Most Americans now count LGBT people as relatives, friends or co-workers, and support for LGBT rights is increasingly becoming the norm in the United States. As our country’s public attitudes shift, religious perspectives on LGBT rights are explored by journalists whose reporting contributes to the evolving understanding of sexuality and faith in society. But LGBT people do not enjoy the same rights globally. Seventy-eight countries criminalize homosexual acts; the death penalty is on the books in seven. In countries where sexual minorities face discrimination or violence, the media often does not report voices calling for tolerance—even those coming from influential religious leaders. The continued repression of LGBT people is an international crisis, exacerbated by the lack of dialogue that prevents common ground and mutual understanding.
In this series of public events offered in 2014-2015, titled “Faith, Freedom, Sexuality & Silence,” presented by the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute and the Pulitzer Center, award-winning journalists and Pulitzer Center grantees will discuss their reporting on LGBT issues internationally, focusing on the influence of religion on public attitudes toward LGBT people. The goal of these events is to build greater awareness within our own communities of the importance of sustained engagement between religious communities, LGBT rights advocates, and the public, and the role of journalists in promoting this dialogue globally.