Churches, activists fighting anti-gay laws — online talks Nov. 25-27

From Barbados to Zimbabwe, speakers at next month’s free online Intimate Conviction 2 conference will focus on what more needs to be done, especially by Christian churches, to put an end to dozens of countries’ laws against same-sex intimacy.

Promotional graphic for the Intimate Conviction 2 conference.

The online event will build on the work done at the first Intimate Conviction conference, held in Jamaica in October 2017.  It was originally planned for April in Barbados, but was delayed and then moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organizers say that the gathering “will continue the discussion that was begun in 2017 with a specific focus on the Global South. This virtual event will assess the progress that has been made and will look at what more needs to be done to ensure that same-sex intimacy is justly decriminalized.”

The four keynote speakers will be:

  • Bishop Francis Alleyne, the Roman Catholic bishop of Georgetown, Guyana;
  • The Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, Black liberation theologian and global human rights activist, South Africa;
  • Prof. Edward Greene, chancellor, University of Guyana, former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS for the Caribbean;  and
  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the U.N.’s independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, Costa Rica.

Scheduled speakers include religious leaders from Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

Secular leaders and LGBTQ+ rights activists who are scheduled to speak come from the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom.

World map shows 72 nations where homosexuality is illegal. Click on the image to see a list of those countries with links to news articles about each one.
World map shows 72 nations where homosexuality is illegal. Click on the image to see this blog’s list of those countries with links to news articles about each one.

For more information and to register at no charge, visit the conference’s page at the HIV Legal Network.

The conference schedule and list of planned speakers is below, as presented on the conference’s website. All times are Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).

A list of speakers, their titles and photos is also available.

Agenda: Day 1

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome: Fr. Clifford Hall, Host Pastor

Bishop Francis Alleyne,, Roman Catholic bishop of Georgetown, Guyana (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

9:10– 9:25 Keynote1:  Bishop Francis Alleyne – Catholic Bishop of Georgetown, Guyana

9:25 – 9:40 Keynote 2: Victor Madrigal-Borloz – UN Independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity

9:40 – 10:20 Panel 1: The Church and Decriminalization (Barbados)

Rev. Clifford Hall – Anglican Church of Barbados, Retired Lecturer in Criminal Law University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.

Rev. Ian Rock – St. George’s Episcopal Church, British Virgin Islands

Alexa Hoffmann – Trans Advocacy and Agitation, Barbados.

10:20 – 10:30 BREAK

10:30– 11:40 Panel 2: The Church and Decriminalization (The Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica)

Natino Thompson – Bahamian writer, pioneer, artist and activist

Caleb Orozco, executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement.
Caleb Orozco, executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement.

Caleb Orozco – Executive Director, United Belize Advocacy Movement

Rev. Canon Garth Minott – Anglican Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

Prof. George Garwood – Professor of World Religions

Dr. Danielle Roper – Jamaican gender and sexuality academic

Kristina Neil – Policy and Research Officer, WE Change Jamaica. WE Change Jamaica

11:40 to 12:00 Panel 3: The Church and Decriminalization (Latin America)

Jim Hodgson – former Latin America/Caribbean program coordinator with the United Church of Canada.

Carlos Navarro – Mexico Network of Rainbow Catholics (REDCAM)

Agenda: Day 2

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome & Recap of Day 1: Fr. Clifford Hall, Host Pastor

9:10 – 9:30 Keynote 2: Dr. Edward Greene, Chancellor University of Guyana, Former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.

9:30 – 10:30 Panel 4: The Church and Decriminalization (Eastern and Southern Caribbean)

Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth – Presbyterian Church minister, Chief Executive Officer Caribbean Family Planning Association

Telford Layne – Seventh Day Adventist Church Guyana

Luke Sinnette – Lead Social Worker, Friends for Life, Trinidad and Tobago

Valini Leitch – Homophobia Education Coordinator, SASOD, Guyana

Daryl Philip – Coordinator, Minority Rights Dominica

10:30 – 10:40 BREAK

10:40– 11:20 Panel 5: The Church and Decriminalization (Asia)

Rev. Christopher Rajkumar – Priest with the Church of South India and former head of the National Ecumenical Forum of Gender and Sexual Diversities (NEFGSD) of the National Council of Churches India.

Pearl Wong – Founder of Hong Kong Queer Theology Academy.

Rev. Alfred Candid M. Jaropillo – United Church of Christ in the Philippines

11:20 – 12:00 Panel 6 Some Global North Experiences

Rev. Michael Blair – United Church of Canada (Canada)

Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes – Rainbow Faith and Freedom  (Canada)

Jayne Ozanne – Ozanne Foundation (UK)

Agenda: Day 3

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome & Recap Day 2: Fr. Clifford Hall, Host Pastor

9:10 – 9:30 Keynote 3: Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, South Africa.

9:30 – 10:30 Panel 7: The Church and Decriminalization (Africa)

The Rev. Nokuthula Dhladhla, Metropolitan Community Churches, South Africa, and board member of the Global Interfaith Network. (Photo courtesy of apartheidmuseum.org)
The Rev. Nokuthula Dhladhla, Metropolitan Community Churches, South Africa, and board member of the Global Interfaith Network. (Photo courtesy of apartheidmuseum.org)

Rev Nokuthula Dhladhla – Board member Global Interfaith Network – South Africa

David Ochar – Pastor at Cosmopolitan Affirming Church – Kenya

Dr. Nontando Hadebe – Professor at St. Augustine (Catholic) College – South Africa

Ngozi Nwosu-Juba – Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa. Nigeria.

Prof. Ezra Chitando -Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, Classics and Philosophy of the University of Zimbabwe.

10:30- 10:40 BREAK

10:40 – 12:00 Closing Remarks & Vote of Thanks

Rev. Winnie Varghese – Priest for Justice and Reconciliation at Trinity Church in New York City (USA)

Erica Lim – Program Officer Arcus Foundation

Richard Elliott – Executive Director, HIV Legal Network

Very Rev. Sean Major-Campbell – Chair, Intimate Conviction Series

Maurice Tomlinson – Coordinator, Intimate Conviction Conference Series.

Related articles:

This article was revised Oct. 28, 2020, to list the conference’s four  keynote speakers. Previously, the article named only two. It also now specifies that Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, chair of the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, is from Nigeria. The location of St. George’s Episcopal Church was corrected; it is in the British Virgin Islands.

More changes are likely as the conference approaches.

 

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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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