In the Unitarian Universalist (UU) tradition of spearheading, cutting edge advocacy and standing up for vulnerable populations, the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) organized one of the first ever panel on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) and its International Human Rights consequences. Collaborating with the United Nations Non Governmental Organization’s (NGO) Committee for Human Rights and the NGO Committee on HIV/AIDS, The UU-UNO put together a panel of experts to present on this controversial issue, so it could be rigorously examined from different frameworks. The topic was reviewed from a medical, political, international, legal, academic, personal and religious perspective. This multiple systems approach resulted in a jammed packed program with six world renowned speakers, the reading of heartfelt personal letter, and a preview of a relevant film on the subject. Attendance at the event was standing room only, with audience participants from United Nations missions and agencies, religious organizations, and advocacy NGO’s .The feedback so far has been unbelievable; our office has been flooded with emails from organizations thanking us for hosting this historic event and wanting more programming. The event was covered in the national media on the Huffington Post and will be published as a collection of papers in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health.
Check out the Huffington Post article here!
RECAP of the Event:
The program began with a preview of the new feature length film God Loves Uganda. The film examines the role in which western Evangelicals play in spreading hate and intolerance in Uganda. Many of the key characters in the film, including Pastor Scott Lively have focused on the message that being gay is something that should be ‘cured’. The draconian “anti-gay” bill which calls for the death penalty for ‘serial’ homosexuals, currently being considered in the Ugandan parliament, was introduced just weeks after Lively and other Western religious leaders inundated Uganda with this SOCE propaganda. The film is an example of how treating homosexuality like a treatable disease can lead to international human rights violations. The UU-UNO plans to host a full screening of this fascinating film, followed by discussion of leading faith leaders about how we can use religion to combat intolerance and instead spread a gospel of love, understanding and acceptance.
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