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Stonewall UK CEO offers rationale for LGBT Inclusion

Stonewall UK CEO offers rationale for LGBT Inclusion
I find the Church of England weakness and indecisiveness on LGBT concerns unforgiveable, said Ruth Hunt

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
August 31, 2018

The CEO of Stonewall (UK) Ruth Hunt, a Roman Catholic, told an audience in Leicester Cathedral recently that the sooner the Vatican gets a gay network group, the better. She also blasted the Church of England for its attitude towards LGBT people as "unforgiveable".

"We can actually start making some progress! The Church of England should be better than this. It's how it works. It should be able to cope with dissent and disagreement - good disagreement. I spoke to Synod last year- some of you may have been there. I was slightly undercover, in that I didn't tell Stonewall I was doing it! -- and I thought 'This suits you. This indecisiveness suits how you work.' And we need to be better than that."

Hunt blasted the Church of England and said the thing that breaks her heart about the CofE is that the issue of the inclusion of LGBT people is a proxy for a bigger discussion. "I don't think it's really just about LGBT issues, and I find their weakness unforgiveable. I would find their defiant opposition more palatable than their weakness. That's where my anger has reached. Catholics are a mess of contradiction. Catholics have always been a mess of contradiction."

Hunt, A Welsh Roman Catholic, heads Stonewall, a secular lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity in the UK named after the Stonewall Inn of Stonewall riots in New York City's Greenwich, whose motto is acceptance without exception.

She told her Anglican audience that we need to be louder, and that the time for polite dissent and disagreement is passing.

"I think we should be angry about the way in which people are excluded from our communities, and I think that we should find a way to express that anger with love and respect. This should not be done in the name of Jesus and it should not be done in the name of God," she said.

She said Stonewall had grown in 2014, with a staff of 25 with a turnover of 1.7 million pounds ($2.1 million), to 240 staff with income close to $8 million pounds. ($10.3 million). She said Stonewall was relentlessly pursuing what she described as an assimilation agenda.

"I think that the Catholic Church speaks great volumes about gay men, and barely recognizes trans people, and lesbians just don't exist. And that was about me understanding female sexuality and about the role of women in the church."

Her remarks come at a time when the Roman Catholic Church is in turmoil over multiple sex abuse claims by people at the hands of clergy, bishops and a cardinal.

Hunt said social media is now creating division and polarizing communities more than ever before.
"[What] we need now is an explicit, vocal Christian faith. We desperately need to find different ways of talking to each other and building bridges not walls."

Hunt admitted that she recently had to stand up to a small, but increasingly vocal group of lesbian feminists who totally object to trans inclusion. "As a dyke running Stonewall, that's been pretty tough. Your own tribe turning on you is pretty tough. We are strongly supportive of UK Black Pride and I think that the way that other organizations have treated those who are working on UK Black Pride has been
unacceptable, and we will do everything in our power to support Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people find their voices."

In her lecture she said condemning from the rooftops is not always Stonewall's technique. "I'm always more likely to enjoy a good quality conversation in Lambeth Palace - albeit in a slightly odd situation sometimes, but we have to influence where we can, and Stonewall tries to influence where we can."

The lecture can be viewed on the Inclusive Church YouTube channel here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tldAtMG9LU

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