New Report Details Global Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Lay Catholics

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) will release a new report on the discrimination faced by gay, lesbian, and bisexual lay Catholics today, one which will be discussed in an upcoming livestream this Sunday.

The report is titled “Lay Catholic LGB Discrimination in the 21st Century.” GNRC explained in a press release:

“GNRC is aware that there are regional or country-based surveys and studies related to general discrimination against LGBTIQ+ Catholic people but this is the first one that compiles this issue with a global perspective. ‘The common trends and particularities reviewed across the report notes that there are still multiple forms of Church influenced discrimination in the 21st century’, declares Anne Marie Martindale, the Report Researcher who conducted the Report for GNRC and will focus on its results in the Live broadcast transmission.”

The GNRC report will be released this coming Sunday, June 28, 2020. A livestream event featuring the report’s author will be held at 10 a.m. Eastern U.S. (GMT-4). You can view it through GNRC’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which is a GNRC member group, will be interviewing researcher Martindale during the event which will include video testimonies of some of the report’s interviewees.

DeBernardo commented on the report:

“This research includes important references and testimonies that give a voice and context to the wide expressions of violence and discrimination against LGB Catholics, and where the Catholic Church has an important role and influence either to maintain the structures and systems that sustain them or to be part of changing them.”

GNRC shared that this report would be only the first of several research initiatives to “reveal and expose the threats as well as the opportunities that LGBTIQ+ Catholics and their families experience worldwide within the Catholic Church.”  For example, transgender issues will be the focus of a future upcoming report.

GNRC has used its social media channels recently to highlight some of the discrimination faced by LGBTQ Catholics, including two reflections for World Refugee Day last week. The first was from Tania Irias, who fled Nicaragua for Spain. Irias wrote:

“I am a woman, lesbian, mother, migrant and Catholic. . .for me, being connected to support networks and collaborative social work, networks that I have built from my activism as a lesbian and Catholic woman, has been very important but also difficult to maintain. . .

“As Christians, as Catholics we have a lot of work to do. We must complement the charity approach with that of Human Rights. Raise ourselves beyond compassion and recognize ourselves from the dignity of the human being. We are all sisters and brothers. Thus, we deserve the same Rights, even if we are in our country of origin.”

Another reflection was from Satomi Shimada, a member of the Japanese LGBT Catholic group Nijiirono Tomoshbi, who supports LGBTQ refugees in East Africa. Shimada writes of traveling to be with that community:

“My LGBTIQ+ refugee friends in Kenya are mostly Catholics so we didn’t only meet but also shared some important moments of spiritual communion. I had precious time with them while praying the rosary and attended Mass. This reminded me that people in need and specially refugees have many faces. There, it could be political prosecution, LGBTIQ+ discrimination or religious alienation. All this separately or simultaneously but at the end of the day leading to an unwanted diaspora.”

For more information about GNRC’s work, visit or follow them on Instagram @gnrcatholics.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, June 25, 2020

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