3.00pm – 4.00pm
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22
LGBTQI+ people are often placed in direct opposition to religious institutions, but what of those who tick both boxes? In our rush to condemn both historical and contemporary discrimination and exclusion by religious institutions, are LGBTQI+ believers being unfairly sidelined by both religious and LGBTQI+ communities, leaving few spaces where they feel welcome? LGBTQI+ people of faith discuss legislation, LGBTQI+ community exclusion, activism, contradictions, and what faith means to them.
Moderated by Patrick Thomsen, featuring Dr Y. Gavriel Ansara, Matthew Ng, Nurul Tajularus and Arden Cassie.
Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen is currently a Lecturer in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland’s Centre for Pacific Studies. Patrick completed his doctorate at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he was the first to use Pacific research methodologies to explore the complexities of coming-out in the lives of Korean gay men in both Seoul and Seattle. Patrick also studied at Seoul National University, becoming the first Samoan to graduate from their Graduate School of International Studies and worked as an educator in schools and universities in South Korea for nearly a decade. He has recently written widely circulated pieces on the complexities of the Israel Folau saga and shared critiques on the cultural shortcomings inherent to Western frameworks of gender, queerness and sexuality. He has been published by The Diplomat, Radio New Zealand, Newshub, E-Tangata, The Coconet TV, The Spinoff and other platforms. He is currently developing a Pacific Rainbow Health and Wellbeing Project with leaders in Pacific Rainbow communities in Aotearoa-New Zealand. @PatrickSThomsen
Dr Gávi Ansara (PhD Psychol, MCouns) is an internationally recognised researcher, psychotherapist, community activist, and policy advisor. He is a religiously observant, anti-colonial lay leader of non-Eurocentric, polycultural Jewish heritage with ties to rural China and elsewhere. For the first empirical research on cisgenderism – oppressive ideology that invalidates some people’s understanding of their own genders and bodies – he received the 2012 American Psychological Association’s Transgender Research Award for a significant, original research contribution. He won the UK Higher Education Academy’s 2011 National Psychology Postgraduate Teaching Award for excellence in teaching and the University of Surrey Vice Chancellor’s 2016 Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to international human rights and social justice. He serves on the Victorian Intersex Expert Advisory Group. He is passionate about challenging systemic oppression wherever he encounters it, including nominally 'inclusive' spaces that aren't. His peer-reviewed book, Challenging cisgenderism: Moving beyond the cisgender/transgender binary, is forthcoming.
Matthew Boon Meng Ng ( 黄文明) is a first-generation Chinese Malaysian Australian. He is currently Vice President at Save Our SBS, Secretary at Acceptance Sydney for Gay and Lesbian Catholics and spokesperson for his local resident’s association, The Station Street Society of Friends. Matthew spent his formative years in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he was educated in the American International School of Riyadh and raised as a Roman Catholic in the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia. He works professionally in non-profit, political, trade union, and religious sectors as an organiser. He has worked for organisations as diverse as the political activist group GetUp!, multiple trade unions, and within the Catholic Church’s St Columban’s Missionary Society’s, Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations.
Nurul Tajularus started the non profit Sydney Queer Muslims Inc in 2017 in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting. In the past 2 years, she has worked tirelessly to network with service providers, allies and activists with the sole aim of reducing the suffering of queer Muslims in Sydney. Nurul and a dedicated group of queer Muslim volunteers have been advocating for better access to mental health care and safer pathways for victims of family violence as well as spreading awareness that queer Muslims exist and that there is help available to those who need it. The group is growing every day with emails from queer muslims coming in asking for support, spiritual counselling or simply to know that they are not alone.
Arden Cassie is a pansexual trans-woman who fiercely believes that God loves all people no matter their gender or sexual identity. Leaving her job teaching mathematics in a Christian school in 2018 to live more honestly was a significant moment but her faith is stronger for it and her local church is affirming of queer people. In her spare time she works with Hunter Gender Alliance to support trans folk in the Newcastle-Hunter region. She can be often found on a pair of roller skates or with a musical instrument in her hands.