At the 2022 General Convention, Episcopal Migration Ministries created the Rainbow Initiative to spotlight forced migration of LGBTQ+ people, the issues they face and why we as people of faith should care. St. Michael’s Vestry signed on in March 2023 as one of approximately 20 Rainbow Initiative Congregations committed to highlighting this intersectional social-justice issue especially during Pride month in June. As a faith community, we felt called to do so because St. Michael’s is both a welcoming congregation to the LGBTQ+ community and an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation. How could we not respond?
To engage our faith community, the Outreach & Justice Council and the Immigrant Welcoming Congregation ministry planned two major events, an adult forum called In Search of Safety and Community: Forced Migration of LGBTQ+ People, which was held on Sunday, June 18; and a call to all parishioners to come out and walk in the Pride Parade on Sunday, July 16.
Why is it especially important to pay attention to LGBTQ+ forced migration this year? All you have to do is read or listen to the news to know that LGBTQ+ human rights around the world, including in the U.S., are under assault. Similarly, immigration is under assault as LGBTQ+ people and others flee their countries, or their states in the U.S., because of persecution brought on by shifting social and political attitudes and changing laws. Both gay rights and immigrant justice have long been used as wedge issues to drive people apart and create fear, all of which serve to restrict the human rights of minority groups.
If you missed the adult forum on June 18, please email the office for the video presentation of the forum. The forum was not zoomed or shared on St. Michael’s YouTube channel to help protect the safety of the guest speaker whose family still lives in Iran. The video shows the slides of key information about LGBTQ+ forced migration.