Statement on The Importance of Interfaith Work

December 6, 2017

Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh

The ILGA Asia Interfaith Pre-conference

We were a group of 50 LGBTIQ faith-based leaders and allies, collectively representing Abrahamic and Karmic faiths as well as non-religious groups, gathered on Monday 4th December 2017, at the Interfaith Pre-conference of the 7th ILGA Asia Conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

This Interfaith Pre-conference wass the first ever in the history of ILGA Asia’s annual conferences, and the third in the history of ILGA World Conferences, during which LGBTIQ faith-based leaders and allies came together to discuss the past and current realities and challenges of being an LGBTIQ person of faith in the region. This pre-conference was also the opportunity to launch the book “I am Divine, so are you”, an exploration of Karmic faith’s views of sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Finally, at this particular Interfaith Pre-conference, we held a session for all of us to express our recommendations to ILGA Asia and ILGA, regarding the combination of human sexuality and spirituality, and integration of such a faith-based lens within the organization’s work.

As a group, we expressed some of the challenges faced by LGBTI people of faith:

1. The rejection from family because of religious values; 

2. The rejection from LGBTIQ and/or religious communities; 

3. The correction of SOGI identities based on text or scripture of bible; 

4. The doctrine that homosexuality is sin, immoral; 

5. The past sexual violation which led questioning of sexuality. 

We developed the following recommendations for ILGA:

1. Database on faith based communities that works for LGBTIQ movement and/or LGBTIQ organisation that work closely with interfaith issues. We urge ILGA Asia to identify and map out the LGBTIQ-friendly faith based groups (including churches, temples, mosque, pagodas, etc) and/or religious leaders within Asia communities

2. Resource Center on Interfaith and Sexuality. We urge ILGA Asia to collaborate with the Global Interfaith Network particularly within Asia region to create and/or develop platform that provide guidelines, tool-kit, publication, resource (books, article, journal) related to interfaith and sexuality, including the above-mentioned database. It can be integrated within the ILGA Asia platform such as website and social media.

The Interfaith Preconference Planning Committee The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions

3. The development of interfaith work in the future of ILGA Asia’s work. We urge ILGA Asia to sustain creating safe space to address interfaith discussion within the member of ILGA Asia through further programs including sub-regional and regional meetings and discussion,

4. Strengthening of support to local and regional interfaith organizations. We recommend ILGA Asia to provide such support and advocacy connections through the establishment of a formal technical support mechanism, the provision of training and workshop sessions including within religious and LGBTIQ communities, and to create a system to report violations to religious communities.

5. Network Development and Expansion. We would like to see further integration of interfaith issues in future regional and global ILGA conferences, including through the creation of separate sessions for LGBTI leaders of faith to present their work.

The ILGA Interfaith Pre-Conference now call upon the ILGA Asia Conference and ILGA to adopt this statement as supportive of the global inclusive interfaith movement.

The Interfaith Preconference Planning Committee

The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions

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