On April 8, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will give an historic 30-minute address to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community at Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco. This the first time that he has directly addressed such a large LGBTI gathering in the United States.

He will address a crowd of approximately 400 people at A Celebration of Courage, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s (IGLHRC’s) annual gala awards ceremony, where he will also be honoured for his leadership on human rights.

“Archbishop Tutu is a true human rights activist, someone who acknowledges that all human beings are inherently valuable and deserve to be treated with respect,” said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director.

“He has consistently stood up for justice and inclusion and for all those subject to human rights abuses – including members of the LGBTI community. His work has paved the way for a better world.”

Archbishop Tutu has vigorously criticized segments of the Anglican church for its homophobia. “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God,” he said in a 2007 interview with BBC radio.

He has challenged the church for “being almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality” at a time when “our world is facing problems—poverty, HIV and AIDS—a devastating pandemic, and conflict.”

“Archbishop Tutu’s vision is of a world where everyone’s human rights are respected,” said Ettelbrick.

At the April 8 event, IGLHRC will present Archbishop Tutu with its Outspoken Award, which recognises the leadership of a global ally to the LGBTI community whose outspokenness has contributed substantially to advancing the rights and understanding of LGBTI people everywhere.

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