Reflecting on our identity as LGBT people of faith and as an LGBT faith community

Modern  icons

Image 1 – A selection of modern icons from Brother Robert Lentz OFM which we reflected on during the day.

BY POPULAR REQUEST, members of the community that meets monthly at St Bride’s Church, Liverpool for the Open Table LGBT service spent a day away again this month, six months after our first away-day last October.

Following the theme of identity and individuality we explored in last month’s service, we developed and deepened this at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre in Formby on Saturday 7th May.

As we approach the seventh anniversary of the Open Table service in July, we also reflected on what it means to be a community of LGBT people of faith.

Continue reading


LGBT History Month: What’s your story? #LGBTHM15

LGBT History Month logoFEBRUARY is LGBT History Month in the UK – marked every year in the UK since 2004 to remember and celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT people past and present.

It was set up by Sue Sanders, founder of Schools Out, a group for LGBT teachers since 1974.

LGBT History Month is a wonderful opportunity to explore the lives of people who have come before us, those who have made an impact on the way that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people can live their lives today.

Each year LGBT History Month has a theme – The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Coded Lives’, featuring people from history who have lived ‘coded lives’ – i.e. hidden their true identities in various ways: diaries, slang, artwork and clothing.

They are:

  • LesbianAnne Lister, a diarist from the 1700’s who wrote in code to record her intimate feelings for other women
  • GayKenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick, actors who performed on BBC Radio in Polari, the language used by gay men to communicate with each other to avoid detection when their relationships were criminalised
  • BisexualFrida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who portrayed her ‘otherness’ in striking self-portraits
  • TransChevalier d’Eon, a diplomat who lived publicly as a man and a woman
My contribution to the campaign was to find new ways to share stories I have previously posted on this blog.

Continue reading


WATCH: Project Triangle – LGBT youth visit Auschwitz

projecttriangleTODAY is the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp in Poland where around 1.5 million people died because they were different.

In September 2009, I accompanied ten young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from Merseyside on a five-day cultural exchange trip to Auschwitz and Warsaw working with a group of young Polish LGBT people from the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH).

The exchange enabled the group to understand the Holocaust and the fate of many LGBT people at that time, its impact on European and LGBT social history, as well as challenging past and present issues around hate crime. Continue reading


2014: A big year for UK marriage equality

Keep calm and support marriage equality2014 was a big year for marriage equality in the UK.

Same-sex marriage is now possible in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland. As marriage law is devolved to the governments of each country in the Union, the status of same-sex marriage is different in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Continue reading


Loving from the bottom of the heap – a gay Christian reading for Christmas

Love AnywayAt a carol service last Sunday, hosted by Open Table, an LGBT Christian community in Liverpool, I read one of the readings, which I found moving, inspiring and too good not to share:

The most powerful place from which to renew the face of the earth is the bottom of the heap. Continue reading


Diversity Role Models – challenging prejudice one story at a time

Diversity Role Models logoA YEAR AGO I trained as a volunteer with Diversity Role Models, a charity which offers workshops in schools featuring positive LGBT or straight ally role models who speak directly to young people about their experiences, to challenge bullying by promoting empathy. They began in London in 2011 and are now expanding across the UK, including Merseyside where I live and work. I have been with them into several schools across the region this year, which has been a great privilege and pleasure. During the workshops two role models speak for five minutes each to tell their story, then answer young people’s questions. Here is the story I tell:

Continue reading


Would Jesus save the railways?

The name Jesus in graffiti on the side of a train

Last week a YouGov survey won the booby prize for the most stupid question in an opinion poll:

Do you think Jesus would support or oppose renationalising the railways, so they are run in the public sector rather than by private companies?

It’s unlikely Jesus would have held a view, given that public transport had not been invented. But as one wag pointed out on Twitter: ‘He arrived by Virgin‘!

Continue reading


‘You Gotta Have Faith’ – Diva magazine debate on faith & sexuality

L-R: Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, Rose Neelam, Jane Czyselska, Peter Tatchell and Vicky Beeching

Tonight in Liverpool, Diva magazine editor Jane Czyselska chaired a debate between veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Christian commentator and musician Vicky Beeching, Rose Neelam, a muslim and Project Director of Safra, and lesbian Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, as part of the annual Homotopia LGBT arts festival.

Read Peter Tatchell: My journey to Humanism

Read The Independent article about Vicky Beeching coming out here

Read Rose Neelam’s biography from UK Black Pride here

Listen to Rabbi Ariel Friedlander here

Watch the event here (some sound interference from mobile devices):