Global Rainbow Catholics meet in Chicago

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics met recently to address the issues faced by LGBTIQ Catholics and allies. This meeting included delegates from all corners of the world. This report is by Peter Maher who attended the meeting representing Rainbow Catholics Interagency for Ministry, Australia.

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) held its 3rd Biennial Assembly in Chicago from June 30 to July 3. GNRC is an international network of groups and individuals who work with LGBTIQ Catholics to support one another in this mission. It is made up of 5 regional groups from Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Nth America and Latin America and the Caribbean. About 50 delegates came together to discuss the gifts and challenges for lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex Catholics, their families and friends.

Meeting just after the Congregation for Catholic Education produced Male and Female He created them, reports from the regions reflected the limitations of church hierarchy and teaching to meet the reality of the LGBTIQ experience and story. The failure of the document to engage at any stage with the LGBTIQ Catholic community became a deeply painful backdrop to the discussions by the GNRC delegates.

Regional groups reported continued or increased experience of state sanctioned discrimination of LGBTIQ people. Delegates were especially concerned with the internal discrimination within the church itself.

Delegates reported that not only are Catholic employees in Catholic educational institutions finding their jobs and roles threatened but in some countries the students are also experiencing discrimination as they are asked to waive their right to stay with the institution if they come out or support LGBTI anti-discrimination.

Other key issues included the inadequacy of the Catholic church's theology of sexuality; inadequate training of priests and pastoral carers to support LGBTIQ Catholics and how to get more women involved.

GNRC Co-chair, Ruby Almeida, called for the value of diversity in the GNRC to be more than just words. GNRC and its member groups are strongly male and there needs to be some thought and strategies to include women, transgender and intersex people and their experiences in the future of the GNRC.

Another major issue is support for LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers. GNRC is committed to advocate world leaders and UNHCR. In spite of the continued vulnerability of LGBTIQ people in some countries, there is no quota for them.