I will be presenting a workshop with LGBT community workers. I need a title that is punchy and grabs attention but also contains the essence of the content. Please tell me which one you think will work best or suggest another.
1. War & Peace
2. Walking Between Worlds
4. The Struggle to Find Peace
5. The Journey to Resolution
6. Out of the Woods and into the Jungle
Working Effectively with LGBT People of Faith & Religion (this will be the subtitle)
LGBT people of faith and religion are an emerging group within our community whose specific needs have not always been identified or catered for. As these individuals connect with the LGBT community and services, community workers and service providers need awareness training to work more effectively with the target group.
LGBT people from faith and religious backgrounds experience the usual issues of resolution, coming out, finding their place in the community and learning what it means to be gay or lesbian in a predominately straight world. They often however, experience these things with greater intensity and have additional issues to deal with.
Impacts of faith/sexuality conflict
• After coming out, internalised homophobia from years of negative conditioning and self-hatred continues to have an impact.
• Many have invested years attempting to conform to heterosexuality through personal secret struggles, heterosexual relationships and ‘ex-gay’ programs; leaving them damaged and traumatised.
• Having a belief system that says your eternal destiny is determined by your acceptance/rejection of your homosexuality or gender identity creates a cognitive dissonance.
• For many people from faith backgrounds, accepting that being gay or lesbian means they have to leave the church. Their entire social network (often like family) is gone, along with church activities and service. Finding new purpose in life, their place in the LGBT community (with a very different set of values) is often difficult.
• Greif and trauma are common themes for these people. Extricating yourself from the religion can be traumatic and even connecting with others from the same background triggers the trauma. The loss of family, friends and faith can be devastating. Both the trauma and grief can be subconscious and unacknowledged but plays out in psychological and behavioural issues such as depression, suicidiality and self-destructive behaviours.
• Those still within the religious structure or just come out are usually fairly ignorant about safe sex practices and are at high risk of STI’s & HIV.
• Many years of secrecy and denial can create unhealthy addictions or obsessions.
• Although beliefs systems are different, people from strong Christian, Islamic or Jewish backgrounds can face similar issues
This workshop provides community workers and service providers with an in-depth look into the world of LGBT people of faith and the issues they face.
Workshop cover areas such as:
• Identifying the specific issues and how to resolve them
• The journey of a gay Christian to complete resolution of both their faith and their sexuality
• Separating the issues of faith and sexuality
• Creating non-judgement, safe spaces for LGBT of faith
• The do’s and don’t’s working with this target group
• The ‘ex-gay’ world – what is really going on
• Strategies to deal with an unresolved belief system
• The Bible verses that speak of same sex activity
• Approaching safe sex issues
• What additional support mechanisms are available
Workshop is three one hour sessions with time dedicated to discussion and questions.
Anthony was a leader in the Assemblies of God and a popular preacher in the mega-churches of Australia. After 22 years of attempting to change his sexuality through counselling, exorcisms, 40 day fasts, ‘ex-gay’ programs and marriage he was forced to face reality. Nothing had changed: he was still gay. After his resignation from the ministry and public confession, he struggled to come to terms with the loss of his friends, faith and purpose.
Anthony is now a respected community leader a dedicated ambassador for the LGBT community, promoting respectful dialogues, educating people about sexuality and assisting others to resolve the perceived conflict between their faith and their sexuality. His award winning autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning’ is now in its second print and he has appeared on national TV programs such as 60 minutes, Sunrise, the Morning Show, Mornings with Kerri Anne and the ABC’s Hungry Beast. Anthony is also the co-founder of Freedom 2 b[e] and was twice voted one of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians.