Every year since 2005, May 17th has been a date set aside to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The initiative came from scientist and gay rights activist Louis-George Tin. Today, the occasion is also extended to include transsexuals. The goal of the day is to bring a special awareness against discrimination of gay and transgender people. In many larger cities, there are special events such as lectures or flashmobs. The date commemorates May 17, 1990. It was on this day that the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of diseases. The concept of homophobia and transphobia is an attitude rooted in fear, resentment, and hostility towards homosexual and transgender people. Homo- and transphobia are manifested outwardly by discrimination and violence.
Homo- and Transphobia still “an agenda“
The sad reality: Even in 2012, countless people are discriminated against because of their homosexuality and transsexuality. Homosexuality is illegal in 68 countries worldwide; 29 of them are in Africa. One example which recently circulated through the international media occurred in Uganda. There, exclusion, verbal and physical violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people remains an agenda. A gay man was recently beaten to death there with a hammer. Human rights activists suspect that it was a politically motivated murder. A few months earlier, a tabloid published a list of 100 homosexuals in Uganda and the call to "Hang them!" Among them was this man’s name. Discrimination in Uganda is not only directed from politicians and the media, but also the church. At the funeral of this young Ugandan man, the minister leveled flaming condemnations against homosexuality.
Homophobia is not just an issue in Africa. Also on the European continent, hostility and resulting discrimination against gays are still widespread. Recently in Russia, discussions took place to draft a law to punish anyone speaking publicly about homosexuality. The law is already in force in the city of St. Petersburg. The reason for the law: Homosexuality is positively a bad influence on children and adolescents. Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church are among the supporters.
In Central Europe, discrimination based on homosexuality and transsexuality is still present. Recent studies in Germany show that homophobic attitudes are widespread among young people. Particularly strong was the opposition in adolescents with immigrant backgrounds. In many areas of daily life such as school, work, social life, and church, gay and transgender people are still disadvantaged and openly discriminated against.
Is Homophobia also an issue in our church?
Inequality and exclusion do not stop at the doors of our church. In many congregations, area churches, and districts, our homosexual and transgender brothers and sisters still experience mental and emotional abuse caused by the negative behavior of other brethren or ministers. For New Apostolic Christians, May 17th will be a day on which they become particularly concerned about whether they – perhaps unconsciously – disadvantage or exclude homosexual or transsexual brothers and sisters. At the same time, through their decisions and rules, the church leadership is required to help create a climate and setting that reduces homophobia and transphobia. Rainbow-NAC is committed to deal with such issues, characterized by mutual acceptance and openness to other orientations. Homo- and transphobia in 2012 should have no place in the New Apostolic Church!
Rainbow-NAC is building a bridge and provides contact, information, and support. In many congregations there is contact. About our website information and contact addresses can be accessed: www.rainbow-nac.org