Indonesian Catholics Protest Provincial Ban on LGBTQ+ Education; And More News

Hendrika Mayora Victoria

The following are some items that may be of interest:

1. In Indonesia, two Catholic leaders opposed a provincial order prohibiting education on LGBTQ+ issues and encouraging schools to sanction LGBTQ+ people. Hendrika Mayora Victoria, a transgender Catholic who leads the LGBTQ+ group Fajar Sikka, said the order institutionalized discrimination. UCA News reported her comments:

“‘It is also unfortunate that such discrimination targets educational institutions that should foster a spirit of respect for diversity. . .I believe that this circular will trigger violence against LGBT groups, including bullying. This is a policy product of homophobic people,’ she said.

She stated that LGBT groups in Indonesia do not expect legal recognition ‘because we also know that it will be difficult.’

“‘We are realistic and therefore only hope that our existence is appreciated,’ she said.”

Fr. Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, a Franciscan who heads Indonesia’s National Council for Catholic Education, stated the order “has the potential to be used as a tool to legitimize the persecution of LGBT people,” adding, “In my opinion, the government should base its attitude on values that support the spirit of respecting the human rights of every individual, including the LGBT people, and distances themselves from exclusionary views.” The priest called for the Indonesian government to stop similar actions in other provinces.

2. St. Bernadette Church, Milwaukee, held an “LGBTQ Mass of Celebration and Inclusion” earlier this fall. Fr. Greg Greiten, an openly gay priest, celebrated the Mass, saying the message was: “My first words are: I love you. You are loved. You are beloved. You are holy. You are made in the image of God.” Some LGBTQ+ Catholics provided testimony during the Mass, including from a young transgender Catholic, Hailey Hable, who spoke about her faith and the difficulties she had attending an all-male Catholic school. A lesbian couple, Deborah and Kim Cavaliero-Keller also spoke. To read more about the celebration, click here.

3. The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, a Catholic school board for French language schools in Ottawa, has introduced a new “gender-neutral, inclusive” dress code after some students at a local school described a “dress code blitz” by school offisicals which the students identified as humiliating. The new dress code comes after a wide consultation with students, education officials, teachers, and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, reported CTV News. In a statement, the school board explained, “This new code reflects the CECCE’s focus on the well-being of students of all race, gender, orientation, privilege, bias, discrimination, disability, and more. The board’s approach to developing this new dress code reflects a culture of continuous learning, listening and openness.”

4. The archives of Bernárd Lynch, a gay former priest known for his AIDS activism, were acquired by the National Library of Ireland. According to Irish Central, the archives include both personal letters and items from his ministry. Katherine McSharry, the Library’s acting director, said, “The archive is a powerful reminder of those days, and of the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the LGBTI+ community both in New York and Ireland.”

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, December 24, 2022

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