International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia


May 17, 2012 :: Nate Phelps
Moderated by Mickey Wilson

The SAAG, SACPA, McKillop United Church, Lethbridge Regional Police Service and OUTreach Southern Alberta Society are co-sponsoring the speaker Nate Phelps as part of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

MAY 17th from 7pm at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

Few minority groups have been as discriminated against as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, two spirit and queer people . But major breakthroughs have occurred, and lgbttq people are stepping out of the shadows. From the outside, it could be construed that all problems have been solved. The media are sympathetic, public personalities come out, television shows feature more queer characters in scenes of everyday life. Nevertheless, the reality is quite different. Many individuals are unable to live openly and authentically and encounter difficulties if they do, or end up role-playing to protect themselves.

The International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia belongs to no one individual. It’s about all people hoping for a prejudice-free world that can provide a place at the table for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Inspired by all world theme-days, the day set aside to fight homophobia & transphobia needs to be appropriated by all of those actively involved in civil society: queer community organizations, those organizations focusing on other types of sexual diversity, unions, employers, private businesses, governments, public administration, professional associations, and all individuals seeking equality.

This event will a chance for all people to learn to recognize and respond to homophobia & transphobia in classrooms, the workplace, government policies, churches and communities.

This year's event will feature excerpts from the "Report Homophobic Violence, Period. project," a prevention and awareness program by the Lethbridge Regional Police and OUTreach Southern Alberta in partnership.

Our special guest for the evening will be Nate Phelps. Nate Phelps is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, which gained infamy from their protests at Matthew Shepherd's funeral and the funerals of soldiers around the US. He is the sixth of 13 children and was taught his father’s extreme version of Calvinism from an early age. This was accompanied by extreme physical punishments and abuse, extreme dietary and health requirements, and other extreme expectations. Nate left home at midnight on his 18th birthday and moved to California, where he built a new life away from his family. He later moved to Canada and only recently began speaking out about his story after a chance encounter with a reporter while driving a cab in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Nate has now spoken about his story to many groups around North America and even returned home to Topeka in 2010 to tell his story to the people in his hometown. He is a vocal LGBT advocate and the Executive Director of the Centre for Inquiry in Calgary, where he now lives.

Reception to follow.


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