On Tuesday, July 21, at 3 pm Eastern (New York time) the Parliament hosted a special webinar for Parliament members, in continuation of the LGBTQ+ Webinar Series that began in June with Creating a More Inclusive Next Generation and followed by a Spanish-speaking webinar in early July highlighting inclusion work in Latin America. The July 21 webinar for Parliament members discussed various "Faith Perspectives on Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Faith Spaces". In this webinar, we heard the perspectives from representatives of various religious traditions and invited members to join the dialogue.
Bruce Knotts is the Director of the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations. He has an extensive career in human rights advocacy, including work with the United Nations and serving as a US Diplomat.
Vyda Ng is the Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council. In addition to her experience within the Unitarian Universalist movement, Vyda has extensive prior experience working with vulnerable populations such as people living with mental health challenges, survivors of abuse, the elderly, LGBTQ+ community, women and children, as well as young offenders.
Ani Zonneveld is a writer, singer/songwriter, founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), an international human rights organization that advocates for social justice and equality for all, a strong supporter of freedom of expression and of conscience, women’s rights and as an ally, LGBTQ rights. Ani promotes these values at the United Nations by challenging human rights abuses in the name of Islam, and by offering an inclusive understanding based on universal human rights and justice.
The Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer is Executive of the Office for Health and Wholeness Advocacy of Wider Church Ministries in the national offices of the United Church of Christ (UCC), as well as, Executive Director of UCAN Inc, the United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network. Rev. Schuenemeyer provides leadership in U.S. and globally on HIV & AIDS and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns.
Rabbi Aaron Weininger serves as a rabbi of the Adath Jeshurun Congregation, where he has held the Berman Family Chair in Jewish Learning since 2012. He earned his BA in Anthropology and Jewish Near Eastern Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and received ordination and an MA in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 2007 he became the first openly gay person admitted to rabbinical school in the Conservative movement, and he studied at JTS as a Schusterman Rabbinical Fellow. Trusting in the power of Jewish community to transform, Aaron believes in connecting the spark of each person to the warmth of relationships. He is entering his third year as co-chair of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association.
Baljit Kaur is a TEFL-certified teacher and linguist who speaks 6 languages fluidly. Having previously taught and developed ESL curricula for adult immigrant communities, Baljit now works as a freelance translator and interpreter. As a bisexual Sikh first-generation American, she dedicates herself to advocacy for queer Sikh issues and building support systems for immigrant communities, always inspired by the Sikh values of social justice, unity, and equality.