Dean Gary Hall welcomes the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, president of the St. Paul’s Foundation, for a forum discussion with three courageous African community leaders visiting Washington, D.C., as the first-ever LGBT faith leaders invited to speak at the Civil Society Policy Forum, part of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting this April.

African Community Leaders

LGBTI activist Pepe Julian Onziema
LGBTI activist Pepe Julian Onziema

Pepe Julian Onziema is director of programs at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) where his responsibilities include HIV prevention and health services. As a transgendered man, Onziema has been a leader in the emerging African LGBT community. He was recently honored with the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and Onziema also has been given awards by a number of countries including Norway. He is also part of a Ugandan Coalition to expand HIV prevention and care services to criminalized populations.

Maxensia Takirambulev of Uganda on panel discussing faith and AIDS (Photo courtesy of Ecumentical Advocacy Alliance)ce-0712
AIDS activist Maxensia Takirambulev of Uganda on panel discussing faith and AIDS (Photo courtesy of Ecumentical Advocacy Alliance)

Maxensia Nakibuuka is the executive director of Lungjugga Community Health Caring Organization in Uganda’s largest city and capital, Kampala. As a leader in both the HIV community and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, she has spoken at the United Nations and various international conferences on the need to provide comprehensive services for the poor and marginalized. Nakibuuka’s home healthcare network of 3,000 people (mainly caregiving women) has organized a women’s economic development program and HIV testing and home healthcare for some of Uganda’s most invisible populations.

The Rev. Macdonald Sembereka (Photo courtesy of Nyasa Times)
The Rev. Macdonald Sembereka of Malawi (Photo courtesy of Nyasa Times)

The Rev. Macdonald Sembereka is an Anglican priest from the Church of Malawi. As one of 7,000 active clergy living with HIV (INERELA), he has worked tirelessly for the reduction of stigma and discrimination in Malawi, even when his house was firebombed with his children at home. Sembereka is now the personal advisor for non-government organizations to President Joyce Banda. He has spoken at many conferences and is a member of the COMPASS Coalition (Coalition of Minority Protection Against Sexual Stigma).

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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