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Towards a Welcoming and Inclusive Church

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"Think Before You Speak" PSAs at Super Bowl 2012

The first-ever PSAs to address anti-gay language will be greet fans attending the Super Bowl in Indianapolis on February 5. These amazing public service announcements are made possible through the cooperative efforts of Grazie Media, the Ad Council, GLSEN and the NBA.

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"GLSEN is thrilled to share the Think Before You Speak campaign's message of respect with tens of thousands of football fans attending the Super Bowl this year," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "The PSA campaign featuring Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and the NBA's Grant Hill has already reached millions of Americans across the country and we are truly grateful for this opportunity to increase awareness among a new kind of audience about the negative impact of anti-gay slurs."

According to GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate survey, three-quarters of LGBT students hear slurs such as "faggot" or "dyke" frequently or often at school and 9 in 10 report hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often. Homophobic remarks such as "that's so gay" are the most commonly heard type of biased remarks at school. Research shows that these slurs are often unintentional and simply a part of the teens' vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt forms of harassment.

Read more...

To learn more, visit the "Think Before You Speak" website.

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Why I Believe Out Loud

Christian leaders share their reasons for standing up for LGBT inclusion.

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Bullied: A Student, a School and a Cast that Made History

Bullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student's ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.

Bullied includes:

  • A 40-minute documentary film (DVD), with closed captioning and with Spanish subtitles
  • A two-part viewer's guide with standards-aligned lesson plans and activities for use in staff development
  • Additional materials online

Bullied is designed to help administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students, not just those who are gay and lesbian. It is also intended to help all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims, and to encourage students to stand up for their classmates who are being harassed.

More Info: http://www.tolerance.org/bullied

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Believe Out Loud Power Summit story on WESH TV

News report from WESH TV in Orlando, Fla., about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Believe Out Loud Power Summit, in Orlando, Fla., Oct 9-11, 2010, where 300 pro-LGBT Christians and allies converged to organize and strategize against bias violence advance justice and equality, and promote the fundamental humanity of LGBT people — both in their churches and in the larger society.

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Rev. Rebecca Voelkel at Netroots

The Task Force's Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, program director at the Institute for Welcoming Resources, speaks about the importance of working with communities of faith.

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Thy Will Be Done

Thy Will Be Done follows Male-to-Female Transsexual Sara Herwig in her path to ordination in the Presbyterian Church. Efforts have been made to block her ordination by the evangelical conservative groups who don't recognize her as female and question her fitness to be a Pastor..... but who also challenge her candidacy because she is in a same-sex relationship, with a woman. At issue is the organized Christian Church, with all its political and financial power, as one of the fiercest battlegrounds for LGBT rights and gender recognition.

More information about and showings of Thy Will Be Done

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MISSIONARIES OF HATE

Important Documentary from Peabody Award winning film-maker Mariana Van Zeller. Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller investigates the growing influence American evangelical groups have in shaping anti-gay laws and attitudes in Uganda.

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National Faith Leaders on Uganda

Meeting of the Bishops and Elders Council in Washington, DC on April 27, 2010.

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Click here for Bill Moyers' Journal
Bill Moyers' Journal: February 26, 2010

Once adversaries in 2000's Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, now two of the nation's premier lawyers – one conservative and one liberal – have teamed up to make the constitutional case for same-sex marriage. Conversation led by journalist and Baptist minister Bill Moyers.

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American Prayer Hour


Standing Up For Gay Civil Rights

DALLAS, Feb. 4 — Faith leaders from around the country led an American Prayer Hour event at today's National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, where they prayed together for peace and served as witness to the inhumanity of Uganda's proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Bill."

The gathering was one of several similar events nationwide where faith leaders highlighted the connection between this morning's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and the Uganda bill that seeks to make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death. The measure is being pushed by Ugandan MP David Bahati, who is connected to the National Prayer Breakfast via its sponsor, The Family, a secretive Christian-based organization that supports placement of leaders in government and economic positions of power. Bahati is The Family's primary organizer in Uganda.

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Queer the Census

As The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Dr. Jaime Grant explains in this video, it's vital the U.S. Census Bureau include a question that allows an individual to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Thousands have already signed the Task Force’s petition, and there's something else you can do right now to show your support for a more inclusive census. Get a Queer the Census sticker here and use it to seal the back of your envelope when you mail back your census form. Get the sticker they can't ignore and tell the Census Bureau: We ALL Count!

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IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia) 2009:
One Voice, One Message, Heard Around the World.

This video was a joint effort by the Committee for the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, and http://gays.com

Here's the video that started it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmjk7m... The Idaho Challenge is a community project by Gays.com to produce a user-generated video to be released 17 May 2009, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). While 67 countries have signed the new United Nations statement to decriminalise homosexuality worldwide, anti-gay discrimination remains a reality in many parts of the world. This year, with your help, we want to create a video that sends out the message that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people are just like everyone else. We come from all over the world and we come in all shapes and sizes and colours. And we want to send this message to the people of the world in every language that's out there!

Our site was attacked by a vicious distributed denial of service attack just prior to the launch of this video on IDAHO2009. Read more about it in our press release: http://pitch.pe/11846

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Out in the Silence

This inspirational and gripping documentary uses the story of a small American town confronting the firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement to illustrate the challenge of being an outsider in a conservative environment and catalyze new ways of making resources and support available for those working for change.

The film and accompanying outreach campaign are supported by grants from the Sundance Documentary Film Program and Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

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Marriage Equality & Religion: The Massachusetts Experience

One of the most dominant myths used by forces opposed to marriage equality is that allowing same-sex couples to marry would somehow negatively affect religious institutions or apply restrictions to their freedom to worship as they choose.

Although this myth is patently false, that has not stopped some opponents from using the claim to lead people to believe their religious freedom is in danger. Fortunately, in New York, we do not need to speculate on how religious institutions, spiritual life and the freedom to worship will be affected if the state passes a law allowing same-sex couples to marry. New York needs only to look to our neighbor to the east, Massachusetts — where marriages for same-sex couples have been legal since 2004 — to see that the worries about such a law negatively impacting people of faith have been unfounded.

From Empire State Pride Agenda's Pride in the Pulpit

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Marriage Equality Debate

Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force debates marriage equality opponent Luis Téllez, president of the Witherspoon Institute and member of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, producers of the recent controversial "gathering storm" television commercials.

Link to PART 2

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Gay Marriage = Religious Freedom

Lots of lies out there about gay marriage, especially as it concerns religious freedom. Arm yourself with the facts so you can take down the paranoid people who think freedom means we all have to live like they want us to.

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Through My Eyes

The church is at war over homosexuality. Will our youth be the casualties?

Through My Eyes provides an unflinchingly honest look at the role of today's young Christians in the gay debate: what they really think, how they perceive the church, and what they wish other Christians knew.

Over two dozen young Christians agreed to share their private feelings, struggles, and experiences on camera. All of them have a personal stake in the debate. And all of them hoped that their stories might make a difference.

Created for Christians by Christians, Through My Eyes tackles one of the most controversial topics today with compassion and sensitivity, shining new light on the debate for people on both sides. It's unlike anything you've seen before.

It's a powerful, eye-opening experience you won't soon forget.

Included with the disc is an action guide, 4 simple ways to change someone's life, and a special on-disc "discussion version" for classes and groups. Get it now to share with your family, class, church group, or pastor. And help everyone see through their eyes.

More information: http://www.throughmyeyesdvd.com/

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Everyone Matters: Dignity and Safety for Transgender People

Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) announces the launch of Everyone Matters: Dignity and Safety for Transgender People. The first of its kind video, produced in conjunction with Massachusetts Transgender Politcial Coalition and MassEquality, highlights the need for transgender-inclusive non-discrimination and hate crimes law. The video is available online and will be shown at the MA State House on Tuesday, April 7, during the public lobby day for An Act Relative To Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

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Click here to go to the video
Welcoming Synagogues Project:
Diversity and LGBT Inclusion in the Jewish World

Held on Sunday, March 1 at American Jewish University, this panel discussion on diversity and LGBT inclusion in the Jewish community was broadcast live at JewishJournal.com. The event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Jewish Mosaic, a managed project of Jewish Funds for Justice.

See parts 2 & 3.

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Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show


Rachel Maddow talks HBO/Gene Robinson's Prayer Controversy

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Oprah Show: “Being gay is a gift from God”

Oprah invited three spiritual leaders onto her January 9 show to respond to the concerns of real people as they struggled with life’s challenges. One such person was Sedrick, a gay man, who was struggling with his finances. Rev. Ed Bacon, an Episcopal priest and one of the spiritual advisors, addressed the young man’s lack of self worth by saying that, ”being gay is a gift from God,” Minister Bernard Beckwith, another advisor, assured Sedrick that “…he is the image and likeness of God just the as he is.”

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In the Life “Ties That Bind” (January 2009)
PBS's In the Life
“Ties That Bind” (January 2009)

This month IN THE LIFE explores the power of religion to shape our lives, worldview, and our political convictions... providing spiritual guidance and comfort, but often used to promote intolerance and hatred of LGBT people. Looking at the intersection of religion and sexuality, we see how gays and lesbians reconcile their faith within their religious communities.


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Advent

Advent - Rev. Dr. Sid Fowler, Editor, Out in Scripture.
Rev. Dr. Sid Fowler, Editor, Out in Scripture.

From Out in Scripture and the Human Rights Campaign's Religion & Faith Program



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Interview with Mitchell Gold

Mitchell Gold, founder of Faith In America, and author of the new book, Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America, interviewed by Charlie Rose.


Interview with Mitchell Gold - Part 1


Interview with Mitchell Gold - Part 2


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MSNBC Keith Olbermann on Prop 8, Marriage and more!

MSNBC Keith Olbermann comments on Calif. Prop 8, gay rights, marriage, love and more.


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Gays and the Gospel

This video is for Latter-day Saints and other Christians who truly want to follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ regarding the rights, marriages and families of our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters, and the national debate on marriage in California and other states this upcoming election.

More information on Gays and the Gospel.


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Link for People for the American Way video
Radio Ads Urge African Americans to Oppose Anti-Gay Discrimination

People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership

Council In Long-Term Project to Challenge Homophobia in Black Church & Communities

Three radio ads urging African Americans to oppose anti-gay discrimination begin running across California today. The ads are part of a long-term effort to challenge homophobia in the Black Church and African American communities that is being carried out by the African American Ministers Leadership Council, a project of People For the American Way Foundation.

The ads (links below) are beginning to air the same week that Rev. Kenneth Samuel, chair of the AAMLC’s Equal Justice Task Force, is in California to speak with pastors and community leaders about the historic role of the Black Church in promoting justice. Samuel, who spoke at the Prophets for Justice event at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco on Sunday evening, will be conducting a workshop this coming weekend at the convention of the California NAACP.

“The justice-seeking witness of the Black Church is threatened from within by homophobia and an unwillingness to stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” said Rev. Kenneth Samuel. “We’re in California as the debate over discrimination and equality has intensified since the state Supreme Court’s decision upholding marriage equality. We are committed to bringing tough and loving conversations to African American churches and communities across the country.”

People For the American Way Foundation is a nationwide organization that promotes progressive values and the constitutional principle of equality under the law. The African American Ministers Leadership Council supports, strengthens and mobilizes progressive clergy who encourage African American churches and communities to become more civically engaged and promote programs and policies that advance social justice.

“People For the American Way Foundation is committed to promoting justice everywhere,” said Executive Vice President Sharon Lettman. “We are proud to work with clergy who are willing to take some heat for taking leadership. That’s how change is made.”

Click each link below to listen to the ad


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Save Me

SAVE ME is the acclaimed drama directed by Robert Cary about a young gay man and the Christian retreat he is brought into. A World Premiere at Sundance 2007 and selected as the Opening Night Film at OutFest Los Angeles later that year, SAVE ME is a subtly nuanced and deeply sympathetic look at both sides of one of the most polarizing religious and sexual debates in America: the conflict - and possible reconciliation - between homosexuality and Christianity.

Mark (Chad Allen) is a young gay man who is addicted to sex and drugs. After a particularly nasty binge his brother checks him into Genesis House, a Christian retreat in New Mexico miles from anywhere. Run by a compassionate husband and wife team, Gayle (Judith Light) and Ted (Stephen Lang) have made it their life’s mission to cure young men of their ‘gay affliction’ through spiritual guidance. At first, Mark resists, but soon takes the message to heart and begins to bond with his fellow residents…in particular Scott (Robert Gant), a mentor charged with guiding Mark through his conversion. As their friendship evolves into romance, Mark and Scott are forced to confront their true selves, while Gayle and Ted find the values they hold as absolute truths to be threatened.

Powerful, restrained performances and a provocative yet believeable plot bring light to this contentious subject. Like the recent documentary FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO, SAVE ME offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.


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Reconciling Journeys

Reconciling Journeys introduces Reconciling Ministries Network and the Reconciling Process to individuals, groups and congregations in The United Methodist Church.

For your community to become Reconciling, our basic requirement is a public statement of inclusion that particularly mentions "all sexual orientations and gender identities." This statement must be approved by a leadership group within the congregation or community.

Reconciling Journeys was part of a DVD sent to all 2008 General Conference Delegates and Bishops. You can purchase a copy at the Reconciling Ministries Network Online Store.


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Equality U
by director Dave O’Brien

Equality U is a feature-length documentary following a group of 33 young activists on the Soulforce Equality Ride, a first of its kind, two-month, cross-country tour to confront antigay discrimination policies at 19 conservative religious and military colleges. It is a human story of a group of young people struggling to stand up for what they believe is right. Against the backdrop of the Equality Ride, the film focuses on seven of the “Equality Riders” and two courageous students they encounter along their journey.

At each stop, the Riders exercise “relentless non-violent resistance” and often face arrest for trespassing. Can this small group of activists sow the seeds of dialogue as their bus rolls down the highway? How will the road change them? For the Riders that identify as both Queer and Christian, how will the journey challenge or transform their faith? And what happens to the outed gay students they encounter and then leave behind? Incorporating verité footage, interviews, and personal video journals recorded by the six central Riders themselves, Equality U focuses on the personal stories of our lead characters and the journeys they take during this foray into activism.


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Click here to see the video

Gay couple from Minneapolis will say 'I Do' in CA wedding

They say the third time is a real charmer. In that spirit Reverend Rebecca Voelkel and Maggie George will tie the knot next month, for the third time.

"We laugh all the time. Here we are, raising a family in south Minneapolis causing problems for the rest of the world," George joked about her upcoming nuptials to her partner, Voelkel.


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Peterson Toscano

Theatrical Performance Activist Peterson Toscano

Peterson will be performing his new show, Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible at the Many Stories, One Voice conference this September. Here is a profile on him and his show Doin' Time in The Homo No Mo Halfway House that appeared on Logo Channel's Be Real (Season 2, Episode 2)


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Bishop Gene Robinson at Creating Change 2008

Bishop Gene Robinson was a keynote speaker at the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, held in Detroit in January, 2008. He was introduced by the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Faith Work Program Director for the Institute for Welcoming Resources.


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A Jihad for Love

Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islam today is the world's second largest and fastest growing religion. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Filmed over 5 1/2 years, in 12 countries and 9 languages, A Jihad for Love comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, this film seeks to reclaim the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, which can mean 'an inner struggle' or 'to strive in the path of God'. In doing so the film and its remarkable subjects move beyond the narrow concept of 'Jihad' as holy war.


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Bishop Gene Robinson on NBC's Today Show

Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson knows he is inviting death threats by entering into a civil union with his gay partner on the eve of his church’s biggest ecclesiastical conference. And he says it is worth it, because he is doing what God asks of him.


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Click here for Transgender Basics
Transgender Basics

Transgender Basics is a 20 minute educational film on the concepts of gender and transgender people. Two providers from the Gender Identity Project discuss basic concepts of gender - sex, identity and gender roles - as three transgender community members share their personal experiences of being trans and genderqueer. The film targets service providers and others working with the LGBT community, but it also provides a fascinating glimpse into gender and identity for the general public.


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Click here to watch 'Call me Troy'

Call Me Troy

Call Me Troy is the truly inspirational story about a remarkable and dynamic individual whose activism was decades ahead of its time; the Reverend Troy Perry. Call Me Troy celebrates Rev. Perry's life as a civil rights hero and his legacy of spiritual service to the GLBT community where he had the audacity to claim Christianity for himself and his community. Documenting four decades of unwavering service, this film is a nostalgic reminder of where we come from for some, and an astounding story of our roots for others. For more information...


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Faith-Based Community Organizing Training


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Additional Video Channels

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Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Open and Affirming Ministries of the Gay, Lesbian & Affirming Disciples (GLAD) Integrity Reconciling Works
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ