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Called Out eNews-April 2008

National Day of Silence is Friday, April 25


Hundreds of thousands of students nationwide will observe a national Day of Silence on Friday, April 25 to encourage schools to address the disturbing issue of anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment. This year's event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a California eighth-grader who was shot and killed Feb. 12 by a classmate because of King's sexual orientation and gender expression.

The goal of the Day of Silence is to make schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. In a Harris Interactive study on bullying, students said two of the top three reasons students are harassed in school are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. Additionally, four of five LGBT students experience harassment at school.

The Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Day of Silence's organizational sponsor, encourages participants to be counted by registering at www.dayofsilence.org. Students from nearly 5,000 middle and high schools registered for the 2007 Day of Silence. (GLSEN does not publish a list of registered students or their schools.)

For the latest GLSEN findings about anti-LGBT bullying and harassment and the school experience, log on to: www.glsen.org/research

A prayer for the Day of Silence

Wondrous God,
lover of lion and lizard, cedar and cactus, raindrop and river,
we praise You for the splendor of the world!
We thank You, that woven throughout the tapestry of earth
are the varied threads of human diversity.
Created in Your image,
we are of many colors and cultures, ages and classes, gender and sexual identities.
Different and alike,
we are Your beloved people.

Free us, we pray,
from fears of difference that divide and wound us.
Move us, we pray, 
to dismantle our attitudes and systems of prejudice.

Renew our commitment
to make this community a safe,
welcoming and inclusive place

for all people,

gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, and straight.
May all who live, work, study and play here 
experience from, and offer to each other

dignity and respect

which is the birthright of every human being. 

In our life together,
grant us minds and hearts
eager to learn, reluctant to judge, and responsive to
the leading of Your loving Spirit.

We ask in Christ's name, Amen.

An adaptation of the prayer "Wondrous God" by Rev. Ann B. Day
originally published in Shaping Sanctuary, Proclaiming God's Grace in an Inclusive Church,
Reconciling Church Program, 2000, p.132


200 rally at National Center for Transgender Equality Lobby Day to end transgender discrimination


Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer at
NCTE rally on Capitol Hill,
April 15, 2008
photo by Renae Lupini

Nearly 200 transgender rights activists and supporters from 29 states descended on Washington D.C. for Lobby Day on April 14, urging Congress to support legislation aimed at ending discrimination and violence. Organized by the Washington-based National Center for Transgender Equality, participants sought to set aside sharp disagreements over a decision last year by House Democratic leaders to remove transgender protections from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). "Our lobbying will educate lawmakers about our lives, who we are and why we are working hard to end discrimination against all people – but especially people who face discrimination because of their gender identity," said Mara Keisling, the Center's executive director.

In a reception April 15 at the National Press Club, the group presented awards to Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rush Holt (D-N.J.) for voting last year against a gay-only version of ENDA. Unlike many conservative lawmakers who were opposed to the bill altogether, Nadler, Holt and five others opposed it because it lacked a trans provision.

Activists also called on the Senate to pass a hate crimes bill that includes transgender protections. The House and Senate passed such a bill last year in different forms. It died when the House rejected the Senate's version, which was attached to a defense authorization measure.

Trans activists also called on Congress to repeal or significantly amend the Real ID Act of 2005, a controversial anti-terrorism measure requiring states to turn driver's licenses into a national form of identification. Information such as a person's gender, date of birth and photograph would be stored in unchangeable electronic files under an early set of rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Civil liberties groups joined transgender activists in predicting the law and proposed rules would lead to legal liability and privacy violations for transgender persons who change gender identities.

Keisling and Stephanie White, the Center's managing director, led an all-day policy briefing on Monday for the visiting lobbyists. The trans lobbyists then formed teams of two or more and fanned out on Capitol Hill, visiting offices of Senators and Representatives to discuss issues.


National Gathering setting: "One Tribe, One Table"


In conjunction with The Fellowship and featuring the theme "One Tribe, One Table," National Gathering 2008 will be held June 25-29 in Dallas. Featured speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Horace L. Griffin, an Episcopal priest, pastoral theologian and seminary professor. He is author of Their Own Receive Them Not: African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches (Pilgrim Press, 2006).

Adult registration fee is $125 if submitted by May 31; thereafter, cost is $175. Youth registration (5-16) by May 31 is $75; after May 31, the fee is $100. No registration fee is required for infants to age 4. For more information or for registration details, click here http://www.ucccoalition.org/programs/gathering/

In addition, the Youth and Young Adult Program will offer a pre-event for National Gathering. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) June 23–25 at First Community UCC in Dallas. ASIST is an internationally recognized evidence-based practice that teaches techniques in recognizing suicide risk, and what to say and do to keep the person safe until the next level of help becomes involved (see: www.livingworks.net). Workshop fee of $85 covers materials, Suicide Intervention Handbook and continental breakfast and lunch for three days.




Ecumenical Training for ONA Leaders

More than 60 volunteers have already received training
to help resource local congregations
and other settings of the church in the Open and Affiming process.

For more information:

Contact:  Michelle Simms, phone: 800-653-0799

Schedule of Ecumenical Trainings through August 2008

Date  City/State Host group
May 16-18 Goshen, IN Anita Bradshaw
June 6-8 Laverne, CA Anita Bradshaw
August 7-10 Columbus, OH Lutherans Concerned N. America
August 21-24 Milwaukee, WI Lutherans Concerned N. America




HRC Issues Clergy Call for May 4-5, 2009

The HRC's Religion and Faith Program will present its second Clergy Call for Justice and Equality on May 4-5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. Clergy and religious leaders from all 50 states will gather for "Moving From Acceptance to Advocacy." They will meet with members of Congress, take part in a major press conference, and worship together in an interfaith service. A transgender educational campaign in key congressional districts is being included to encourage deeper work on all LGBT issues nationwide.

The conception and inspiration for this second Clergy Call came directly from those who came to Clergy Call 2007. These religious leaders returned from their time in Washington energized with a new sense of possibility for change at home and a deeper sense of how their local work could embolden a new dialogue about LGBT people and faith throughout the nation.

If you are inspired by Clergy Call 2009 or have questions, email us at religion@hrc.org For more information, log onto http://www.hrc.org/issues/religion/9194.htm. And it's not too early to register! http://www.hrc.org/issues/religion/9209.htm




Many Stories, One Voice

The North American Convocation of Pro-LGBT Christians will hold "Many Stories, One Voice" Sept. 4-7 in New Orleans. A leadership-development event, MSOV comprises the gamut of beliefs (Protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Anabaptist), a rainbow of peoples (African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino/a, First Nation People, European American) and a wide array of sexual identity (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, heterosexual). Progressive, moderate and conservative views are represented as participants are drawn together to speak the truth of God's extravagant welcome. Agenda items include rich Bible Study, profound worship, relationship building, skills building, reflective/incisive theological analysis and strategic action. The goal is transformation – of individual lives, of our pro-LGBT movement and of our culture. A word of welcome for those of multi-faiths and those without religious affiliation: While this conference is rooted in Christian tradition and draws heavily on the languages and cultures within Christianity, ALL are welcome.