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Latino Daily News

Wednesday February 2, 2011

Gay Activists Meet in Minneapolis to Dicuss More Minority Involvement in Churches

Gay Activists Meet in Minneapolis to Dicuss More Minority Involvement in Churches

Photo: LGBTQ Church

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While more religious groups and churches in Minneapolis are coming around and trying to include the gay community, the more defined group of LGBTQ Hispanics is still feeling a little left out.

Nicole Garcia, a transgender activist out of Denver, says that whenever she visited gay-friendly churches, she was glad to see the brochures and other materials available for the gay churchgoers, but was disappointed to see they were all written for white families.

“Typically what I’d see are materials written for white families and translated into Spanish. That’s appreciated, but you have to understand that you’re talking about a totally different set of issue in many cases,” said Garcia.

Wednesday, Garcia and a number of other LGBTQ activists will meet in Minneapolis to take part in the annual conference held by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Garcia will head a Latino working group and will discuss an increase in diversity in gay religious activism with other multi-faith communities.

Over the last few years, LGBTQ activists have seen great changes in a number of traditionally white denominations. The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran church in America now allow openly gay clergy, and several other Protestant denominations have been leaning towards that allowance as well.

Garcia believes that a number of people of color belong to the more conservative denominations and that it has created a challenge for gays who want to live openly yet still practice their faith.

Black gay activist Earnest Simpkins agreed that being gay and a member of certain churches can be extremely difficult for member of the LGBTQ community.

“It’s a problem that’s been faced by most gays who believe — talking about that with other gay people, you often hit a brick wall because so many of us had religion used against us at some point in our life and so we build these walls against it,” said Simpkins, who adds that being gay and a minority is like a “double whammy” for some.

The lead organizer for the convention said they decided to deal more directly with the faith-plus-minority issue in order to counter religious activists who have been working against them, especially in the case of legalizing gay marriage.

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