On 16 June 2021 IP Out gathered for the first time to consider issues relating to religion. Now that we are coming to nearly five years since our first event, it feels we have reached the time that we should be looking more closely at intersectional identities. Three speakers kindly joined us, all from outside the IP and legal professions:
- Fr Andrew Cain – a priest in the Church of England and chaplain at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford.
- Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu – Principal Rabbi at Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue.
- Saima Razzaq – a Queer Muslim who runs her own business in Birmingham, and led the Birmingham Pride march in 2019.
The speakers spoke very authentically and movingly about their experiences as lesbian and gay people who practise a religion. They spoke of times when they have had acceptance in religious environments and times when they had not; also of times when the lack of acceptance has come from the LGBT+ community. They also pointed out that for many people, religious identity cannot be isolated from ethnic and cultural identities, and religious observance may form part of their relationships with their families and friends.
A key theme that emerged is that having identities that are in conflict is not necessarily a problem – perhaps the path is to live with the tension rather than try to resolve it. It can be important to claim your space in a community or environment rather than to seek one that may present fewer challenges.
A more detailed account of the event has been written by Shawn Dhue at Osgoode Hall Law School:
And a video of the event can be viewed here:
This was only a small aspect of the diversity of LGBT+ experiences with religion, and we expect to have further events on the theme in due course.