Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Anaheim Eight in Private Meeting with Primate

This afternoon eight LGBT deputies had a private meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. In just thirty minutes there was hardly time for a free and full exchange of views so instead the deputies shared some of their personal stories and the Archbishop listened. What happened next they will not say because it was a ‘private’ meeting. We can certainly respect a need for privacy but why in this situation? Was it was part of the ground rules of the meeting at the Archbishop’s request? Or did the organizers think it was necessary to induce him to meet, as if the Archbishop might be afraid of American LGBT people? That’s puzzling because he knows plenty of English ones and doesn’t seem to mind talking to them.

Or was it necessary to have protected space in order to facilitate a degree of vulnerability? If so, was it facilitated? We may never know the details but the deputies we spoke with were pleased to have had the opportunity to talk to the Archbishop and share their experiences of exclusion and inclusion. We are pleased for them, and for us too. As deputy Michael Spencer commented, the times they are changing. Until September 2007, the Archbishop didn’t seem willing to meet with the Episcopal Church at all, and now he’s back less than two years later and he’s not just meeting bishops.

Thanks to the Anaheim Eight who shared their/our stories, and thanks to deputy Michael Barlowe for setting this up. You can catch an interview with deputies Altagracia Perez, Lisa Gray and Michael Spencer coming up on IntegriTV.

Caroline Hall, Communications Team, IntegrityUSA

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