Some of the workshop participants.

A two-day workshop was recently held in Pietermarizburg in order to provide a platform for clergy and LGBTI people to engage on issues of religion and sexuality.

The workshop, held on 15 and 16 May, was organized by IAM (Inclusive and Affirming Ministries) in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Network, the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council and the Deo Gloria Family Church.

Specific skills on “dialoguing” were learnt and applied, such as the importance of communicating clearly when sharing life stories, listening skills and conflict management skills.

Dialoguing is considered an alternative choice to debate and is regarded as being more fruitful as it involves creating a safe space for interaction. Kwanda Cwazibe from the Durban Christian Council said that the workshop was really helpful as it gave him “an opportunity to interact with LGBTI people and understand them as individuals”.

The director for the Gay & Lesbian Network, Anthony Waldhausen said: “For too long religious institutions from all religions have not accepted gays and lesbians and it is hoped that the work that was started here could be transferred to clergy and for them to now involve gays and lesbians in their work and communities.”

The participants who attended the workshop were from Gay and Lesbian Network, IAM, clergy from KZN Christian Council, Deo Gloria Family Church (Durban) and representatives from Lesotho.

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