Major conference tackles faith and sexuality issues
A major conference aimed at dealing with potential conflicts between sexuality and faith is to be hosted by the University of Salford. The event, organised with partners including Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Stonewall and the University of Salford Anglican Chaplaincy, will focus on how best to deal with the issues, both at a strategic level and in the workplace.
It will include clear, practical advice, based on research about what works. A range of workshops on the day will cover topics including: supporting gay staff abroad; the Bible, Sexuality and the learning experience; and simple ways to ask difficult questions.
The day will be based on the results of comprehensive research which showed the range of issues faced not only in higher education and across public and private-sector organisations and suggested ways of ensuring that issues could be safely discussed and dealt with.
Learning from research and ongoing work shows that where issues remain hidden below the surface, they often caused more anxiety and problems than when they are addressed openly. Problems reported include: dealing with posters objecting to civil partnerships; information about Christianity being defaced; objections to information about abortion and LGBT rights being taught; refusal to associate with gay staff and problems in student accommodation. But the work shows that most problems are caused by assumptions about other people’s views combined with the failure of organisations to deal with issues proactively using clear policies and appropriate intervention.
The conference – on 11 September – will give a range of opportunities to discuss how best to tackle any misconceptions and will share good practice from a range of sectors.
Inputs at the conference will be used to compile a comprehensive toolkit which will be made available to enable people to move forward on tackling the issues.
University of Salford Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Hall is supporting the initiative. “Conflicts between faith and sexuality are issues across the world. This conference will bring together a wide range of perspectives and will help ensure improved practices and policies and the right to live and work in safety and with dignity,” he said.
More information and opportunities to book can be found here.