Dignity/Twin Cities Hosts International Group
By Art Stoeberl, Dignity/Twin Cities
On July 20, 2016, sixteen Dignity/Twin Cities members and friends hosted a discussion with eight members of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) run by the U.S. State Department. The visitors wanted to hear about the formation of Dignity/Twin Cities, and how DignityUSA works to change Roman Catholic teaching on sexual ethics, in favor of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Catholics at the national and international levels.
The international visitors spent three days in Minneapolis meeting with Dignity and six other LGBTQ agencies. Visitors hailed from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Rwanda, Taiwan, and Uganda.
The Department of State outlined specific objectives for the visitors which shaped the 90-minute discussion with Dignity/Twin Cities:
- Examine U.S. and international initiatives to promote and protect the human rights of the LGBTQ community
- Discuss social and cultural approaches to gender and sexual orientation identities in a diverse society
- Explore equal access to educational, economic, and healthcare opportunities for citizens with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations
- Consider strategies and partnerships that seek to end targeted violence and hate crimes
- Analyze the legislative framework and political perspectives on current and pending efforts to ensure equal human and civil rights in the United States
- Observe how organizations monitor, influence, and advocate for human and civil rights policy at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Both sides learned much from each other, and applaud the U.S. State Department for fostering LGBTQ rights around the world.