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Rainbow Interfaith Alliance held IDAHOBIT celebrations for all

For many LGBTIQA+ people faith and spirituality are often sources of exclusion and discrimination. In many cultures, faith traditions have carried forward and promoted fear and misinformation, normalizing and legitimizing prejudice.

As always though, there is another story, one that shows how LGBTIQA+ can be people of faith and how faiths can, and must, include all people.

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Last month in Midland, the newly formed Rainbow Interfaith Alliance held an Australian first – a unique interfaith celebration of IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia).

Image by Peter King from Shutterpups

The fully open celebration in Midland drew together people from Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Neo-Pagan, Muslim and multi-belonging traditions. We gathered to support the full inclusion of all people regardless of sexuality or gender expression.

The night was spirit-filled and beautiful, with a custom universal service, lovely decorations, and openness of all present to each other’s faith and unique personhood. We were led to ground in the universal experience common to all people and all faiths; the presence of the Land and soil that brings life.

Bishop Hans from the Anglican Church gave a moving address, noting the failure of Christian churches to love fully while also affirming that there is a strong movement for full inclusion. Other speakers, like Druid Tina Merrybard, spoke about the assumed heteronormativity within our language and images of the divine. We heard, via a letter, from a young Sikh woman, ‘Manmeet’, who explained that, in common with many traditions, it is not always safe for people to be openly LGBTQIA+.

Midland Anglican parishioner, Joey McAuley gave a powerful address on how churches and other faiths can transform and open themselves to full inclusion.

We transformed our tears and laments of past exclusion into the waters of life and blessed rainbow interfaith symbols given to the 80-100 people who attended, as a sign of a commitment to inclusion and love.

The Rainbow Interfaith Alliance will be back during Pride Month celebrating LGBTIQA+ and Faith – look out for our event!

Reverend Peregrin Campbell-Osgood

You can connect with the Rainbow Interfaith Alliance on Facebook.

Images: Peter King from Shutterpups

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