The Ethics of Reciprocity: Global Religious Leaders on Tolerance and the Lives of the LGBTI community

United Nations, New York, October 23rd- 26th 2017

[Very sadly, Abbubakar Sadiq Yussif from Ghana (centre back in the above photo), who participated in the EOR event has subsequently passed on.  More information here.]

On Thursday 26th October 2017, a historical event took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York: 11 global LGBTI religious leaders, from different faiths and diverse parts of the world, engaged conservative religious actors and Member States in an effort to address the impact of religious intolerance on their own lives and the lives of their communities based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

The objective of the meeting was to create transformative dialogue, understanding, and inspire the creation of a final document signed by all religious leaders in attendance, which included a variety of eminent and grass roots leaders

This event was led by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and organized in collaboration with GIN-SSOGIE and other organizations including Muslims for Progressive Values, Soulforce, Outright International, Political Research Associates and ILGA. It was supported by the Core Group of Member States, OHCHR, Horizons Foundations and Arcus Foundation.

Over 200 people gathered on that day, from religious communities, civil society organisations, UN agencies, UN Special Rapporteurs, UN SOGI Expert, and Member States’ representations, to listen to the testimonies of 11 LGBTI religious leaders from Samoa, South Africa, Brasil, USA, Tajikistan, Australia, Hong Kong, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda. These included GIN-SSOGIE Board Co-Chair and Treasurer, Ymania Brown, and two GIN-SSOGIE members, Murilo Araujo and Rev. Brian Byamukama. The livestream of their interventions may be found in the following link: https://livestream.com/accounts/25032229/events/7898372

The day was closed with the presentation and signature of a “Do No Harm Agreement” which led people to commit to the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. This document reflects a high-level commitment by the religious leaders and Member States present to support a positive global platform on ending violence and stigmatization of LGBT and intersex persons and their families.

It is the first time that such an event takes place at the UN! GIN-SSOGIE is honoured to have taken part in it, and we are now excited to be currently discussing with the other planning organizations, follow-up actions and thinking of future similar events. We’ll keep you posted!