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DignityUSA presents at UN Press Briefing

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, I was very proud to represent DignityUSA at a unique event held for the Foreign Press Corps based at the United Nations. The US State Department sponsored the first ever information session on the intersection of LGBTI Human Rights and faith. I spoke on how Catholicism impacts the lives of LGBTI people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The other invited presenters were Bishop Joseph Tolton of The Fellowship Global, who spoke about his work in a number of African nations, and MCC Pastor and Director of Asian Pacific Initiative Rev. Dr. Ngeo, Boon Lin, who spoke about his work in Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and various parts of China. The briefing was well attended, with reporters from Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, the Caribbean, Voice of America, and Africa. Former DignityUSA Secretary Tom McLoughlin and Director of Media Relations Jeff Stone, both members of Dignity/New York, also attended.

Following our presentations, reporters asked questions about Biblical interpretation, whether Catholic tradition is really immutable, the issue of cultural imperialism, the place of gay and gender-queer people in native African cultures, and the ways culture and religion intersect in maintaining oppressive structures. After the close of the official session, reporters and presenters engaged in informal conversation about the possibilities for future coverage of this issue.

This briefing was held to provide international journalists with solid background on LGBTI and faith issues. It provided an unprecedented opportunity to influence global reporting on our lives, our beliefs, our accomplishments, and our struggles. I hope that it will help shape coverage for years to come.

The State Department graciously provided us with a video of the entire briefing. To view a recording of the briefing, click on the video below.  If you cannot see the video, please reload this page.