By Jeff Stone, DignityUSA Director of Media Relations
A little less than a year after its official formation, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) has elected officers from three continents. The group’s Co-Chairs will be Ruby Almeida of the UK and Michael Brinkschroeder of Germany. Benjamin Oh of Australia will serve as Secretary, Chris Vella of Malta will be Treasurer, and Fernando Gonzalez of Chile will fill the role of Communications Executive. They will be supported by additional members of the organization’s Steering Committee, including Francis DeBernardo of the United States, Georgina Adhiambo of Kenya, Deputy Communications Executive Eros Xiao of China, Deputy Secretary Tim Smyth of Australia, and Deputy Treasurer Joseanne Peregrin of Malta.
While much of the group’s work during its first year has necessarily focused on organizational matters, it has quickly developed into an important international voice. Representing LGBTQ Catholic organizations from some thirty countries, the network has issued two newsletters and five major press statements in multiple languages, most recently on the Pope’s ill-informed comments on gender, which have received global coverage in major media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Times, and Advocate.com in the United States alone. Remarkably, this work has been accomplished almost entirely using communications technology rather than in-person meetings, often at crazy hours of the day for the participants.
DignityUSA, a founding member of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, was represented at the network’s inaugural meeting in Rome last fall by Board member Leo Egashira and Director of Media Relations Jeff Stone. Prior to that, Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke represented DignityUSA at several of the meetings that led to the GNRC’s formation and maintains close ties with it. Leo commented, “Both Jeff and I agree that the individuals elected to serve as officers of the Global Network are all highly capable and dedicated people of great spiritual depth. As the quest for justice and equality for LGBT people becomes increasingly international, we anticipate that the GNRC will continue to be a very valuable partner for DignityUSA.”