Around the world, many faith communities and organizations mobilize on May 17th to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. These faith communities and organizations not only come together to highlight the intersections of faith and sexuality, to remember victims of homo/bi/transphobia and to stand against religiously-based homophobia and transphobia, but also, and predominantly, to raise the voices of progressive faith leaders in supporting the positive role of world religions and faith communities in shaping inclusive societies.
This year, the IDAHO Committee, together with the European Forum of LGBTQ Christian Groups, encourages individuals, organizations and faith communities to be a part of the Global Prayer Initiative - which aims to bring together different faith communities, denominations and groups to bring their voice to the IDAHO 2013 commemorations.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
One of the simplest and yet most powerful ways to be involved in the Global Prayer Initiative is to organize a vigil. Vigils can be a powerful tool to draw attention to thoughtless acts of intolerance, and to religiously-based homophobia and transphobia. Vigils carry a certain weight that is symbolic in so many contexts, whether religious, spiritual, commemorative or memorial. Consider drawing your faith community together in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Sparking discussions and dialogue around homophobia and transphobia is also a great way that faith communities can bring about change in their places of worship. Interfaith communities also have the opportunity to bridge the divides between communities where homophobic and transphobic sensitivities still persist. Consider promoting a dialogue between different faith communities or religious denominations in creating a new platform - such as a workshop, conference, email list or prayer network - through which to exchange information, gather together ideas and promote collective actions.
Sending a thought or prayer on the internet is another simple and effective way to show your solidarity and to help get the message out. You could do this via facebook or twitter, perhaps by using the hashtag #IDAHOprayer. You could create a youtube video, to offer your thoughts, well wishes and prayers towards those who have faced, and continue to face, stigma and discrimination within their lives.