GLAAD set to join LGBT Catholic leaders at White House reception for Pope Francis

The White House has extended an invitation for GLAAD and LGBT Catholic leaders to attend the White House reception for Pope Francis. GLAAD's CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis and Director of Programs Ross Murray will be representing the organization at the ceremony which will welcome Pope Francis before he and President Obama meet privately.

GLAAD used the invitation to invite Nicholas Coppola, who wrote a petition asking Pope Francis to meet with LGBT Catholics during his upcoming visit to the U.S. GLAAD worked with Nicholas, a devoted Catholic, out gay man, and prolific LGBT advocate.

Nicolas created a petition in the past when he was barred from continuing his duties at his home parish in New York, simply because he is gay. Since his rejection from his church, Coppola (also a former GLAAD intern) has been working to accelerate acceptance for the LGBT community.

Also joining Ross and Nicholas, will be Sister Jeannine Gramick, the co-founder, and Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a ministry of advocacy and justice for LGBT Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities. Jeannine and Francis were two of 28 leaders of Catholic, Latino, and LGBT organizations that signed and sent a letter to the Pope urging him to meet with LGBT Catholics.

The news has reported that other LGBT Catholics will also present among the roughly 1,000 people invited to the welcome reception. Aaron Jay Ledesma was one such gay Catholic blogger, who has written about his growing and changing relationship with the Roman Catholic Church. 

GLAAD's 2012 Missing Voices report on religious voices in mainstream media, found that the media overwhelmingly quotes or interviews Christians with negative messages towards the LGBT community and that three out of four religious messages came from people whose religions have formal polices opposing LGBT equality. 

Help send a message to Pope Francis by submitting a post to the Tell the Pope tumblr page detailing your experience as an LGBT person or ally. By posting your experiences with the Catholic Church as a member of this community, you allow the voices of many devout LGBT Catholics and their allies to be heard.

Some of the ways to submit a post include:

  1. Taking a photo with a sign to tell Pope Francis about your life as an LGBT Catholic.
  2. Recording a video where you describe your thoughts on current LGBT issues as they pertain to the Church.
  3. Writing a story or drawing a picture to illustrate your faith and how it is connected to your life as an LGBT person or ally.

This is an opportunity for you to tell the Pope what you would like him to know about LGBT people and their relationship with the Catholic Church. Go to the Tell the Pope page to view what others have posted regarding their thoughts, struggles, and hopes for a brighter future.