Since the inception of the Latinx Roundtable we’ve had the intention and expectation that all of our resources would be available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. For some of us, having materials developed in – or translated to – Portuguese is beyond our individual expertise – but we have partnered with others and made it a reality. Being intentional about this has meant that we were able to readily provide resources at a first-ever Congress of LGBTI+ Churches and Communities: Ecumenical Dialogue for the Respect of Diversity (1o Congresso Igrejas e Comunidade LGBTI+: Diálogos ecumênicos para o respeito a diversidade) held in São Paolo, Brazil in June 2019. We were honored to be able to support the work of the Congress and to share our materials with attendees.
As has often been the case in the United States and in various places in Spanish-speaking Latin America, the sharing of our our resources has meant that lives are transformed, whether by providing LGBTQ+ persons tools for self-empowerment or by offering to others the tools to understand, accept, and affirm LGBTQ+ persons in their families and faith communities. The organizers of the Congress are now working on a Latin-America wide conference and other regional conferences in Brazil. The work continues!
In 2020 the LRT will focus on developing new resources (including one on HIV/AIDS and another on Immigration), and we will continue to distribute our existing materials throughout the United States and Latin America. We will also work with LGBTQ+ immigrants fleeing violence from the northern triangle of Central America: this work at the southern US border will give us an opportunity to partner with the CLGS Trans Roundtable and other faith organizations involved in this work. Working in collaboration with other CLGS Roundtables is an excellent example of LRT’s advantages in being a part of the Center.
As Coordinator of the LRT I am also working on a resource based on my own research on the ways in which Latinx LGBTQ+ persons experience a sense of belonging in mainline Protestant denominations, with initial data from Latinx LGBTQ+ persons in the Episcopal Church.
At the LRT we believe that our work is multifocal and we want every person to be able to bring their whole selves into their faith communities; this means that faith communities, especially in historically white denominations, need to deal seriously and proactively with issues relating to sexuality, gender identity, and with the ever-present issues of racism and misogyny. Ultimately, of course, we want faith communities to be places of belonging for all persons who are members. This is necessary and prophetic work.
I invite you to hear about some of this research at the Tuesday, 10 March 2020, CLGS Lavender Lunch where I will be speaking on “Latinx and LGBTQ: Challenges to Belonging in Mainline Churches.” This Lavender Lunch will be livestreamed on CLGS’ Facebook page and available for later viewing.
The Rev. Carla E. Roland Guzmán | Coordinator, CLGS Latinx Roundtable | January 2020