Bishop Christopher Senyonjo’s three month tour in the United States culminated with a consultation sponsored by Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office on Monday, June 14. The day-long consultation brought together more than 40 representatives from national/international LGBT groups, LGBT faith groups, denominations, governments and UN officials—of note were the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Swedish, British, Norwegian and Dutch Permanent Missions to the United Nations.
Presenters included Julius Kaggwa of the Ugandan Support Initiative for People with Atypical Sex Development, Todd Ferrell of The Evangelical Network, Ryan Thoreson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Bishop Yvette Flunder of the United Church of Christ, Dr. Sylvia Rhue of the National Black Justice Coalition and Dr. Cindi Love of Soulforce. The conversation was an eclectic mix of history, international law, theology and denominational structures with the goal of mobilizing faith, government and social leaders to support sexual minorities.
Uganda is one of 37 countries in Africa where LGBT people are criminalized and are increasingly targeted for violence and criminalization after waves of American Evangelicals preached their anti-gay messages. As a largely Christian country, Evangelicals have great access and understand that Uganda plays a pivotal role in Africa. Many East African countries look to Uganda as a role model—and US traditions such as Episcopal, Methodist and Lutheran, are strongly influenced by African stakeholders.
GLAAD has been working with a network of groups this year to amplify faith voices in the US to use their networks and core values to speak out through media to eliminate laws against LGBT people. A follow-up consultation will tentatively take place in the fall of this year.