Yesterday, I took part in a conversation with three dioceses of the Church of Ireland (Anglican Communion in Ireland) about the question of human sexuality. While the remit for these conversations is broad - Human Sexuality encompasses so much - the pragmatics mean that the focus is particularly the question of same-sex lives, loves, relationships and stories. By the time I was given the conference timetable, it was clear that the remit was particularly LGBT lives, so hence the sole focus on this matter.
I was given audio of my talk, which I've put below, and I've put the text up here. There are some small differences between what I'd planned to say (in the text) and what I did say (in the audio). Some of the points in the text I made later on during the proceedings.
It isn't always easy to be in a dialogues like this where matters so intimate and fundamental to me and other LGBT people are being discussed. 'It's not personal', we hear, over and over and over again.
However, if change is to happen then it is we who are most affected by these conversations that must give our voice, leadership and critique to the premise, content and tone of these theological discussions.
Difficult as these engagements are for those of us whose lives are being discussed - and much as I question the premises upon which these conversations are built - I applaud the Church of Ireland for having these conferences. My own faith can be understood as a long story of thanks to the Church of Ireland - it was through them that my faith developed, and was nurtured. So, to the leadership of the Church of Ireland, there are two things to say.
It is good that you are having these conferences.
Please keep listening to the people who are most affected by the assumptions, tone and content of these conversations. We are usually the ones who have to be ten times more gracious in order to be considered fractionally as worthy to have a place at the table.
I said I had two things to say to the leadership of the Church of Ireland, but really, it's three. Here's the final one.
Be in touch if you want to talk more. Audio below.