To connect LGBTIQA+ people and advocates across the Australian church, resourcing and equipping them and their churches to be a truly welcoming and affirming Australian church; one which acknowledges, respects and utilises the gifts of all, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender.
The Membership of Equal Voices undertakes to:
- Boldly proclaim Christ’s love for all people, regardless of their gender, sex, and sexual orientation;
- Value the voices of all in the church, especially those not usually heard;
- Honour the value and equality of committed, life-long, life-giving adult relationships, regardless of sexuality, gender identity or physical gender traits;
- Understand that moral expectations in committed relationships for heterosexual and LGBTIQ+ Christians are the same;
- Welcome all believers in Christ to fellowship;
- Promote the value of listening and respectful conversation;
- Welcome the value of learning and growing in our understanding of the Word of God;
- Actively develop advocates to stand up, take responsibility and equip themselves with knowledge, understanding and fearlessness to boldly challenge homophobia, transphobia and intersex exclusion.
WHO WE ARE
Equal Voices is a not for profit organisation, formed as an alliance of LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies. It supports, sustains and empowers LGBTIQA+ Christians to express their religious identity in community with others and in the public domain.
At great personal cost and in violation of their human rights, LGBTIQA+ people of faith are often forced to choose between essential parts of their identity. They face varying degrees of exclusion, rejection and ignorance from both LGBTIQA+ and faith-based communities of identity.
In the public domain religious rights are often pitted against the rights of LGBTIQA+ people, erasing LGBTIQ people of faith from consideration in public policies and impoverishing the public conversation.
Launched in April 2017, Equal Voices works for the inclusion and recognition of religious LGBTIQA+ people in both their communities of identity. Equal Voices brings LGBTIQA+ Christians together.
Equal Voices recognises and affirms their dual identities. It gives them a united voice to speak to their communities of identity and to public debates that often divide what they have reconciled.
Equal Voices advocates on behalf of LGBTIQA+ people of faith within faith communities (primarily Christian) and in public policy. It develops and provides educational and other resources for LGBTIQA+ people of faith, their communities and their families.
Equal Voices offers support, care and encouragement by facilitating, branches, faith networks and task forces – particularly among religious communities, running events and operating in online spaces. It makes submissions and contributions to public policy and law reform issues and engages with government at all levels.
Why We Exist
Within contemporary Australian churches, the body of Christ is divided over issues of sex, sexuality and gender. There remains division and debate over the acceptance, welcome, affirmation and full inclusion of Christians who are LGBTIQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual or other).
There remains an ongoing failure to recognise and honour LGBTIQA+ experiences and gifts.
Parts of the Christian community have been unloving and exclusionary. In other churches and communities, LGBTIQA+ people are treated as ‘clients’ in need of ‘healing’ and ‘fixing’ and are dehumanised by this.
Parts of the church continue to either operate or condone ‘sexual orientation change efforts’ which have done and do tremendous harm in peoples’ lives.
We have promoted stereotypes about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and have failed to become educated about LGBTIQA+ people. We have put LGBTIQA+ people outside the family, using terms such as ‘family values’ to suggest that they are not part of community. We have ‘othered’.
Equal Voices is convicted of the urgent need to repair the breach.
Community & Pastoral Care
At the heart of our mission is love for one another, so pastoral care and community building is a first order priority.
Forming connections, building and linking people into support networks and fostering holistic care to those within our community is ultimately what we are about.
This portfolio can include activities that bring us together, connect us, build us up and nurture each of us so we can be confident in who we are and what we offer.
Task forces exist within Equal Voices to take on specific responsibilities that are separate to other portfolios. A taskforce has a clear focus to execute the vision and mission of Equal Voices Australia.
Task Forces are passion areas for our members and are not bound by geographic.
A Faith Network is faith group specific and works within their own faith group to execute the vision and mission of Equal Voices National.
To achieve an equal place at the table across our country we need a diverse range of faith group experts to be working with their own communities.
Equal Voice Branches are setup to engage with the Vision and Mission of Equal Voices National at the local geographical level.
Each branch may have its own function and is chaired by elected members of that branch.