Bishop Tutu speaks up for LGBTI rights.
Subject: Archbishops (Speeches, lectures and essays)
Sexual minorities (Religious aspects)
Sexual minorities (Crimes against)
Sexual minorities (Civil rights)
Pub Date: 06/01/2008
Publication: Name: Sister Namibia Publisher: Sister Namibia Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Sister Namibia ISSN: 1026-9126
Issue: Date: June, 2008 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 980 Legal issues & crime
Persons: Named Person: Tutu, Desmond
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 184550013
Full Text: Comparing the importance of speaking up for human rights to the basic act of breathing, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa gave an historic speech to the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex (LGBTI) community at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in April. A crowd of 500 people heard the Nobel Peace Prize recipient condemn the persecution of LGBTI people, apologise on behalf of his Church for ostracising gay people, and challenge China to improve its human rights record - all in the first ever direct address by the Archbishop to a large gathering of the LGBTI community in the United States.


Archbishop Tutu's speech was the highlight of A Celebration of Courage, the annual gala awards ceremony of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), where Tutu was presented with an OUTSPOKEN Award recognising his leadership as a global ally of the LGBTI community whose voice has contributed substantially to advancing the rights and understanding of LGBTI people everywhere.

In his 30-minute address, Archbishop Tutu said that for his part it was impossible to keep quiet "when people were frequently hounded...vilified, molested and even killed as targets of homophobia... for something they did not choose - their sexual orientation." In the face of this ongoing persecution, Tutu praised LGBTI people for being "compassionate, caring, self-sacrificing and refusing to be embittered." He spoke critically of his Church, apologising for the way it has ostracised LGBTI people, and for making them feel as if God had made a mistake by creating them to be who they are. "How sad it is," he said, "That the Church should be so obsessed with this particular issue of human sexuality when God's children are facing massive problems - poverty, disease, corruption, conflict..."

IGLHRC director Paula Ettelbrick described Archbishop Tutu as "a rare and special individual who embodies human rights and morality. He recognises that all human beings are valuable, that we are all interdependent, and that our struggles are shared. We are so honoured that he has chosen to attend our event and accept the OUTSPOKEN Award."

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