News

May 30, 2024 | by Jon Schum | Our reflection for the liturgical celebration of Christ’s Body and Blood reminds us that the mystery of Christ’s presence among us is not meant to be solved, but experienced. Similarly, it is not enough to believe and honor the miraculous presence of Divine Love, but rather it must be acted upon—not just in liturgy but in our lives.

May 28, 2024 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, says Pope Francis’ use of an Italian slur when discussing the admission of gay men to seminaries was “shocking and hurtful.”

May 22, 2024 | by DignityUSA | In a far-ranging interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, Pope Francis addressed issues as varied as wars raging across the world to climate change. The conversation also touched on the perennial Catholic hot buttons of the place of gay and transgender people, women’s roles, and sexual abuse. DignityUSA found the Pope’s response to questions about the recent document allowing the blessing of people in same-sex relationships disappointing.

May 22, 2024 | by Carter Fahey | In our soundbite, social media culture, we tend to value clarity and brevity above all. However, today’s reflection on God as Trinity reminds us that the need to define can unnecessarily limit our knowing. Instead, there can be great comfort and consolation in the mystery of Love’s vast unknowability.

May 15, 2024 | by DignityUSA | Join us June 3 for a special faith sharing event, featuring speakers from our Dignity Young Adults, Aging with Dignity and Women of Dignity groups. Registration is required.

May 15, 2024 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost both quelled the chaos of our many languages and created the chaos of building a new community. Today’s reflection reminds us that the same Love which invites order also prompts the removal of those rigid (and possibly comfortable) structures that stand in its way.

May 8, 2024 | by Ann Penick | It is easy to associate the Ascension with Jesus leaving. But today’s reflection reminds us that some absence allows for a deeper connection. In this case, we are invited to live Jesus’s compassionate presence even more intimately than before as Jesus’s Spirit takes hold of our hearts.

May 2, 2024 | by DignityUSA | Read this year's candidate statements and join us on May 19 at 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT for the Candidates' Forum! Registration is required.

May 1, 2024 | by Thomas DeVoyd | Polarization is the path of least resistance in our contemporary American society. Today’s reflection invites us to forego going with the angry flow and commit to the hard work of loving our neighbors. Concretely, this means caring for and understanding all the individuals in our circles, especially those with whom we may disagree!

April 24, 2024 | by Marianne Seggerman | It is so easy to lose focus these days. We are bombarded by messages from marketers and media. Today’s reflection reminds us that in the midst of it all we are called only to nurture Love in our hearts, and trust that all will be well.

April 18, 2024 | by Jeff Vomund | How often have we thought, “I can’t let people know ______ about me! No one would love me if they knew that!” … In today’s gospel, Jesus asserts that precisely the opposite is true. Ignorance of another cannot pave the way for love. We can only love someone to the extent that we know them.

April 12, 2024 | by John Falcone | This Sunday’s Scriptures offer examples of bearing witness to Jesus in dramatic moments. In real life, it is not always easy to discern when courage requires us to speak up or to remain silent. Today’s reflection suggests that we will discern the call of courage when we stay connected to the dignity of each member of our human family.

April 12, 2024 | by DignityUSA | The DignityUSA Board and Staff are pleased to share two documents we have produced as part of the preparations for the second Synod Assembly, which will take place in October 2024.

April 8, 2024 | by the DignityUSA Board and Staff | Like you, we are saddened and frustrated by the document “Dignititas Infinita” (On Human Dignity) released by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on April 8, 2024. We find it to be very disappointing and potentially quite harmful to many.

April 8, 2024 | by DignityUSA | The Vatican document “On Human Dignity” undermines its purpose by undermining the integrity and human rights of transgender and nonbinary people, along with those making decisions about whether and how to expand their families, says DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion in the church and society.

April 5, 2024 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA joins members of the Archdiocese of Detroit and millions of people around our country and the world in mourning the death of Detroit Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.

April 3, 2024 | by Lori Ranner | It is easy, almost a given, to see doubt and faith as opposites. But as the story of “doubting” Thomas – and today’s reflection upon it – make clear, doubt is not faith’s opposite, but the condition which makes faith possible. And as such, doubt – even our doubt – is sacred.

March 20, 2024 | by Richard Young | It is easy to get lost in the details (and the length) of the Passion stories! Our minds can wander as we wonder what really happened. Today’s reflection reminds us to focus on the meaning of the Passion stories – not only as what Jesus did for us, but as what Love asks us to do for one another.

March 13, 2024 | by Sam Barnes | In today’s fast-paced world, we may find ourselves delaying check-ins for noncrucial issues. This week’s readings invite us to revisit the parts of us that we can let go of during the Lent if we seek to move toward our more authentic selves.

March 6, 2024 | by Catherine Buck | If one is not careful, they can read Jesus’ words to Nicodemus as if light and darkness were enemies. Today’s reflection reminds us, however, that those two realities are interdependent. We cannot fully experience one without the other. And Love is with us us—no matter light or shadows that mark our view.

March 1, 2024 | by David Friscic | Father Jan Haen has come full circle. After two previous rewarding and interesting books Heavenly Homos, Etc. and Heavenly LGBTQ+ on LQBTQIA themes, Father Haen has now written a visual autobiography that truly portrays him as a “Man for all Seasons”.

February 28, 2024 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | Jesus offers the “woman at the well” living water but note that Jesus’ offer wells up from within her. Jesus opens us to receive what we already have! Is there a better model for how we, as disciples, are to live in the world? Through our interactions, we hope others experience just a bit more powerfully the Spirit of Love that is already at the very center of who they are.

February 26, 2024 | by David Jackson | Jesus’ transfiguration can seem like a mysterious miracle that defies explanation or relevance to our own lives. But today’s reflection reminds us that Jesus’ change is grounded in the same belovedness which is the Divine’s gift to all creation, and to each of us.

February 26, 2024 | by Jon Schum | Too often Christians approach Lent as just another in a long list of things we are supposed to do. Today’s reflection, however, encourages us to see Lent as an invitation to deeper participation in the Reign of God: a reality not defined by long lists of life-choking demands, but rather by transcendent moments of life-changing beauty.

February 22, 2024 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA will be using input gathered from testimonies and reflections submitted to us to send a second report representing the thoughts and concerns of LGBTQIA+ Catholics, Allies, and friends to both the Synod Secretariat and the Synod Team of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

February 7, 2024 | Carter Fahey | Love pulls us toward the center of a community. As LGBTQIA+ people, we have often had to build our own communities to find that center and experience that pull. But we can experience the centering pull of love even in the Church. Just a important, today’s reflection reminds us, we can be that centering force for others.

January 31, 2024 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | For centuries, the community of believers has proclaimed through song and prayer that the Divine Mercy is vast. However, today’s reflection reminds us there not everyone appreciates such expansive compassion. Further, if we do not carry this healing power forward in our own lives, not everyone will experience it either.

January 24, 2024 | by Ann Penick | The presence of Jesus, God’s Anointed, is an incredible gift to those who are open to this loving companionship. However, today’s reflection reminds us this gift entails responsibility. We cannot authentically accept the Divine offer of steadfast love if, in the same act of the will, we do not also commit to being that steadfast love for others.

January 10, 2024 | by DignityUSA | In an address on January 9, 2024, Pope Francis called for a global ban on the practice of surrogacy. DignityUSA cautions that this “sweeping and simplistic” approach fails to distinguish between ethical and unethical acts.

January 17, 2024 | by Thomas DeVoyd | What does it mean to be called by God? Is my heart ready for a calling that feels far beyond what I expect or believe I can accomplish? These are the questions this week’s reflection invites us to consider. And further, to recognize these calls not as possibly coming one day, but as present, and urgent, and in our midst.

January 10, 2024 | by Marianne Seggerman | A simplistic view of God’s call would have us expect a clearly worded directive telling us just what the All-Loving One would have us do. Today’s reflection reminds us, though, that the Divine call requires interpretation and understanding lest we baptize our own predilections in God-talk. It is not that Love does not call us, but rather that Love’s call must be discerned in the midst of complex lives as opposed to divorced from them.

January 3, 2024 | by Jeff Vomund | We can be so cynical about our holiday gatherings, and treat as mundane interactions that which can carry potential for an encounter with the Sacred. Today’s reflection suggests that whether we experience our own epiphanies may have less to do with God’s presence and more with the wisdom of our preparation to recognize it.

December 27, 2023 | by John Falcone | As 2023 comes to a close, today’s reflection reminds us that authentic faith requires risk—the risk of change, or forgiveness, or of hearts open to those we see as “other” than ourselves. And, while there is no faith without risk, neither is there love without hearts vulnerable enough to be pierced by a concern for those around us.

December 20, 2023 | by Lori Ranner | St. Paul tells us that God’s “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:8); but today’s reflection reminds us that God’s power is also brought to perfection in waiting—and that our waiting and our weakness are inextricably interwoven. Indeed, that interweaving may be precisely why Advent is such a holy, such a human, season.

December 18, 2023 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA is celebrating today’s announcement by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith that same-sex couples can be blessed by priests as an important recognition that these relationships can be holy.

December 13, 2023 | by Cait Gardiner | Too often the authenticity of one’s faith is confused for their adherence to accepted doctrine. Today’s reflection reminds us that we follow in the footsteps of our saints not when we are unswervingly loyal to the status quo, but when we hold within ourselves the dynamism of a percolating faith and a longing for justice.

December 6, 2023 | by Richard Young | St. Francis of Assisi famously exhorted his community to “preach constantly and, when necessary, use words.” Today’s reflection offers us a similar challenge: to both speak words of Love’s presence and to become that loving presence; to speak of justice and to act justly. As such, Advent invites us to a greater integrity: when our words reflect not only what we believe but who we are.

November 29, 2023 | by Sam Barnes | So often people assume the holidays will be joyful. But for many, especially our LGBTQIA+ siblings, this is simply not the case. This week’s readings invite us to begin diligent preparations for our celebration of Jesus’ birth—a celebration in which all are invited to share. How do we prepare our own queer hearts for closed-minded familial reunions while incorporating LGBTQIA+ inclusivity and love into our holiday season?

November 28, 2023 | by DignityUSA | Donate to DignityUSA's Advent Appeal to help us continue our mission of championing respect and justice for all sexual orientations, genders and identities within the Catholic Church and beyond.

November 21, 2023 | by DignityUSA | Preregistration is now open! Secure your spot and get a discount off the registration cost.

November 15, 2023 | by Jon Schum | It is so tempting to look for “the” meaning in a Scriptural passage. But today’s reflection reminds us that Jesus’s parables are not intended to offer easy solutions so much as upend them. We are invited to discern what meaning today’s Parable of the Talents might hold for us, a process grounded not in human cleverness so much as in awe at Divine love and majesty.

November 9, 2023 | by DignityUSA | The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) has declared that some transgender people, including those who who have undergone medical gender affirmation, can be baptized.

November 8, 2023 | by David Jackson | There is a strand of Christian piety that sees life on earth as a short prelude to our “real” life after we leave this world. But Jesus’ words do not bear out such a quietist perspective. Instead, as today’s reflection reminds us, waiting for the disciple is an active, engaged state of being in which we are not only preparing for the life to come, we are cooperating in bringing it about.

November 1, 2023 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA invites you to participate in our Advent Reflection Series for 2023. We are celebrating Pope Francis' welcome to all and his prophetic words given at a World Youth Day address: "Todos! Todos! Todos!" Todos means "all." All are welcome to join us for an advent-themed reflection on the week's readings, followed by group discussions.

November 1, 2023 | by Ann Penick | It is always tempting to hear Jesus’ diatribes against hypocrisy as intended for other listeners. Today’s reflection reminds us that we, too, are an intended audience. If we hope to be nourished at the Table of Love’s Law, then we must let it penetrate deeper than mere observance.

October 29, 2023 | by DignityUSA | LGBTQIA+ Catholics and their allies are stunned and tremendously disappointed by the failure of the Synod report to explicitly mention LGBTQIA+ people and concerns, according to DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization within this community.

October 25, 2023 | by Thomas DeVoyd | As Christians, we believe the Scriptures’ moral code is grounded in the Divine Delight in all creation, and in the dignity Love imbues to every corner of the universe. Today’s reflection reminds us that such lofty faith must be rooted in concrete actions. Our salvation and survival depend on it.

October 25, 2023 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke was among four leaders of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics welcomed as special guests at the General Audience at the Vatican today, with an opportunity to meet Pope Francis. This historic meeting occurred just days before the first session of the Synod on Synodality concludes.

October 18, 2023 | by Marianne Seggerman | It is difficult not to get caught up in the toxic politics of our times. Conversations seem to move so quickly from innocuous to offensive. In today’s gospel (and today’s reflection), Jesus sidesteps controversy by inviting us to do our own discernment. Jesus refuses to be a substitute for the listeners’ (and our own) consciences, instead inviting us to invest in our own integrity.

October 11, 2023 | by Lori Ranner | So often the problem with our vision is not that we cannot see, but that we see too much. In this abundance, we lose our focus, missing what matters most. Today’s reflection invites us not only to recognize the abundance in our midst, but to respond to these gifts with the gratitude and reverence they deserve.

October 4, 2023 | by Jeff Vomund | It is tempting to read today’s Scriptures as a call for vengeance and a justification of one’s righteous anger. However, today’s reflection points us in a different direction, and instead asks if our disappointments might lead us to discern as opposed to demolish.

October 2, 2023 | by DignityUSA | Pope Francis’s statement to five Cardinals that there might be ways for church officials to bless same-sex unions is a “welcome sign of openness” on LGBTQIA+ issues, says DignityUSA. The group is the world’s oldest Catholic organization working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the church and society.

September 27, 2023 | by John P. Falcone | It is tempting to hear the Christian call to humility or meekness as an excuse to excuse injustice. But today’s reflection reminds us that in the Christian worldview humble and assertive coexist. In fact, if we are to take Jesus as our model, authentic humility always comes with a dash of “uppity.”

September 20, 2023 | by Richard Young | It can be difficult and frustrating to understand what Jesus’ parables mean for us. How can a given story apply to my life right now? Today’s reflection invites us to hear Jesus’s parable of the generous employer as sign of the generosity and equality which God offers to everyone¾and which we are called to offer to one another.

September 13, 2023 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | Often, we think of repentance as a precursor to being forgiven. We repent of our sins and God forgives us. However, today’s reflection broadens this scope, instead suggesting that we must also repent if we hope to forgive others.

September 11. 2023 | by DignityUSA | New policies on sexuality and gender identity impacting all parishes and schools in the Diocese of Cleveland are of great concern to leaders of Dignity Northeast Ohio and DignityUSA. The organizations minister to LGBTQ+ Catholics, their families, and allies.

September 6, 2023 | by delfín bautista | We’ve heard the directive, “To love our neighbors as ourselves,” so often it can feel like a cliché. Today’s reflection asks what we are to do with such a sentiment when Church and society have advocated so strongly that we not love who we are.

September 5, 2023 | by DignityUSA | Unlike legitimate professional therapy, conversion therapy is not evidence-based, and most formal conversion therapy programs in the U.S. have shut down in recent years. Scientific evidence has found conversion therapy to be both ineffective and psychologically harmful. Conversion therapy inhibits coping, social support, and identity exploration, encourages isolation and distrust of family and friends, and can lead to shame and reduced self-esteem.

August 30, 2023 | by Jon Schum | The Psalmist reminds us that our God is a “light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105). But where is that path leading? Today’s reflection reminds us that we have nowhere else to find Love and no one we must meet to guide us. Instead, wherever and with whomever we go, we are always and only in search of our very selves.

August 28, 2023 | by David Friscic | Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is intrinsically linked to an individual’s intellect, passions and interests/occupations in author and illustrator Jan Haen’s Heavenly LGBTQ+. Published by Apocryphile Press, this vibrantly illustrated book is the second offering from the talented Mr. Haen who previously gave us the marvelous and informative Heavenly Homos publication.

August 23, 2023 | by David Jackson | Too often when we think about Jesus, we recall the phrases we memorized as young children: “son of God,” “Messiah,” “second person of the Blessed Trinity.” But beyond theology and Church teaching, today’s reflection asks: Who do I say Jesus is? And am I willing to say that not only with words but with actions?

August 16, 2023 | by Ann Penick | To welcome another is to accept their presence with joy. Today’s Scriptures remind us of all the peoples to whom Love extends welcome, and challenge us to ask if our own welcomes cast so wide a net. Today’s gospel goes so far as to suggest that Jesus widens his welcome due to an encounter with one usually considered outside of God’s love.

August 9, 2023 | by Tom DeVoyd | We are surrounded by noise, bombarded by information. Perhaps unwittingly, like Elijah and Peter in today’s readings, we instinctively believe God will shout over everything and everyone else. But today’s reflection reminds us that Love generally does not overpower others, rather Love whispers from within our hearts.

August 2, 2023 | by Marianne Seggerman | The meaning of Jesus’s transfiguration has long been debated among Scriptural commentators. Today’s reflection invites us to see it as a statement of continuity – a path given by the Law, the Prophets, and affirmed by Jesus that we would do well to walk along.

July 26, 2023 | by Lori Ranner | Scholars have long debated what Jesus meant when he spoke of God’s Reign. Today’s reflection invites us to focus on an even more important reality: we have been empowered and entrusted to bring about this reign of love through the Divine gift, and responsibility, of our choices.

July 19, 2023 | by Jeff Vomund | The problems of the world can feel so overwhelming: climate change, bigotry, poverty. Where does one even begin to make a difference? In today’s gospel, Jesus suggests that the scope of the problem does not change the pathway to a solution.

July 12, 2023 | by John Falcone | It is tempting to see God as distant from the world. As if the Divine is to be encountered only when we have completed our stint in creation and “get to” heaven. But this week’s reflection reminds us the Scriptures see our world as infused with the Divine. Only in the union of Divine Love and creation does our true vocation as disciples emerge.

July 5, 2023 | by Richard Young | To be sure, the world is complex and multi-layered. People and situations can be complicated. However, our response to these complexities (while not easy) can often be simple: offering concern, listening, caring, accompanying. Today’s reflection reminds us that in a complicated world, real solutions often start with a simple decision to love.

June 30, 2023 | by DignityUSA| DignityUSA is extremely disappointed with today's Supreme Court ruling that means that LGBTQIA+ citizens have less access to the nation's businesses and services than others.

June 28, 2023 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | Nearly everyone recalls the strict social structures of in-groups and out-groups in a high school cafeteria. There are no signs, but everyone knows where they are welcome to sit. Today’s reflection reminds us that adults can also get stuck in such excluding patterns, and invites us to be rooted in a love that knows no such boundaries.

June 21, 2023. DignityUSA joins many other Catholics around the world in welcoming the Instrumentum Laboris, the recently released Vatican document that will guide the work of the Synod of the Catholic Church in October 2023 and October 2024.  The Synod, which has been enthusiastically convened by Pope Francis himself, is expected to set the tone over the next several years for consideration of some of the most important and controversial issues facing the Catholic Church.

June 21, 2023 | by delfín bautista | The primary definition of accomplice is generally someone who helps another person commit a crime. Today’s reflection reframes the term as God’s commitment to be with us in our endeavors to subvert structures of oppression and exclusion; and challenges us to be God’s accomplice in the sacred act of accompanying one another.

June 14, 2023 | by Jon Schum | So many details that we would love to know are omitted in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life, but room is made in today’s passage for the names of each one of the Twelve. Our reflection suggests that this can remind us that Love calls each of us by name as well.

June 7, 2023 | by David Jackson | The question too often asked by Church leaders is, “Do you believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?”. The more profound question raised by today’s reflection is whether we understand the implications of the Divine decision to become incarnate in our midst. Are we truly present to the Divine in our midst?

May 31, 2023 | by Ann Penick | The doctrine of the Trinity can seem so esoteric and theoretical that one can wonder if it matters at all in our daily lives. Today’s reflection, though, attempts to ground that highfalutin theology in our lived experiences. It depicts the Trinity not as arcane theological ephemera, but as practical insight into how we might live as followers of Jesus.

May 24, 2023 | by Thomas DeVoyd | We so often associate the feast of Pentecost with depictions of “tongues as of fire” resting over Jesus’ followers. Fair enough. But when the Church was born in the coming of God’s Spirit, it was a moment marked, above all, by unity—a unity today’s gospel reminds us is born of, and sustained by, our power to forgive.

May 17, 2023 | by Marianne Seggerman |Today’s reflection notes that some of our popular ideas—and even the Scriptural accounts—of the Ascension are most likely very far from its historical reality. But beyond the Scripture writers’ attempts to use their version of this story to speak to readers of that time, the Ascension of Jesus—whatever its historical reality—carries a timeless message for all believers.

May 10, 2023 | by Darby DeJarnette | The liturgical calendar foregrounds joy during Easter, but that does not mean our griefs and fears disappear. This week’s reflection encourages us to consider God’s work in nature and take courage from the emerging patterns of love and new life that we see. When the world is dark, we may not see clearly, but Love remains active despite our poor vision. This season of resurrection reminds that the living flame of love cannot be not extinguished.

May 3, 2023 | by Jeff Vomund | For centuries, Biblical scholars have used Jesus’ statement that no one comes to God except through him as a justification for the exclusion (and often oppression) of those who are not Christians. Today’s reflection interprets that passage in a more inclusive light, understanding Jesus as centering intimate relationships as opposed to intellectual assent in the journey of faith.

April 26, 2023. DignityUSA celebrates the Vatican’s announcement that 70 lay people will be voting members of the global Synod process, ending the centuries-long exclusion of Catholic laity from helping to shape key aspects of church governance and direction.

April 26, 2023 | by John P. Falcone | How do we acknowledge the redemptive potential of suffering with glorifying it? Today’s reflection grapples with this question and invites us not so much to an answer as to a process. Perhaps it is not the suffering that is redemptive, but rather loving through suffering that saves us.

April 19, 2023 | by Richard P. Young | Today’s reflection reminds us that we are all somewhere on the road to Emmaus: grieving, celebrating, realizing, retelling. We all find ourselves along this archetypal path, seeking a unity with, and a community of, Love. Where are we on that journey in this moment? And what might be our next step toward hearts that burn with Love?

April 12, 2023 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | Today’s reflection examines the tension between Jesus’ resurrection appearances to Mary Magdalene and Thomas, and what those two stories tell us about the importance of our bodies. Instead of a neatly packaged conclusion, we are compelled – as in the gospel stories – to acknowledge the necessity and gift of our physicality but required to discern for ourselves the relationship between our bodies and Christ’s body.

April 5, 2023 | by delfin w. bautista, MSW, MDiv. | It is so tempting to pin our hopes on “someday”: an unspecified day in the future when our current troubles will be over. Nowhere is this temptation more acute than the resurrection. As in, “Someday, in heaven, we will move beyond this valley of tears.” But today’s reflection reminds us that resurrection is not simply a future event, nor one wholly in the past, but instead a gift – and a challenge – in which we are called to live right now.

March 30, 2023 | by Jon Schum | Today’s reflection offers us insight into Matthew’s particular vision of Jesus and the Passion. It is grounded in the Jewish prophetic tradition and focused on showing Jesus’ story as a fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. Perhaps more importantly this reflection reminds us that Jesus’ Passion is not the end of an old story but a bridge to our own.

March 22, 2023 | by DignityUSA | On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine released a policy statement on how Catholic medical institutions should treat transgender and nonbinary people. Entitled “Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” the statement instructs Catholic health care facilities not to use hormonal or surgical therapies which have been proven to help address gender dysphoria.

March 11, 2023. DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, applauds the Catholic Bishops of Germany who have voted to support formal blessings for same-sex couples. In a vote of 38 to 9, with 11 abstentions, the German bishops have affirmed creating ceremonies for couples whose marriages are not currently recognized by the Catholic Church. This includes same-sex couples, as well as people who remarry following a divorce.  

March 1, 2023 | by Marianne Seggerman | We often struggle with what to do “next” when we have a religious experience. Do we tell the world? Or at least our close friends and family? It is likely they will not understand. This week’s reflection provides no easy answers, but instead reminds us that Love has a special place just for us, a place we did not earn, but that we are accountable to share for the good of our world.

February 22, 2023 | by Ragan Schriver | As we begin Lent, Jesus’ temptation offers us a meditation on being whole. In a world that communicates we are only worth the sum of our “stuff,” and in a Church that officially teaches any sexual minority is damaged, Jesus’ reminder that each of us is called to love with our whole selves may provide a welcome frame for our Lenten practice – and a welcome reminder of the wholeness we are given and called to share!

February 15, 2023 | by Jeff Vomund | Loving one’s enemies often lands somewhere between empty prayers for people with whom we disagree and the threat of letting others take advantage of us in the name of Jesus. But neither of those encapsulate this difficult task about which Jesus preached. Instead, today’s reflection invites us to find in Jesus’ example the freedom to care both for ourselves as well as others, even when they cannot find it in themselves to treat us the same way.

February 13, 2023 | by Linda Roberts | This book is first and foremost about Love – love for a child (their fourth child) who the parents realized at an early age identified as a gender that did not match her gender assigned at birth.

This spring, DignityUSA will be holding elections for the President/Vice-President slate and three (3) at-large Board members. Please consider offering your time and talents to advance our mission.Click here for more information about serving on the DignityUSA Board.

February 8, 2023 | by John Falcone | This week’s reflection asks us to apply the principles of Jesus’ moral vision to our own lives in light of the brutal death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police. This exposes the fluffy, feel-good approach to Christianity as insufficient. We are reminded of the risk inherent in discipleship, and of why the religious and political authorities found Jesus so threatening.

February 1, 2023 | by Richard Young | Today’s reflection combines traditional mysticism and contemporary physics to remind us that the Scriptural call for us to be “light” to the world is not just metaphor, but metaphysics – both symbolic and literal truth. In so doing, this reflection challenges us to let our light shine forth, and so brighten the world!

January 30, 2023 | by Families With Dignity | As president of Families With Dignity (FWD), a group that works for acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people in the Catholic Church, Linda Karle-Nelson welcomed this week’s statement by Pope Francis that “being homosexual is not a crime.” The Pope was responding to Catholic bishops in Africa and elsewhere who have supported government efforts to criminalize homosexuality.

January 25, 2023 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | While the Commandments speak of behaviors, the Beatitudes speak of dispositions. Matthew seems to set up Jesus’ most famous sermon as the internalization of the Divine law. But keeping the law in our hearts still leads to certain behaviors, although perhaps less focused on avoiding the bad than approaching the good. Today’s reflection invites us to keep the love of Jesus alive in our hearts, and let our actions show that love to the world.

January 25, 2023 | by DignityUSA | The world’s oldest Catholic group advocating for LGBTQIA+ equality is celebrating Pope Francis’ statement that “being homosexual isn’t a crime” in an interview with the Associated Press. DignityUSA says this welcome change in the Vatican’s position “could vastly improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ people around the world.”

January 18, 2023 | by Jeff Vomund | The call of Jesus’ first disciples often challenges us to ask how we have responded to this invitation. Today’s reflection asks a preceding question: “Have I come to know the One who calls?”. Further, do others – at least implicitly – come to know that same call and Caller through their interactions with me?

January 12, 2023 | by Jon Schum | Today’s reflection connects Jesus’s baptism with the mission and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. The indwelling of the Divine in Jesus as proclaimed at his baptism applies to us: as a gift and a challenge. God’s spirit remains in us not just so we might experience ourselves as loved, but so that we might participate in such Love remaining alive and active in every corner of our world.

January 11, 2023 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA is hiring for two part time positions: Development Associate and Program Associate. Find out more about the positions and apply today.

January 11, 2023 | by Dignity/Twin Cities | After reading through your letter summarizing the results of the Synod, November 20, 2022, we came away convinced that you listen to us with your eyes wide shut. We are reminded of Jesus’ quote of Isaiah 6:10 in Matthew 13:14-15, “They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear.” In the 57 pages of the letter there is no mention of LGBTQIA+ Catholics.

January 4, 2023 | by David Jackson | During this most Christian time of year, wherein our faith has leaked so profusely into popular culture, it can be tempting to rest in the comfort of our confessional family. However, today’s reflection reminds us that the story of the Epiphany contains within it the divine plan that Christ’s light shine upon all people – no matter their ethnicity or faith traditions – and asks us if our own lives reflect such a pervasive divine love.

December 31, 2022 | by DignityUSA | The passing of former Pope Benedict XVI “marks what is, hopefully, the end of a long, painful era for LGBTQIA+ Catholics, our families, and the entire church,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. DignityUSA is the world’s oldest organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the church and society.

December 21, 2022 | by Thomas DeVoyd | It is the path of least resistance to be caught up in the details of Christmas preparation, but in doing so we risk missing the forest of divine Love for all the trees of our to-do lists. Today’s reflection encourages us to refocus on unity and community as the deeper meaning of our celebration of the Incarnation, and not to let a myriad of presents obscure the one gift that matters.

December 14, 2022 | by Marianne Seggerman | Despite the gospel accounts, and to some extent because of them, the historical circumstances of Jesus’ birth are shrouded in mystery. To some Christians, belief in the historical nature of Scripture is a matter of faith. But what precisely does it mean to be “conceived through the Holy Spirit?” Today’s reflection, offered on the cusp of our annual celebration of Jesus’ nativity, invites us to consider who Jesus is to us. And, more importantly, why?

December 8, 2022 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the Respect for Marriage Act, and that President Biden will sign the measure into law.

December 7, 2022 | by Darby DeJarnette | Gaudete Sunday implores us to “rejoice!” But what if you are in a place where rejoicing is impossible? How do we trust God’s message when we can’t hear God’s voice? This week’s reflection examines the story of John the Baptist in prison to draw forth a possible answer to these questions. It encourages us to feel however we need during this holiday season – because Love is with us wherever we are and however we feel.

December 1, 2022 | by DignityUSA | We are pleased to present you with this synthesis of the synodal listening process undertaken by the members of DignityUSA. This report was submitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in August 2022.

November 30, 2022 | by delfín bautista | Waiting can be the worst! When one is young, waiting for Christmas can feel like an eternity. As people working, and waiting, for God’s Reign – the delay can give way to despair. But Advent, and today’s reflection, challenge us to hold out hope not only for a better world but for a better us, and not only for a future Reign of Love but that Love may reign in our hearts in this very moment.

November 23, 2022 | by John Falcone | The new liturgical year often seems to come amid a crush of things to do: Thanksgiving preparations, Christmas plans, end-of-year parties, and so much more. The readings of the first week of Advent this year invite us to listen for Love’s voice in the midst of this cacophony and allow this Word spoken into our world and into our hearts to call us to change. Not so much a New Year’s resolution, as a renewed commitment to reckoning with the implications of God’s Love – for us and for our world.

November 22, 2022 | by DignityUSA | In light of this weekend’s attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that killed five children of God, injured at least eighteen, and left countless people across the country traumatized, we are calling on you to speak out strongly against this attack, to explicitly condemn violence against LGBTQ+ people, and to take other steps to help end the horrific violence being inflicted on the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized communities in our country.

November 22, 2022 | by DignityUSA | In a November 21 letter to the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the wake of the attack on Club Q, a Catholic LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization called for the bishops to explicitly condemn anti-LGBTQ+ violence. DignityUSA advocates for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA people in the Catholic church and society.

November 21, 2022 | by DignityUSA | DignityUSA is deeply saddened and troubled by this weekend’s attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs that took the lives of five, wounded dozens, and traumatized countless people. We mourn with the families and friends of all those killed, and pray for the full and quick recovery of the injured. We hope to be among those providing space for those shaken by this incident to come together to find healing community.

November 16, 2022 | by Richard Young | The last Sunday of the liturgical year has been celebrated as the Feast of Christ the King since Pope Pius XI instituted it in 1925 as a response to what he felt was a growing secularism in the world. Today’s reflection problematizes the parallel between our Christ and human royalty, inviting us to think beyond such patriarchal political structures and bear witness to a universal Love.

November 16, 2022 | by DignityUSA | The election of Archbishop Timothy Broglio as President and Archbishop William Lori as Vice-President of the US Conference of Bishops (USCCB) demonstrate the clear gulf between U.S. Catholics and the bishops’ conference on many matters, including LGBTQIA+ issues.

November 11, 2022 | by DignityUSA | Beloved by God Promotes Justice, Equity, and Affirmation. As more states and Catholic dioceses implement policies that discriminate against transgender and nonbinary people, DignityUSA has launched a campaign to make Catholic support for this community visible. Beloved by God: A Catholic Commitment to Trans-Affirmation goes public today, co-sponsored by 18 organizations and a growing list of Catholic leaders.

November 9, 2022 | by Ann Marie Szpakowska | The end-of-year readings always warn of impending catastrophe. These days, so do our televisions, radios, and computers: bombarded with threats of societal annihilation if we but vote the wrong way. Today’s reflection, though, invites us to look to past heroes, mentors, and triumphs, such that we might have hope that the same Spirit who was with us in those days remains with us still.

November 2, 2022 | by Jeff Vomund | We believe all Scripture offers inspired truth, but how we come to that truth depends upon our own spiritual journey and the times in which we live. The church has acknowledged for generations that each person must find the message of Scriptures in cooperation with God’s spirit and the Wisdom of the community. Today’s reflection finds the truth of these Scriptures not so much in the message they intended to convey to their historical audiences but rather in the limits of the Love that it envisions – and now we are invited to transcend.

October 28, 2022 | by DignityUSA | The use of “LGBTQ” and, in one instance, “LGBTQIA+,” is just one of the significant advances in an official Vatican document summarizing the first phase of the worldwide church Synod according to DignityUSA. The organization is the world’s longest-serving organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the church and society.

October 26, 2022 | by Jon Schum | Precisely because the world can seem so scary these days, it feels extra vulnerable to take risks: professional or personal. Today’s readings remind us, though, that Love is ever-present and active, perhaps especially during fraught times. In fact, according to our reflection, it is especially during moments of vulnerability that we are likely encounter that Love which is always and already there, ready and waiting to co-create with us a better Now.

October 19, 2022 | by David Jackson | Luke’s gospel often calls our attention to prayer. This week’s reflection references both the parable of the persistent widow (last week’s gospel) and of the humble tax collector (this week’s gospel) to offer some guidance on how to pray. Spoiler alert: it seems God is less interested in our justification than our vulnerability, less our accomplishments than our authenticity.

October 12, 2022 | by Ann Penick | We live in a culture of immediacy. We want what we want, and we want it right away. Almost without realizing it, one can place that same expectation on our relationship with the Divine. We approach Love as customers impatient if our pumpkin spice chai latte takes more than a few minutes to bring to the drive through window. Today’s reflection, though, reminds us that Love is not set to our expectations, but instead rewards the patience and persistence designed not to give us what we want but to make us anew.

October 12, 2022 | by David Friscic | Dutch artist Jan Haen has written a unique and intellectually stimulating book entitled Heavenly Homos, Etc.: Queer Icons from LGBTQ Life, Religion and History and it is indeed a “heavenly” read! Thank your lucky stars for a book that features such a vast array of saints, people in the Bible, writers, scientists and so forth—inclusivity is the keyword in this fascinating book.

Don’t we always wonder with Jesus, “What happened to the ‘other nine’?” We instinctively assume that we would have made the time to return. Perhaps we would have, but so often in our own lives, the gratitude we intended to express gets buried in a barrage of busyness. Today’s reflection invites us to prioritize our thankfulness, trusting that the more gratitude we express, the more we will notice even more reasons to be grateful.

In today’s gospel, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. Today’s reflection interrogates what that might mean, particularly in the context of oppressive Church structures and personal hardships. No simple (or simplistic) answers emerge, but instead we are encouraged to continue to serve our God in our discernment of what love looks like when we care for those right in front of us.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good people do nothing.” So goes the familiar anecdote. This aphorism suggests how easy it can be to look away from the evils that surround us so that we don’t really even see them. Jesus – and today’s reflection – however, demand that we do, in fact, notice the suffering in our midst: the human beings who have less than they need or deserve. We are reminded, and not so gently, that we are held responsible for that which (and those whom) we choose to ignore.

So often the writers for Breath of the Spirit lead us through an excellent reflection on the Sunday’s readings, but today’s missive instead invites you, or rather God’s Spirit working in you, to be the leader. Using an Ignatian form of lectio divina, or sacred reading, we are invited to imagine ourselves immersed in one of the Scriptural stories. As you open your heart and find yourself somewhere in that world, who knows what you will discover – other than the always outpouring Divine Love already there, expectantly awaiting your arrival.

Wear a rainbow ribbon every day to show your support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex persons!Even with the progress made in LGBTQ+ civil rights the past few years, we still need Solidarity Sunday! Solidarity Sunday is a faith-based anti-violence initiative. We understand that most Catholics are appalled by anti-LGBTQ+ attacks and DignityUSA initiated Solidarity Sunday in 1995 as a way of making our opposition to anti-LGBTQ+ violence visible. This program is not limited to Catholics, but all people! 

It is tempting these days to ruminate on the divisions and difficulties in our world. But this weekend’s reflection invites us to recognize all the possibilities for reconciliation that surround us. If we realize that God’s love is always within reach (indeed, within us), we recognize that reconnection requires only one small step toward forgiveness.

The Archdiocese of Omaha recently released a new policy outlined in “Pastoral Guidelines for Gender Dysphoria.” This policy, scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2023, is extremely harmful to transgender and nonbinary individuals and their loved ones and will negatively impact the 19,000 students enrolled in 70 Catholic schools across the archdiocese. 

Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” And yet today’s gospel describes discipleship in ways that seem neither. Our reflection today invites us to hear Jesus’s shocking phrases through a different lens: as a call to rid ourselves of our attachments; to free ourselves from the burdens of our bigotries and angers. Luke’s Jesus lets us know that this transformation will not be easy. It will cost us. The easy part comes after, when we get to move in the world less encumbered by the weight of our own baggage.

One of the clearest examples Jesus offers his followers is an expansive table fellowship. It seems that Jesus would eat with anyone. It is ironic and sad, then, that subsequent generations of disciples have struggled so mightily with welcoming people. It is easy to point fingers, but what of our own lack of welcoming? Today’s reflection invites us to consider not only how Catholics and Christians can be more open to others, but also how we might be.

August 25, 2022. DignityUSA, the world’s foremost organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, strongly condemns the Archdiocese of Omaha’s new policy as outlined in “Pastoral Guidelines for Gender Dysphoria.” This policy, scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2023, is extremely harmful to transgender and nonbinary individuals and their loved ones and will negatively impact the 19,000 students enrolled in 70 Catholic schools across the archdiocese.

About one-quarter of Luke’s gospel is taken up by Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Jerusalem where, like the previous prophets of Israel, he is destined to die. Jesus does not pull punches along the way – the journey will be difficult at times, and it will end in suffering and death. However, the journey also offers us hope. If we are willing to change our own direction, we too may walk in the footsteps of the Messiah. Even though we  may not have been with Jesus at the beginning, we always have to opportunity to walk along the Way.

Today’s scriptures remind us the love that gathers also separates. Love has consequences. When our selfishness gets in the way, we can distance ourselves from the call and community of Love, but this is never our destiny. Instead, authentic discipleship always invites and develops authentic community. Each of today’s readings reminds us that authenticity is not easy, but it is less of a burden – and more rewarding – when we practice it together.   August 14, 2022: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A reflection by Jeff Vomund for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time | When the Scriptures speak of faith as the Letter to the Hebrews does today, it is almost habit to think of “what” we are supposed to believe, as if having faith means believing in the “right” things. But Jesus casts faith in a very different light, instead inviting us to trust, and see the beauty in, what is right in front of us.

A reflection by Ann Penick for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time | So much of our cultural ethic in the United States concerns work. This can put us at odds with the preaching of Jesus. We can mistakenly think that we must strive to attain what God has freely given...

July 19, 2022. DignityUSA, the world’s foremost organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, is strongly protesting changes to the Diocese of Green Bay’s Education Policy that are disrespectful of and harmful to transgender students, family members, employees, volunteers, and all parishioners.

A reflection by Thomas DeVoyd for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time | Far from shaming our love, the Sodom and Gomorrah story arc reminds us that safety and joy come for all of us only when we keep Love close...

A reflection by Marianne Seggerman for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time | Recently, we have come to realize some of our national and religious heroes weren’t perfect – in fact far from it – and many people seem to struggle with how to remember them...

A reflection by delfín bautista for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time | These can be dizzyingly depressing days with bad news seemingly on a non-stop loop in the news. However, today’s readings and reflection remind us that we are invited to joy, and we are invited to remember that Love has joy in us.

June 24, 2022. DignityUSA stands with the majority of U.S. Catholics who believe that access to safe and legal abortion, along with the entire range of reproductive health services, should be affirmed in our federal public policy. It is appalling to us that so many Catholic leaders have worked so long and devoted so much money to claiming a religious justification for denying the right to essential health care for so many, and in particular to control the reproductive lives of women and other people who could become pregnant.

A reflection by John Falcone for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | It is easy to view Christianity as an overwhelming series of “do’s” and “don’ts,” an extended, divine recipe for earning God’s love. Today’s reflection, though, reminds us that Jesus came to free us from extrinsic demands made in God’s name.

June 16, 2022⁠. Boston, MA—Bishop Robert McManus’ decree that a Worcester school can no longer identify as Catholic is a shameful denial of the Gospel, according to DignityUSA⁠—a national Boston-based organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church and society.

A reflection by Richard Young for Corpus Christi | Finding fault is a temptation whenever we gather, but as we celebrate the gift of Jesus in our communal meal, perhaps it is better to ask what gifts we bring to the table...

Dignity Boston was honored by the Boston City Council on June 8, 2022, to offer the invocation before its meeting, and was given a resolution passed by the Council honoring the chapter for its 50 years of service to the LGBTQI community and for creating a safe and welcoming place in the church.

A reflection by Ann Marie Szpakowska for Trinity Sunday | All of us, perhaps especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, have felt uncomfortable in our own skin, or with our bodies, or our desires. This week’s celebration of the Holy Trinity reminds us that our goal is integration, to be one in ourselves even as God is One...

During the month of June, LGBTQI justice organizations from across the country are coming together to celebrate Pride Month. DignityUSA hosted an online prayer service that kicked off Pride Month on Monday, June 6th. During this special event, we heard words of affirmation and blessing from LGBTQI activists, advocates, and allies. True blessings don't come from hierarchies of power; they come from communities of care, love, and solidarity.

A reflection by L.F. Ranner for Pentecost | Too often we Christians think of our bodies as the enemy. Our bodies have needs and desires that we can perceive as inconvenient impediments to our spiritual goals. We interpret Paul’s battle of the flesh vs the spirit as one of the body vs the good part of us. Today’s reflections – rooted in the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost – remind us that such dualism is foreign to the Love which created us and pronounced our bodies as “very good.”

A reflection by Jon Schum for the Feast of the Ascension | Today’s reflection asks us to allow the reality of a Cosmic Christ to shape our lives. If Love is truly “all in all” (I Corinthians 15:28), what are the implications for our relationship with each part of the creation that makes love so very flesh?

May 21, 2022. DignityUSA, the organization representing the majority of U.S. Catholics who stand for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, announced today that they believe Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the right to receive Communion, rejecting a ban imposed by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The archbishop said Pelosi may not receive Communion until she publicly repudiates her support for access to abortion. 

A reflection by David Jackson for the Sixth Sunday of Easter | Jesus tells us that peace is his gift to us, but that gift can seem in very short supply these days. Where is the gift of peace in Ukraine, in the Sudan, in our national political scene, in many of our families, and in our hearts?

For those of you unable to attend our May 15, 2022 Board of Directors Candidates Forum, we have provided a video recording of the session so that you can get to know our candidates better.

A reflection by Ann Penick for the Fifth Sunday of Easter | If we see the resurrection as only a promise of what will happen to us one day, then we miss so much of its life-changing message. Jesus’ resurrection changed the disciples’ lives then and there!

A reflection by Tom DeVoyd for the Fourth Sunday of Easter | ...Even if we do not make a huge geographic move, we are all on the epic journey of discipleship: called and empowered to walk with our communities into new and more abundant life. At times, this may feel like a peaceful walk in a lovely park. At other times, it may feel as treacherous as riding out a storm on the Mediterranean Sea in a small wooden boat.

A reflection by Marianne Seggerman for the Third Sunday of Easter | Today’s gospel suggests that the primary response to loving Jesus is caring for one another. Today’s reflection suggests – if we look at the lived experience of shepherds in Jesus’ time – this is not an easy task!

A Reflection by Jeff Vomund for the Second Sunday of Easter | If we are not careful, Easter becomes a victory party for those of us to have made the “right” choice: Jesus’ victory lap to disprove the doubters (like Thomas). But the resurrection is not a prediction of what will be if we behave. It is a confirmation of what is, how the world was made from its inception in the Divine mind...

"The flag was in the window for no more than five minutes when a security guard from the Archdiocese came out the back door and told me that the flag was distracting to the priests, and that I would have to move because we were on private property..." Read more of the testimony of Dignity/Twin Cities' current President Brian H. McNeill on their recent protest of Courage International.

A reflection by delfín bautista for Easter Sunday | The English prefix trans comes from the Latin where it indicates movement from one place to another, as in, transfer. The prefix can also indicate movement beyond a particular entity, thus, is an action is transnational, it goes beyond a single nation. In the Scriptures, the word transfiguration carries both of those meanings: Jesus moves from one state of being to another and also beyond what he was to a larger reality.

Nativity School of Worcester, MA, has been flying the Black Lives Matter and Pride banners along with the American Flag for over a year. However, on April 3, Bishop Robert McManus told the Jesuit school that these flags “deny our Catholic identity” and that they represent things “that stand in contract to consistent Catholic teaching.” Sign the petition and show your support for Nativity School!

A reflections for Palm Sunday by John Falcone | Sometimes the choices between good and evil seem so stark. But clear choices are not necessarily easy. It is possible to see where different paths lead and still not be sure which way is better...

March 31, 2022. A newly released document from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education could make it even more difficult for LGBTQI people to be part of the Catholic school system and could trigger a new wave of staff terminations and students being turned away. DignityUSA expressed its concerns after reviewing “The Identity of the Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue,” which was issued by the Vatican on March 29.

LGBTQI+ Catholics have been at the forefront of justice movements since the beginning. There's no place where that history resonates more profoundly than in Philadelphia, the city of Sisterly and Brotherly Love. Philadelphia has served as a site of many historic events of great significance, but often the most interesting stories are the ones that have yet to be told.

A reflection by Richard P. Young for the Fifth Sunday of Lent | This week’s passage from Isaiah dates from the 6th century BCE, and it refers to God’s action to get the people of Israel unstuck. Isaiah seems to understand “doing something new” as a particularly divine act. Perhaps that is because so much of what we humans have been doing over and over again shows our tribalism, our misogyny, and our fear of the Other – all traits laid bare in today’s gospel...

Registration for our 25th National Conference at The Westin Gaslamp Quarter hotel from July 8th through 10th in sunny San Diego, California, is now open! We have special Conference registration rates for first time attendees (including members and nonmembers) and young adults aged 18 to 30. Our Early Bird discount ends May 15th⁠—so register today! We hope to see you in July!

Know someone who would be a perfect fit for our DignityUSA Board of Directors? Is that person YOU? There's still time to nominate yourself or another person! Deadline for nominations is Friday, April 1st.

A reflection by Ann Marie Szpakowska for the Fourth Sunday of Lent | The Christian dictum to “See Christ in the Other,” has been so regularly and casually spoken to be in danger of becoming cliché – as if this deep way of seeing were easy or common. Jesus reminds us that such generous vision is not, in fact, easy to accomplish – especially when the Other has not acted with grace toward us. And yet, to recognize the good of the Other, to see them with compassion, and to consider how we might offer help is the essence of gospel hospitality...

Join other LGBTQI/Ally young adults for an online Lenten experience on Sunday, April 24th to reflect on the Scriptures with author, activist and public theologian Brandan Robertson. This event is free and open to all aged 18 to 39.

A reflection by Jeff Vomund for the Third Sunday of Lent | Today’s reflection suggests that our seeing can be renewed simply by noticing the constant presence of Love in our world. God speaking in creating – as happens in the burning bush – should not be seen as the exceptional, miraculous moment, but rather as part and parcel of living in our Divinely creating milieu...

Last chance to apply to our 2022 DignityUSA Leadership Academy! The DignityUSA Leadership Academy is a 3-day program (July 5-7, 2022) designed to support the work and promote the skill development of individuals who are considering service to Dignity national in a variety of capacities or are current leaders who want to sharpen their skills. APPLICATIONS DUE FRIDAY, MARCH 18.

Join us for DignityUSA's 2nd Synod Listening Session on Zoom on March 24 encouraging our members and friends to speak out on issues of importance to LGBTQI people and allies as part of the church's Global Synod.

Pastoral, Liturgical, Teaching, and Social Justice Moments brought to you by DignityUSA.Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.

During Lent, join Dignity members from around the country on Zoom to discuss the upcoming Sunday's Scriptures. The series will begin the week after Ash Wednesday, on March 9 and will run each Wednesday through April 13 from 8PM-9PM ET. Attend a single session or participate in the entire series!

Group Pushed by Archdiocese Is Harmful to Families of LGBTQ+ Young PeopleDETROIT, MI (Feb. 14, 2022) – Three affiliated groups that advocate for LGBTQ+ Catholics are warning Catholic parents against participating in the EnCourage and Courage “ministries” that the Archdiocese of Detroit is currently promoting.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.

Scripture scholars have debated for centuries as to why Jesus, whom our tradition maintains was born without sin, allowed himself to be baptized by John. Although we will never know, perhaps that is not the crucial question. Instead, one might ask what the early Christians took as the message Jesus’ baptism, and what lesson it might still have for us today? To be baptized is to be immersed in water when water is a metaphor (sacrament) for Love.

December 9, 2021.  A newly revealed document from the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, that excludes transgender people and those in same-sex relationships from most of the Catholic Church’s sacraments, and prohibits them from serving in many other roles, is being seen as going farther than any other diocese’s public statements, according to DignityUSA. The organization represents the majority of US Catholics who support justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in the church and society.   

For the fiscal year (FY) ended September 30, 2021 the DignityUSA (DUSA) Operating Fund reported a net operating income (before investment gains) of $76,798 compared to a budgeted loss of $50,900. Total income of $389,608 was $112,158 over budget. Specifically, recorded income from the Leadership Stabilization Fund (LSF) amounted to $98,038. This fund was not budgeted.

--Today on World AIDS Day we stand with others worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.---

November 17, 2021. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has approved a document that avoids banning Catholic political leaders who support abortion rights or take other stances that conflict with church teaching from receiving Communion. In a vote of 222 to 8, the Bishops Conference has endorsed “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” and also overwhelmingly passed a plan for a three-year campaign to strengthen Catholics’ devotion to the sacrament.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.

Today we celebrate Spirit Day, the most visible LGBTQ+ anti-bullying campaign in the world. LGBTQ youth disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Each year, millions go purple for Spirit Day to support LGBTQ youth in a united stand against bullying. Pledging to “go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — global and local brands and companies, world leaders, celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity.

Martin Witchger, a Durham, NC resident and Vice President of DignityUSA, is calling on the state’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson to resign after referring to homosexuality and “transgenderism” as “filth.” He also called on other state Republican leaders to denounce Robinson’s remarks.“What Mark Robinson said is harmful and deeply troubling to many people across North Carolina,” said Witchger. “LGBTQ people and our families cannot trust a leader who doesn’t think of his constituents as people.”

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.

 DignityUSA remains committed to the health, safety and well-being of our members and friends. We are closely monitoring the level of viral transmission in the San Diego area, as well as nationally, and will be making decisions about the conference accordingly. Here are some of the steps we are taking to minimize risk for our attendees: 

-Today's celebration of National Coming Out Day is dedicated to Gene Corpuz of Dignity Honolulu in celebration of his 64th Birthday! Thank you Gene for your continual support of DignityUSA! National Coming Out Day was started by Richard Eichberg, a psychologist, and Jean O'Leary, a gay rights activist, in 1988 to raise awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and its work towards civil rights.

Families With Dignity Group Offers Help to Those Fired 

Wear a rainbow ribbon every day to show your support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex persons!

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members.

-On Friday, October 1, 2021, DignityUSA welcomes new leadership!As we offer deep gratitude to retiring President Chris Pett and Secretary Bob Butts, we extend prayers and good wishes to Meli Barber, Martin Witchger, and Sam Albano as they begin their two-year terms as President, Vice President, and Secretary, respectively. Linda Roberts will continue as Treasurer for the next few months. 

The Rosary for LGBTQ+ People is designed to add prayerful time to the LGBTQ+ person’s – or allied person’s – day while continuing to affirm God’s love for all of humanity. We are made in the image of our Creator, perfect and pleasing in God’s sight. Because our Creator has made us this way, we pray this rosary, proudly and devoutly, to Our Lady so she might look upon us with her Motherly love and bring us closer to her Son, Jesus.

September 17, 2021. In an onboard press conference during his return flight from Hungary, Pope Francis once again addressed whether same-sex couples’ relationships could be recognized.

Are you longing for in-person connection with the DignityUSA community, profound prayer experiences, and stimulating presentations?

DignityUSA is cosponsoring an event with the Catholic Organizations for Renewal on September 22nd called, "Can the Catholic Church Free Itself from Clericalism.”(COR) is a leadership forum of U.S. church reform organizations. Their purpose is to further reform and renewal in the Roman Catholic Church, to build an inclusive church, to bring about a world of justice and peace and to reflect the sacredness of all creation.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.

Join us on September 11th and 12th for our Virtual Gathering: Our Journey Forward  We'll come together as a Catholic justice movement for workshops, music, thought-provoking panels, a speech by the incoming DignityUSA president, community discussions, and an exciting musical performance by Latinx pop star Gina Chavez.  

-Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.-

 Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.

- Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.

Job Description:  DignityUSA Operations ManagerHours:  Part-time position. 15-20 hours/week (specific hours TBD)Reports to: Executive DirectorAlso works closely with: DignityUSA Treasurer, Technology Services Manager 

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.   August 8, 2021: The Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

A report from the leadreship of Dignity/Los Angeles:

Financial Report for the Nine Months Ended June 30, 2021Financial Results v. Budget

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.   August 1, 2021: the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Earlier this year, Pope Francis announced a new annual celebration for Catholic around the world. The fourth Sunday of July, July 25th this year, will mark the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, falling near the feast of Jesus' grandparents, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. While Scripture doesn't describe the relationship between these two and their grandchild, it is likely that Jesus knew them well. In the culture of Jesus' time, extended family visits, where living apsace and daily life were shared, were common.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.  July 25, 2021: the Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.  

A Special Message from Ron Lacro and Jane Powers,Music Directors for DignityUSA's Virtual Gathering,Our Journey Forward, Sept. 11-12, 2021Dear friends,

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.  July 11, 2021: the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week. July 4th, 2021: The Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Gathering stories of LGBT elders – from an elder perspective How do you see your place in your immediate family? In your extended family? What special presence, what gifts, what strengths do you bring to your family relationships? What family moments or gatherings mean the most to you? Do you have grandchildren or grand-nieces/nephews? What do you bring to this generation of young people? When in your life did you come out to your family? Can you name family members who were supportive?

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.  June 27, 2021: The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On June 16-18, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will hold its 2021 spring meeting, during which they will discuss whether Catholic political leaders who support access to safe and legal abortion should be denied Communion. The decision is a drastic attempt to weaponize the Eucharist and force U.S. Catholics to submit to the bishops’ whims.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.June 20, 2021: The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A message from Peggy Hayes, DignityUSA’s Development Committee Chair:We usually write to you about what DignityUSA does. As we celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month and kick off our Pride Appeal, we want you to think about what DignityUSA is. We, as DignityUSA, are community, even family. We are a voice proclaiming truths too long silenced. We are church. We are leaders in the LGBTQ+ justice movement. We might be where you met your true love, where you celebrated your marriage, where you were joyfully welcomed as your true self. What are we to you? 

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.June 13, 2021: The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.June 6th, 2021: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus (Corpus Christi)

On June 1st, LGBTQI justice organizations from across the country are coming together to celebrate Pride Month.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.May 30th, 2021: The Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity

As we mark the first anniversary of the unjustified murder of George Floyd, DignityUSA stands with all those who have seen this tragic incident as an urgent call to examine and dismantle systemic racism in our society. We know this anniversary will renew the grief and trauma experienced by Mr. Floyd’s family, friends, and community, and by millions whose lives are filled with fear, anxiety, and grief because of the color of the skin or their ethnic identity.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.May 23rd, 2021: Pentecost Sunday

Earlier this month, the Associated Press (AP), the service that provides news and photos to more than 15,000 news outlets worldwide, announced that its longtime religion reporter Rachel Zoll had died at age 55. This was a loss keenly felt by her family, friends and colleagues, her employer, those who follow religion in the news, and DignityUSA.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.May 16th, 2021: The Solemnity of the Ascension

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.May 9th, 2021: The Sixth Sunday of Easter

DignityUSA is deeply saddened by the loss of our longtime member and colleague, Casey (Casimer) Lopata. Casey passed away peacefully on May 1, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.May 2nd, 2021: The Fifth Sunday of Easter

DignityUSAFinancial Report for the Six Months Ended March 31, 2021Financial Results v. Budget

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.April 25th, 2021: Fourth Sunday of Easter

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.April 18th, 2021: Third Sunday of Easter

LGBTQI Catholics and Allies Celebrate “Major Victory” as Secretary of State Blinken Rejects Pompeo Commission

On March 24th and 29th, DignityUSA hosted virtual townhall meetings in response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s statement released on March 15th. The CDF’s statement, approved by Pope Francis, rejected the possibility of the Church offering blessings to same-sex unions.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.April 11th, 2021: The Second Sunday of EasterActs 4:32 – 351 John 5:1 – 6John 20: 19 – 31

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.April 4th, 2021: Easter SundayActs 10:34a, 37-43Colossians 3:1-4John 20:1-9Reflection by L.F. RannerHow do you raise the dead?

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.March 28th, 2021: Palm SundayMark 11:1-10John 12:12-16Isaiah 50:4-7Philippians 2:6-11Reflection by delfín w. bautista

Earlier this week, in a statement from Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope Francis, the Vatican denied the possibility of the Church and Priests blessing same-sex couples. We were deeply disapointed by this statement and the harm it will do to LGBTQI Catholics, noting that so many Catholics already support and affirm the relationships of LGBTQI people in their lives. You can read our full response here.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.March 21st, 2021: The Fifth Sunday of LentJeremiah 31:31-34Hebrews 5:7-9John 12:20-33

March 15, 2021 - DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church and society, is deeply disappointed by the Vatican’s statement unequivocally denying blessings to same-sex couples.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a piece of legislation that would establish federal LGBTQI nondiscrimination laws in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, federal funding, jury service, and credit. This bill, the result of decades of organizing and advocacy, would be the first of its kind if it was signed into law. Its protections are desperately needed, as 28 states still have not outlawed LGBTQI discrimination.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life. Get Breath of the Spirit scripture reflections in your inbox every week.March 14th, 2021: The Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.March 7th, 2021: The Third Sunday of LentExodus 17: 3-7Romans 5: 1-3, 5-8John 4: 5-15, 19b-26, 40-42

February 25th, 2021 DignityUSA joins LGBTQ+ advocates and allies across the country in celebrating the passage of the Equality Act through the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. The passage of the bill through the House represents a major step toward enshrining the Equality Act’s historic, wide-ranging LGBTQI protections into federal law.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.February 28th, 2021: The Second Sunday of LentGenesis 22: 1-2a, 9a, 10-13, 15-18Romans 8: 31b-34Mark 9: 2-10Reflection from Rev. Richard P. Young

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.February 21st, 2021: The First Sunday of LentGenesis 9:8-151 Peter 3:18-22Mark 1:12-15Reflection from Lori Frey Ranner

February 10, 2021. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI* people in our Church and society strongly objects to a new policy issued by the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, that denies the reality of transgender and nonbinary people, and insists they be treated as being the gender assigned to them at birth.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.February 14th, 2021: Sixth Sunday of Ordinary TimeLeviticus 13:1-2, 44-461 Corinthians 10:31—11:1Mark 1:40-45Reflection from David Jackson

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.February 7th, 2021: Fifth Sunday of Ordinary TimeJob 7:1-4, 6-71 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23Mark 1:29-39Reflection from Ann Penick

Black History Month is celebrated each year throughout the month of February. The iconic color combination of red, black, and green dates back to the early 1920s, when the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), led by Marcus Garvey, adopted a flag as a symbol of political maturity to represent the people of the African Diaspora and to stand for Black freedom.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.January 31st, 2021: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary TimeDeuteronomy 18:15-201 Corinthians 7:32-35Mark 1:21-28Reflection from Tom DeVoyd

In the final days of the Trump administration, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a new rule that allows organizations that recieve federal funding to provide social services to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision was applauded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with a joint statment from the Chairs of multiple USCCB Commitees. On January 25th, DignityUSA issued the following letters, condemning the USCCB's support for this discriminatory rule change, and calling on President Biden to reverse the decision.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.January 24th, 2021: Third Sunday of Ordinary TimeJonah 3:1-5, 101 Corinthians 7:29-31Mark 1:14-20Reflection from Marianne Duddy-Burke

DignityUSA's Policy on Persons Serving in Designated Spiritual or Ministerial Roles. Revised and adopted as a DignityUSA Policy, November 12, 2020.Introduction

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.January 17th, 2021: Second Sunday of Ordinary Time1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 101 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20John 1:35-42

As a member organization of the Catholic Organizations for Renewal, DignityUSA issues this statement alongside our sister member orgranizations.We, the undersigned members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR), are outraged by and unequivocally condemn the violent storming of the United States Capitol that we witnessed on January 6, 2021. At the same time, as faithful Catholics, we lament the U.S. Catholic community’s complicity and participation in fostering an environment that encouraged and enabled such violence.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.January 10th, 2021: The Baptism of ChristIsaiah 42:1-4, 6-7Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38Mark 1:7-11Reflection from delfín w. bautista

DignityUSA is committed to embracing diversity, equality, and inclusion for every member of our community. After several months of our own learning and discussion, the Board of Directors is excited to announce the formation of a new caucus for people of color (POC), as well as a resource group for those committed to the work of being anti-racist. 

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.January 3rd, 2021: EpiphanyIsaiah 60:1-6Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6Matthew 2:1-12Reflection from John P. Falcone

DignityUSA and Dignity/San Antonio mourn the passing and celebrate the life of Nickie Valdez, who passed away December 25, 2020 at her home in San Antonio. Her spouse of 35 years, Deb Myers, was with her, as she was throughout Nickie’s 8-year battle with multiple myeloma.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.December 27th, 2020: The Feast of the Holy Family Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14Colossians 3:12-17Luke 2:22-40Reflection from Jon Schum

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the Chartering of Dignity/Baltimore, under the leadership of Al Risdorfer, a longtime member of Dignity/Washington and a priest with the Catholic Apolstolic Church in North America. The previous Baltimore Chapter folded in the 1990’s.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.December 20th, 2020: Fourth Sunday of Advent2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12,14a,16Romans 16: 25-27Luke 1: 26-38Reflection from Rev. Richard P. Young

DignityUSA's Book of Intentions, a sacred object familiar to conference attendees, was featured in a workshop entitied, "Catholicism in 10 Objects," which was part of the Roman Catholic Studies Unit of the American Academy of Religion during its 2020 Annual Meeting. The following reflection on the Book of Intentions was presented by Dugan McGinley, a Teaching Professor in the Department of Religion at Rutgers University. He is the author of the book Acts of Faith, Acts of Love: Gay Catholic Autobiographies as Sacred Texts.

Breath of the Spirit is our electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. Nothing can replace your chapter or other faith community but we hope you will find further support here for integrating your spirituality with your sexuality and all the strands of your life.December 13th, 2020: Third Sunday of AdventIsaiah 61:1-2a, 10-111 Thessalonians: 5:16-24John 1:6-8, 19-28Reflection from Ann Marie Szpakowska

Reflection from Lori Frey RannerIsaiah 40:1-5, 9-112 Peter 3:8-14Mark 1:1-8Road building is rough work.

November 7, 2020 - Now that the election has been called in favor of the Biden/Harris ticket, DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, congratulates Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and successful congressional candidates on their electoral victory, apparently winning the presidency and making it more likely that the work of the people can be done in Congress.

On October 21st, a number of media outlets reported that Pope Francis expressed support for civil union laws during a documentary interview. That day we issued a response, communucating our cautious optimism about reports of the Pope's comments.

October 21, 2020. This morning, a number of media outlets are reporting that during a documentary interview Pope Francis expressed support for civil union laws for same-sex couples to ensure that they are “legally covered.” DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, is cautiously optimistic about this development, while acknowledging that we are very early in the story.

October 13th, 2020. Families with Dignity, formerly known as Fortunate Families Detroit, is delighted to announce its new affiliation with DignityUSA. 

Since 1995, DignityUSA and our allies have gathered together on Solidarity Sunday, a special event to remember those affected by violence and hate crimes against LGBTQI people and to combat the religious justifications for anti-LGBTQI violence. Since its beginning, hundreds of thousands have joined together for Solidarity Sunday. The annual event has been joined by national organizations like GLAAD, PFLAG, and many more.

October 6th, 2020. Over a thousand people from 43 states, 10 countries, and 3 continents have signed a letter responding to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ recent policy that will bar transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students from enrolling in more than 60 Catholic schools in Indiana. The policy will also require currently-enrolled transgender students to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities that do not correlate with their gender identity, and require staff to use wrong pronouns for these students.

On September 29th, we were joined by New Ministry, Families with Dignity, the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at the Pacific School of Religion and more for an evening of sharing, healings, and strategizing for justice. In a conversation facilitated by Dr. Craig A. Ford Jr., we shared stories of bravery in the midst of discrimination, and discussed the future of LGBTQI inclusion in the Catholic Church and beyond.Check out the full webinar:

September 26, 2020. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, joins people across our country in continuing to honor the memory and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be laid to rest next week.

Submitted to US Department of Housing and Urban Development September 18, 2020

Daniel Barutta of Dignity/Washington shares about what makes Dignity communities unique. LGBTQI Catholics desereve a space that is affiriming and accepting. For thousands of them across the coutnry, Dignity provides that space.

>ear from George of Dignity/San Diego on what his Dignity community has meant to him.

As we seek to answer the hard questions about what to do next, our collective mind turns to the November 2020 elections in the United States that will have worldwide repercussions. These elections are the next significant chance we have to stem the tide of injustice and usher in a new era of equality.

Hear from Dignity/San Fernando Valley member Chris Chris Cappiello on what gives him hope and the role of DignityUSA today.

Following many conversations evaluating available information and a great deal of prayerful consideration, DignityUSA’s Board of Directors has made the unanimous decision to postpone our planned 2021 conference in San Diego, CA, and to offer an opportunity to gather on-line using new and evolving technologies to create a high quality, interactive experience. We are moving forward in planning for an in-person gathering in the summer of 2022, in hopes that conditions will allow us to be together at that time.

DignityUSAThird Quarter Financial Results

We are progressive Catholic theologians, community leaders, ministers, and advocates who write to express our strong concerns about the current draft of the Commission on Unalienable Rights.

Only July 11th, DignityUSA teamed up with GLAAD, Shelly’s Voice, PFLAG, the Ariadne Getty Foundation and many more to host the Rally For Equality in Indianapolis. Our caravan of vehicles circled the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, demonstrating against a new policy that Archbishop Thompson secretly implemented that will ban transgender and gender non-conforming students from enrolling in more than 60 Indiana schools and severely discriminate against transgender students already enrolled.

July 8, 2020. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI Catholics in the church and society, is deeply disappointed in today’s Supreme Court ruling that denies Catholic school teachers legal protection against job bias. In a 7-2 decision, the Justices ruled that because the duties of the two teachers included teaching religion, they were not protected by employment nondiscrimination laws. DignityUSA had submitted an amicus brief in support of the employees in these cases.

July 8, 2020. DignityUSA has obtained a copy of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ “Policy and Norms on Sexual Identity in School Ministry”—a document that was sent to key Archdiocesan staff in June 2020, but that was to be kept secret from the public.

This has been no ordinary time. Masks, social distancing and almost no contact with friends, family or coworkers have kept many folks apart. Yet Dignity Chapters, Communities and Caucuses across the US, have come together and remain connected in new and innovative ways.

June 24, 2020. New directives from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that ban some transgender students from Catholic schools are being called “unspeakably cruel” and “based on ignorance and misconceptions” by leaders of the LGBTQI Catholic group DignityUSA. A policy released to archdiocesan employees on June 17 says that children who have legally, chemically, or surgically changed their gender from that assigned at birth may not be enrolled in Catholic schools.

 LGBTQI Catholic Group DignityUSA Responds to Supreme Court Decision Protecting LGBTQI Workers

A 2020 Pride Message for the Dignity Community from Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director

“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In letters sent to the Archbishop of Cincinnati, DignityUSA, and the Living Beatitudes Community, a ministry of Dignity/Dayton, have strongly protested the decision to refuse contract renewal to a teacher who gave 23 years of exemplary service to a Catholic high school. A parent from the school presented a copy of the teacher's marriage certificate to the Archdiocese, showing he was married to another man.May 11, 2020

Report by Linda Roberts: DignityUSA Treasurer

We want to invite all our Chapters, Communities and Caucuses to participate in a series of conference calls to connect with all our leaders during this time of isolation. Specifically, we want to hear about how our members are remaining connected and how DignityUSA can help.In addition, we wanted to update everyone about our national strategic priorities that emerged from our 2019 Conference:

Dear Members and Friends of DignityUSA,As we continue to celebrate this most unusual and challenging Easter season, we wanted to share some thoughts on how the work of Dignity carries on even in the coronavirus era.

With 2019’s celebration of our 50 years and 50 years since Stonewall still reverberating through our movement, DignityUSA turns to the future with a new forward-looking logo to communicate our image to the world.  Our past logo and its tagline, in use prior to the special 50th anniversary logo, did not encompass the fullness of the DignityUSA community. 

In early March, DignityUSA filed Amicus Briefs in two lawsuits challenging Catholic institutions’ claims of “ministerial exemptions” in the termination or mistreatment of three employees. In the US Supreme Court cases of St. James School v. Estate of Kristen Biehl and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Agnes Morrissey-Berru, the schools in question claimed “ministerial exemption” in terminating a Catholic laywoman and a non-Catholic woman, respectively, both teachers, due to disability and age. In Koenke v. St.

March 18, 2020.The challenges facing the world right now with the corona virus are overwhelming and eclipsing all other news, but important events continue to occur that merit our attention. This is one of them.

The DignityUSA Board of Directors met in San Antonio Feb. 28-March 1. In addition to a wonderful gathering with the Dignity/San Antonio chapter for liturgy and dinner, here’s a short overview of what we discussed:  We fleshed out projects and ideas for our four pillars of our strategic plan:  

Below is the agenda for the DignityUSA Board of Directors meeting in San Antonio, TX, Feb. 28 - Mar. 1, 2020. All are welcome to attend. For additional information, please contact [email protected] February 28

For the past 20 years, several Dignity Chapters have enjoyed a relationship with CITI Ministries (CITI stands for Celibacy is the Issue), providing married or resigned priests to serve as presiders. CITI priests serve (or have served) in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Pittsburgh and various Pennsylvania Chapters.

February 10, 2020. Leaders of DignityUSA, the world’s largest organization of Catholics supporting justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the church and society, are calling a new policy in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, headed by Bishop Thomas Paprocki, “perilous to the physical and mental health of transgender and nonbinary people.”Sign DignityUSA's petition — Bishop Paprocki: Stop threatening transgender students and workers!

By Chris Pett and Meli BarberIn the spirit of “Forward from 50”, following our successful 50th Anniversary Jubilee initiatives and visioning process, we are proud to announce the strategic priorities that will be the focus of our time, talent and treasure as we move into a new year and decade. These priorities were developed by the Board of Directors and represent the key learnings of the Jubilee local community conversations and the key outputs of the visioning session conducted during the 2019 50th anniversary conference in Chicago.

Dear Dignity members,

For the first quarter of the fiscal year 2020 (October 1 – December 31, 2019) DignityUSA reported operating income of $15,812 compared to a budgeted income of $5,413. The positive results and variance from budget were attributed to higher income than expected of approximately $8,000 from some large annual donations to the Guardian Angels plan, a successful Advent Appeal that delivered about $2,000 more than planned and $3,000 more in other donations, including one large unrestricted contribution.Expenses ran about $2,000 under budget due to the timing of travel expenses.

Sixty-two members of Dignity/Dayton’s Living Beatitudes Community, Christ Episcopal Church and First Baptist Church of Dayton attended a daylong Retreat on Aging on Saturday, January 12, 2020.The Retreat on Aging was an excellent session on both the practical and spiritual facets of aging, with topics on care and aging in place, the legal aspects of aging (power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney and other medical issues), as well as what happens when 911 is called for an elderly person. 

December 18, 2019  Secretary Alex AzarDepartment of Health and Human Services200 Independence Avenue, S.W.Washington, DC 20201 Dear Secretary Azar,   

The Dignity/Washington board of directors is excited to announce a new form of outreach and support to LGBTQI/Ally Catholics near and far. Dignity/Washington plans to begin live-streaming their Mass on the second Sunday of each month using Facebook Live. This initiative was born out of feedback at the local and national level. As one of the most robust Dignity chapters, Dignity/Washington is excited to offer this gift to individuals unable to attend mass, including those without access to a local Dignity chapter, welcoming parish or other inclusive Catholic community.

December 17, 2019. Nearly 19 years after The Boston Globe’s explosive reporting on the extent of clergy sexual abuse and episcopal cover up sparked similar investigations around the world, Pope Francis has ordered an end to “pontifical secrecy.” These measures prevented reporting most abuse allegations to police or other civil authorities, and often imposed silence on victims receiving settlements from Catholic dioceses.

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2019 DignityUSA posted an overall net income of $79,620. This included results for the Operating Fund, Jubilee Initiatives (Jubilee), National Conference (NC) and the Joint Forum with the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC).

October 27, 2019. The final document of the recently concluded Amazon Synod is a mixed bag, say leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to equality, justice, and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people in church and society.

October 11, 2019, Boston, MA. Leaders of DignityUSA,  the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) persons in the church and society, are calling on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to withdraw or substantially revise the briefs they submitted in conjunction with three employment discrimination cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Below is the text of the address Lauren Carpenter delivered during the Golden Anniversary Banquet during our 50th Anniversary conference in Chicago, July 6, 2019.

Mary E. Huntat DignityUSA's ForumJuly 4, 2019

We are pleased to announce that the proposed revisions to the DignityUSA Bylaws have been approved with over 84% of the total votes submitted. We are thankful to the many members, former DignityUSA leaders, board members and other experts who helped us thoughtfully develop the proposed revisions, beginning with the drafting process, and through the multiple rounds of editing, then member communications and, finally, the balloting process.

El Concilio Vaticano II (1962-65) invitó a los católicos a leer los signos de los de los tiempos e interpretar esos signos teniendo en cuenta las "aspiraciones, los anhelos y los frecuentes rasgos dramáticos del mundo en el que vivimos" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 4). Después del Concilio, los teólogos católicos de varias partes del mundo, aceptaron esta invitación, y dio origen a lo que se conoce como teología contextual.

Keynote Speech of Mary E. Hunt at DignityUSA's 50th Anniversary Conference in ChicagoJuly 5, 2019Good afternoon. Let us take a few moments of communal silence to center ourselves as we enter into this extraordinary celebration of 50 years of being “True to Ourselves, True to the Spirit.”     Good afternoon again. Thank you for joining in that moment of collective meditation as we launch into the festivities of the fiftieth anniversary of DignityUSA. Wow, I mean just wow.

DignityUSA Financial ReportTen Months Ended July 31, 2019As noted in a previous Dateline article, we have begun a series of reports to inform the membership periodically regarding the financial results and position of the organization. This report covers the first ten months of the fiscal year which ends on September 30. The results are comprised of four funds: Operating, Jubilee Initiatives, National Conference (NC) and the Joint Forum with the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) held adjacent to the NC.

Panel: “The Theological Mandate for LGBTI Justice Work” Global Network of Rainbow CatholicsChicago, IL4 July 2019Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D. Fordham University New York, USA

Miguel H. Diaz was the ambassador to the Holy See, and holds The John Courtney Murray Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago.  This presentation was given to a gathering of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics at the DignityUSA 50th Anniversary Conference in Chicago, July 4-7, 2019.

Meli Barber (ND ’08, 10) of Indianapolis, IN has been elected Vice-President of DignityUSA. Meli’s two-year term will begin October 1, 2019.

In response to Dominic Conover's commentary in the Advocate entitled "I Won't Let the Catholic Church Silence Any More LGBTQ Students," DignityUSA has sent the following letter to the Archbishop of Indianapolis. We urge those who agree to send a letter of their own.   August 2, 2019Archbishop Charles Thompson Archdiocese of Indianapolis 1400 N. Meridian Street Indianapolis, IN 46202Dear Archbishop Thompson,

Organizations SAGE Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders www.sageusa.org see SAGENET list of 28 local national affiliates 305 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 212-741-2247 National Resource Center on LGBT Aging (coordinates with SAGE) www.lgbtagingcenter.org 212-741-2247 American Society on Aging

July 22, 2019. Over 125 Catholic theologians, community leaders and activists have sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlining strong concerns to the recently announced Commission on Unalienable Rights. Mary Ann Glendon, a Catholic known for advocating “natural law” as a basis for policy, has been tapped to head the commission.

Boston, MA. June 25, 2019. Leaders of DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization of Catholics supporting equality and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) Catholics in the church and society deplore the continuing and systematic discrimination against LGBTQI people in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Boston, MA. June 21, 2019.  Leaders of DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization of Catholics supporting equality and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) Catholics in the church and society, say they are “in absolute solidarity” with Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. The Indianapolis high school, run by the Jesuit order, has been ordered by Archbishop Charles Thompson not to call itself “Catholic” after refusing to terminate the employment of a teacher who married a same-sex partner.

June 10, 2019, Boston, MA. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education today released a document entitled “Male and Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.” Leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics who support justice, equality, and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people in the Church and society, called the document “dangerous, disingenuous, and divisive.”

DignityUSA Financial Report Seven Months Ended April 30, 2019

This letter was sent to all US Senators May 10, 2019 United States SenateWashington, DC 20510 Dear Senator:We are writing to urge swift action and your full support of the Equality Act, S.788. DignityUSA, marking 50 years of working for equality for LGBT Catholics in our church and society, represents the significant majority of Catholic voters who agree with the protections this bill would extend to vulnerable groups in our society.

Dear Fellow Catholics,I have spoken with dozens of you in the days following the close of the much-touted Vatican sex abuse summit. To a person, you have expressed disappointment, frustration, sadness, anger, even disgust at the failure of this gathering to produce even the most minimal substantive universal policy change. As one of you said, “Even the greediest corporation gets the importance of going on record with a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual abuse. Why can’t the church get its act together?”

February 19, 2019   Dear Friend, On this fiftieth day of 2019, we in DignityUSA are proud to kick off a new phase of our 50th anniversary celebration! Since 1969, we have been a voice of affirmation, advocacy, and pride for LGBTQI Catholics and allies within our Church and in society. We are grateful for the support of our members and friends over these last 50 years. Today, as much as ever before, our Church and our world need the voice and presence of Dignity. We know you agree.

Forum on the State of the Global LGBTI Catholic Movement July 4, 2019 Westin Michigan Avenue   9:00 – 9:30 Registration 9:30 – 9:45 Welcome and Opening Prayer 9:45 -11:00 Panel: Key Accomplishments and Challenges for LGBTI Catholics in each Region 11:00 - 11:15 Coffee/Tea Break

January 23, 2019. Boston, MA. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics that has been working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people in church and society for fifty years, denounced the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows the Trump administration to bar many transgender people from U.S. military service while the policy is being reviewed by lower courts.

Boston, MA, December 3, 2018. DignityUSA, the world’s oldest and largest organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church and society, expressed its deep concern about reported passages in Pope Francis’ new book, saying they reveal a profound ignorance of human sexuality, perpetuate long-disproved myths about lesbian and gay people, and promote discrimination and violence against LGBTQI people around the world.

by Marie Sweeney, Director of DignityUSA I have several family members in AA. When each of them receives a coin for additional time of recovery, someone in their AA group does the presentation. It may be the presenter or the entire group who poses the question, “So how did you do it (further recovery)? And the recipient always answers with the truth, “one day at a time.”

Eulogy for Jim Green Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA November 24, 2018  

These words were Jim's final message to the people he loved, read by his sister-in-law Sue Green during his funeral Mass at Holy Wisdom Monastery, Madison, Wisconsin, November 24, 2018.   No Regrets-All Gratitude-Jim 9-19-18 (Keep your sense of humor)

Statement of DignityUSA in Support of Shelly Fitzgerald November 15, 2018 Indianapolis, IN

The Vatican-sponsored World Youth Day will be held in Panama City, Panama January 22-27, 2019. DignityUSA and our partners in the Equally Blessed coalition have sponsored LGBTQI/Ally young people to ensure there is a visible and vocal presence of LGBTQI and supportive people at past World Youth Days and want to ensure that is the case next year, as well. Through a grant from the Arcus Foundation to support Equally Blessed’s (EB) activities, we already have some funding to send a delegation, and hope to raise more.

Aug. 6, 2018.  Last week, Pope Francis changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church to make the death penalty entirely unacceptable, saying it is “an attack” on human dignity. DignityUSA, the organization of LGBTQI Catholics and allies, welcomes this change, along with many other Catholics around the world.  DignityUSA also notes that this news has some very important and particular implications for LGBTQI people.  Therefore, DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke has issued the following statement:

24 July 2018. The GNRC (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics) is “deeply dismayed and disappointed” by the lack of response from officials overseeing the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. The GNRC, representing 32 LGBTI Catholic groups from around the world, applied for an exhibit booth on 17th April 2018. Despite repeated requests for a decision about their application, and information that booth spaces are still available, GNRC has received no response.

July 23, 2018. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion for LGBTQI people in our church and society, joins many in the Church and justice communities, especially in the northwestern U.S., in mourning the death of retired Seattle Archbishop Raymond “Dutch” Hunthausen. The Archbishop’s allowing DignityUSA to hold a liturgy for 1,200 gay and lesbian Catholics and supporters in St.

June 18, 2018. Just weeks before World Meeting of Families 2018, a Vatican event that has been plagued with mixed messages about whether same-sex couples and families of LGBTQI people will be welcome, Pope Francis projected a very narrow view of what family is. In remarks to the Italian group Forum delle Famiglie, the Pope is reported to have said, “It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family," but "the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one." 

June 4, 2018. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, expresses its disappointment with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, but is encouraged that the Court ruled narrowly, based on the particulars of this case.

Pride month is upon us. And once again, there is cause for reflection and recommitment in the midst of celebration.

May 29, 2018. Pope Francis’ directive to Italian bishops to exclude men they believe may be gay from seminaries raises several deeply troubling issues. According to widely circulated reports from outlets such as Catholic News Agency, “if you have even the slightest doubt it's better not to let them enter,” Francis said, “because these acts or deep-seated tendencies can lead to scandals and can compromise the life of the seminary, as well as the man himself and his future priesthood.”

May 21, 2018. Boston, MA. According to reports from Spain’s El Pais newspaper and the Associated Press, Pope Francis has reportedly told a gay male survivor of clerical sexual abuse that his sexual orientation comes from God. Juan Carlos Cruz said that in a private meeting about the Chilean sexual abuse scandal, Pope Francis said, “Look Juan Carlos, the pope loves you this way. God made you like this and he loves you.” At this point, the Vatican is declining to confirm or deny the remarks.

Do you have any of this memorabilia? Tom Yates is leading a project to visually document highlights in Dignity’s nearly 50-year history for the July 2019 Conference in Chicago.  If you have any of the following items, please notify Tom at [email protected] or Mark Matson at [email protected].  These items will also enrich our Archives.  Thank you! Photographs of People (actual photo or high-resolution digital copy):

The following comments were submitted to the US Department of Health and Human Services in response to proposed rules that would allow health care workers to refuse to treat individuals or provide services they object to on religious or moral grounds.  March 27, 2018 US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights Attention: Conscience NPRM, RIN 0945-ZA03 Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 509F 200 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20201 RE:  Docket HHS-OCR-2018-002

Help Needed to Enhance Rainbow of DignityUSA Board of Directors The DignityUSA Board of Directors tries to make decisions, set direction based on the entire Dignity Movement. We recognize that our cultural heritages, language groups, races, locations as well as sexual orientation, identity and expression need to have a voice at this table. Currently our Rainbow of diversity needs some enhancement. Will you help?

Remarks from March 9, 2018 Teleconference (in order):Kate McElwee, Executive Director, Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC)Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSAMary E. Hunt, Co-director, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)

March 8, 2018.  LGBTQI Catholics See Mixed Record in First Five Years of the Francis Papacy, Renew Offer of Dialogue Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, issued the following statement in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis: On March 13, 2018, Catholics and many others in the world will mark the fifth anniversary of the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope. What have these five years meant for LGBTQI and Ally Catholics? What can we expect from the next phase of Francis’ papacy?

DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, is seeking an experienced grant-writing consultant to assist in grant-writing to targeted funders for initiatives connected with and stretching beyond our 50th Anniversary, which will be marked during 2019. This is a short-term, part-time consultant position. This Consultant will report to the Executive Director and will work closely with the organization’s Development Committee Chair and Communications/Development/Constituent Services Manager.

The following letter was sent to Bishop Bambera of Scranton, PA, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, PA, Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville, KY, and Bishop Conley of Lincoln, NE in January 2018. Each of these bishops was a co-signer on a letter that directed parents not to support transgender children in living as their true selves. It is a powerful example of "speaking true to power" in the spirit of love. Dear Archbishops and Bishops:

Attempts to Deny Reality Hurt Families and Church, says DignityUSA

Boston, January 18, 2018. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the Church and society, vehemently objected to the Trump Administration’s creation of a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today. The office was established to support health care workers who refuse to treat certain kinds of people or perform certain procedures they believe violate their religious or moral beliefs.

As 2017 draws to a close, DignityUSA is taking time to reflect on some on our accomplishments. With our members' and donors' support, DignityUSA has:

                                                         by Ann Marie Szpakowska, Dignity/Buffalo  

Pope Francis’ statement on gender confirmation demonstrates “tragic ignorance” of transgender lives, says Catholic group committed to LGBTQI equality

We are thrilled to have officially started our terms as President and Vice President of DignityUSA on October 1. Our terms coincide with the two year Jubilee period leading up to the 50th anniversary of DignityUSA in 2019, and we are excited to be reflecting, discerning, and celebrating with you all during this Jubilee. We are committed to honoring our past, while also ensuring that DignityUSA is a nimble, relevant and well-resourced organization ready to take on the challenges of the next 50 years.

Being President of DignityUSA has been the culmination of a journey that first started when I became a member in 1985 – pre-Ratzinger, pre-Halloween letter, the time before our mass expulsions from parishes.   I have been actively involved in Dignity for two-thirds of its existence.  I grew up with Dignity. It is my home. It has been a labor of love to serve Dignity in so many capacities – director, secretary, vice president and president.

Job Description:  DignityUSA Communications/Development/Constituent Services Manager Hours:  Part-time position. 15-20 hours/week (specific work schedule to be agreed upon) Reports to: Executive Director  

Job Description:  DignityUSA Communications/Development/Constituent Services Manager Hours:  Part-time position. 15-20 hours/week (specific work schedule to be agreed upon) Reports to: Executive Director  

“This is Why LGBTQI Catholics and Families Feel Unwelcome in Our Church.” June 21, 2017. Boston, MA.  Leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI Catholics in the Church and society, decry the “Decree Regarding Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues” recently promulgated by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. The Decree outlines policies for all Catholic institutions in the Diocese when dealing with people in same-sex marriages.

As we mark one year since the horrific massacre of 49 LGBTQI people and allies at Pulse, DignityUSA remembers the lives lost, sends loving prayers to their families, and to those survivors whose lives were forever changed, and gives thanks to all those who responded with courage and kindness in the aftermath. We recommit to being a place of sacred healing for those whose sense of belonging and safety was shaken by this targeting of our community.

As we approach Pride 2017, the LGBTQI community faces unexpected threats. That Gospel parable of the thief in the night feels very relevant. We had been enjoying what has felt like steady progress in greater social and spiritual inclusion and legal protection for our communities. And suddenly we—like many others—now find this advancement in jeopardy.

May 5, 2017. Boston, MA. The Executive Order on Religious Freedom signed by President Donald Trump did not contain the explicitly anti-LGBTQI provisions that were part of leaked early drafts of the Order. However, leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics working for equality, justice and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the Church and society, are warning that there are ominous signals that hard-won rights could soon be rolled back.

DignityUSA Bylaws Proposal - May 2017 ARTICLE I - NAME SECTION 1.01.      Name.  The legal name of this Non-Profit Corporation is Dignity, Inc. and since it commonly uses the assumed name of DignityUSA, it is hereinafter usually referred to as DignityUSA. ARTICLE II - PURPOSES

Dignity/San Antonio meets every Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Sunday, Feb.19, 2017, we had our regular monthly chapter business meeting. To prepare for the upcoming Dignity USA National Conference, we have a sponsored dinner prepared by our members who volunteer for the month. Sylvia Delos Santos and her partner Terri provided a great dinner consisting of Crispy Beef Tacos, Chalupas and all the fixings.  The money raised that evening will go towards our scholarship funds for attending the DignityUSA conference.We all enjoyed the fabulous dinner and fellowship that evening. 

February 23, 2017. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice and full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people joins countless others in decrying the Trump adminstration's reversal of former President Obama's guidance to schools on allowing transgender students to use facilities that match the gender with which they identify. 

Throughout 2016-17, members of the Chapter/Faith Community Services Committee contacted 32 of our Chapters and discussed three key issues:  vitality, -- “ What brings the people to Dignity” resources, -- “ Is planning and offering liturgy too much?” and finally, connectedness--“How do we keep connected in the 21st Century?”

This letter to the editor from DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke appeared in the January 13, 2017 print issue of National Catholic Reporter. It was written in response to an article by Thomas Reese, SJ entitled  “Time to Compromise on Gay Rights and Religious Freedom.” Well-intentioned but Problematic

Boston, MA. January 30, 2017. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to equality in the church and society for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, has expressed deep concern about Executive Orders issued by President Trump. The organization is especially alarmed by plans to build a wall across the border between the US and Mexico, and the order prohibiting travel to the US by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

From Maine to Maui, from Washington, DC to Washington state, Dignity members stood up for the rights of LGBTQI people, women, immigrants, those needing access to health care, sex assault victims, Muslims, in the Women's Marches that took place on Saturday, January 21, 2017. This is just one example of our ongoing commitment to the work of justice. Here are a few images and stories from our Marches. 

After Mass on Sunday, November 20, 2016 the Dignity/Washington community gathered for its annual meeting to discuss the year in review, financial information, and the presentation of community awards. This year's community award recipients are:

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy is releasing a new document (dated December 8, 2016) entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” which is a set of guidelines for priestly formation. The document notes, “The Holy Father Francis has approved the present General Executive Decree and has ordered its publication.”

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA President We are into another Advent season. Let it be an opportunity to reflect and recharge ourselves. After such a long election season, the electoral outcome does not bode well for LGBTQI people. I, along with many LGBTQI leaders, hope we are wrong. In 2017, we will need continued collaboration with many different organizations to prevent our hard-won rights from being chipped away or reversed nationally and by individual states. As we continue to share our stories, more people get to know our struggles and lives.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director In Rome and at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting, DignityUSA marked November’s spirit of remembrance to draw attention to the failure of most Catholic officials to explicitly condemn anti-LGBTQI violence, even in the wake of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, and the largest number of murders of transgender people on record in 2016.

During the week of November 14-20, individuals and organizations around the country participated in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and address the issues these communities face.  The Dignity/New York community commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance by honoring the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence at our community liturgies.

Have you noticed that we are using “Conference” rather than “Convention” when referring to our upcoming national gathering? We’ve heard from many Dignity members and friends that they thought “convention” implied a business meeting focused on internal issues, and was more appropriate for “insiders” and current leaders.

DignityUSA is thrilled to announce that Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey will deliver the Keynote Address titled, “Table Manners for Hungry Radicals,” at the July 6-9, 2017 conference. Dr. Lightsey is the only openly queer lesbian African-American ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, and is associate dean and professor of contextual theology and practice at the Boston University School of Theology. She is a veteran who teaches about just war theory, as well as teaching courses on LGBTQI Theology.

Across the world, public opinion about homosexuality varies substantially. While residents in some nations have embraced gay rights as human rights, in other countries very few people find homosexuality acceptable.  Why are there such big differences in attitudes about homosexuality?

We gather here today, outside the building where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting, to honor the lives lost to anti-LGBTQI violence, and to call on the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church—on our bishops—to acknowledge them, and us, by the names we call ourselves. Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Intersex. Queer.

DignityUSA, the leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) Catholics, is calling upon people of all faiths to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) by standing in solidarity with transgender people.

Thank you for having me here. It is an honor to be with you to remember victims of anti-LGBT violence. Though we are from different countries, this is a reality that binds us all, and it is good and right to stand together in witness and remembrance.  

November 4, 2016—“DignityUSA is deeply disappointed by Pope Francis’ recent reaffirmation of Pope John Paul II's statement that the ordination of women will never be possible in the Catholic Church,” said the organization’s executive director, Marianne Duddy-Burke.

At a just-concluded gathering of more than 40 Church Reform leaders held just outside Chicago, there was strong interest in the experience of LGBTQ Catholics and families. A work group on these issues developed a resolution, which was unanimously endorsed by the representatives of 11 countries from Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

October 29, 2016:  This week, our Executive Director, Marianne Duddy-Burke, was part of an assembly of Church reformers that brought together lay leaders, women religious, and priests from 11 countries, four continents, and five languages. In two weeks, she will be one of two US representatives to the meeting of International Movement We Are Church in Rome. In both circles, she is the only openly LGBTQ person there specifically charged with raising our concerns and witnessing to our gifts. See her thoughts on the first gathering in this mailing.

DignityUSA is constantly striving to improve our connections with our members, donors, and friends, and to increase our efficiency. Both goals were paramount when the Board reviewed our current communication processes at their meeting in Indianapolis, September 30 – October 2, 2016. Recognizing that most people now want information quickly and in short, manageable amounts, the Board decided to make the following changes to our publications and schedule:

By Lauren Carpenter, DignityUSA Board Member On November 20, communities around the world will gather to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day to honor and to grieve the transgender people who were murdered in hate crimes in the past year. At least 23 transgender people have been murdered this year, the majority of them transgender women of color.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director I am writing this piece just hours after the conclusion of a unique conference on Religion and Diplomacy sponsored by the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs. The conference marked the third anniversary of the work of this fairly new branch of the State Department, and I was honored to represent DignityUSA in my role as a member of the Faith and LGBTI Human Rights Advisory Group.

Starting in October, renewal notices will go out via email. Members may receive up to three notices at renewal time: two months before the anniversary date, a month after the anniversary, and two months after the anniversary. For example, if your renewal is January 2017, your first notice will arrive in November 2016, the second in February 2017, and the third in March 2017.

Our Church is a communal table around which we are all invited to take our place. But are we welcomed, and are our stories heard? When DignityUSA gathers in Boston next summer, we’ll dive into what it means for the marginalized to take their place at the table, and how the stories of the marginalized change those who tell them and those who hear them.  All are invited to the table where we learn to create communities that are not only welcoming, but also affirming.

By Craig Pomeranz I am reaching out to parents, journalists, and educators.  After reading and tweeting several stories on bullying, gender roles, and autism, I think it is important to keep this conversation going.  I was guided to your DignityUSA site and thought you would be interested in my new children's book, Made by Raffi. I am proud of the attention and reviews it is receiving, but especially the conversation that the book is generating on "embracing our differences."

Indianapolis, IN. October 2, 2016. In remarks at a gathering of Catholics in Georgia, Pope Francis termed what he calls “gender theory” “the great enemy of marriage.”  He also said “the whole world is at war trying to destroy marriage,” not with arms, “but with ideas.” He repeated his claim that the Church has “to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.”

Indianapolis, IN. October 2, 2016. In remarks at a gathering of Catholics in Georgia, Pope Francis termed what he calls “gender theory” “the great enemy of marriage.”  He also said “the whole world is at war trying to destroy marriage,” not with arms, “but with ideas.” He repeated his claim that the Church has “to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.”

By Bob Butts, DignityUSA Secretary DignityUSA Board members (as well as Dignity/Boston guests Marcia Garber, Stephen Young, and Peggy Burns) participated in a workshop called “Trans 101.”  It highlighted practical strategies to welcome the Transgender Community to chapters and faith communities.  The training took place on Saturday, July 22, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, during the recent Board meeting.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director

We are pleased to announce the newly elected members of the DignityUSA Board of Directors: Lauren Carpenter Linda Roberts Allen Rose Patty Stricker Congratulations to our newly elected Board members. On May 9, 2016 electronic and paper ballots were sent to 948 DignityUSA members. There were four positions open on the Board. On May 10 there was a candidate’s forum which was available for review during the election season. Ballots needed to be completed by midnight on June 23.

Now more than ever, DignityUSA is being called to be the voice of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Catholics who are firmly committed to the Gospel. In order to continue to speak effectively for justice for all in the Catholic Church and society, we need your financial commitment. You help strengthen DignityUSA’s unique and vital voice when you become a DignityUSA Angel. Amplify our voice with your monthly Guardian Angel or annual contribution. Join the Choir of Angels, and ensure that DignityUSA’s voice continues to be heard whenever and wherever it is needed!

Boston, MA. August 10, 2016. DignityUSA, the nation’s largest organizations of Catholics committed to justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our Church and in society, is calling on fellow Catholic Senator Marco Rubio to cancel his appearance at an anti-gay event being held in Orlando on August 11, 2016, the two-month anniversary of the worst mass shooting in US, which occurred at Pulse nightclub, an LGBT club.

Boston, MA. August 1, 2016. During a meeting with Polish bishops while attending World Youth Day, Pope Francis concluded his remarks by complaining that children are being taught “that everyone can choose their gender.” He also called this “ideological colonization” by “very influential countries.”

By Robin Eriksen, Dignity/Boston Board Member

Through the efforts of the DignityUSA staff, Board Members and many of our members/supporters, we are excited to announce that as of July 1, 2016, the 2016 Pride Appeal has raised $7,300. This level of support represents one of the most significant fundraising efforts in recent DignityUSA history and confirms many supporters' belief in DignityUSA's mission and voice.

By Peggy Hayes, Dignity/Boston When the U.S. State Department was organizing a visit to Boston by a delegation of leaders working for human rights for LGBTQ persons, they contacted Dignity/Boston.   Would Dignity/Boston discuss social and cultural approaches to gender and sexual orientation identities in a diverse society, and share its strategies for addressing public policy issues from a faith perspective?  Of course! 

by Lewis Speaks-Tanner, President, DignityUSA The 49 deaths and 53 injured in the early hours of June 12, 2016 have mobilized the LGBTQ and allied community!   The Pulse Club shooting has shattered our psyche.  Witnesses, protests, and vigils have been of historic in number all over the globe from London, Paris, Belfast, Barcelona, Calgary, and Cologne as well as across the United States from large and small cities to Orlando.

Boston, MA. June 26, 2016--Leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of LGBTQ Catholics and allies committed to equality and justice for LGBTQ people, welcomed the statement of Pope Francis today that the Church must apologize to gay people and to other groups that it has let down or offended throughout history.  The Pope’s comments echoed similar remarks made last week by one of his closest advisors, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany.

By Alice Knowles, DignityUSA Vice-President Happy Pride!  Blessings to you in this season of the LGBTQ Calendar.

By Marie Sweeney, DignityUSA Board Member

By Jack Freilingsdorf, former Board Member and Fundraising Chair

Last month, the Sisters of Mercy in San Francisco decided to continue the employment of Gabriel Bodenheimer (pictured below), a transgender man, at Mercy High School. 

June 13, 2016 Dear Pope Francis, I appreciate that you have expressed “horror and condemnation” and recognized that it was “senseless hatred” that led to the massacre in Orlando. I, and many others, share these feelings. However, you, and most of the bishops in the U.S. who have responded to this tragedy, have failed to name the reality that those who were killed, injured, and traumatized in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history were patrons of a gay nightclub, and that nearly all identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Boston, MA, June 12, 2016. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to equality and justice for LGBTQ people, offers our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives during the overnight attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We offer prayers and support to the injured, and to those who witnessed the horrors of this attack. We thank the law enforcement officers who responded for their response, which prevented further loss of life.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director This month, we close the Easter Season with the celebration of Pentecost. I love this feast, and the infusion of fiery Spirit into all of the original disciples. The ability of people who have gathered from many parts of the world to hear and understand the Good News, and for the newly daring disciples to witness in a variety of languages, has such richness!

Hi my name is Ashley Schrode. I began attending Dignity/Detroit in 2012. Since then, I have taken a more active part in DignityUSA as well.  I began participating in the Young Adult Caucus and have met some truly inspiring people of faith. Most recently I have joined the Development Committee to assist in continuing to cultivate ways to fund the work DignityUSA does.

By Marcia Garber, Dignity/Boston member, Trans Caucus member   Howdy from a Listening Parent at Fortunate Families! My name is Marcia Garber and I am a proud parent of two beautiful souls, one who lives and one who lives in spirit. Who would have thought since my husband, Ken and I had the honor and privilege to meet Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata, founders of Fortunate Families, at the Dignity USA Convention celebrating 40 years in 2009, that together we all would have come so far??!!

We commend Pope Francis for his invitation to dialogue with Hans Kung and look to the time when his standing as a Catholic theologian is officially and fully restored.  The Pope’s invitation is a hopeful sign that the most pastoral aspects of the newly released apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, will be enacted thus moving the Church from its long pattern of rigidly imposing rules, censuring and silencing those who have challenged the inadequacies in certain Church teachings to a new focus on discernment, primacy of conscience and integration of those who have been tragically excluded.

Amoris Laetitia has been released. It is the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. It is a large treatise and a discouraging one to a PFLAG Mom. We are composed of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. This group has been expanded to include bi-sexuals and transgendered. Our members come from a broad spectrum of religious beliefs. I am Roman Catholic and as such was particularly interested in the results of the synods on the family.

April 8, 2016, Boston, MA. Pope Francis’ long-anticipated response to two sessions of a world-wide Synod on the Family, an Apostolic Exhortation entitled “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love), is a tremendous disappointment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics and their families, says DignityUSA, a leading organization of Catholics committed to LGBT equality.

By Alice Knowles, Vice President  According to Luke’s gospel (Luke 24:1-12) Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial clothes alone; then he went home amazed at what happened.  Easter is about amazement!  It is the season of the year that as faithful we are called to the wonder of the powers of the resurrection.  It is when we realize the basis of our faith, it is when we definitely realize that God is true to his word: he will be crucified and rise on the third day.  And he did. 

In the final days of Lent, I had the great grace of a true Easter experience.  The gracious members of Dignity/New York invited me to represent DignityUSA and march with them in the city’s iconic St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  For 25 years. many of them joined an organization called the Lavender and Green Alliance to protest the exclusion of openly LGBT people.  They successfully organized a boycott of the parade by New York’s leading political figures, which lasted until LGBT people were no longer banned  The inclusion of Lavender and Green Alliance in the 225th St. Patrick’s Day Parade meant that politicians from New York and Ireland joined the thousands of marchers in the most broadly inclusive parade in a quarter century.

By Sam Reeder, DignityUSA Editor While marriage equality was granted recently through the Supreme Court, there are still many places where individuals and couples can be legally discriminated against.  In fact in 28 states it is legal for gay and bisexual individuals to be fired, evicted, denied credit, denied federal funding, or even barred from jury duty, and in 31 it is legal to do the same for transgender individuals. 

March 16, 2016. Boston, MA. DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, is expressing grave concern over the announcement that the Catholic news service “Crux,” currently sponsored by The Boston Globe, will be underwritten by the Knights of Columbus as of April 1, 2016.

This year, the Lenten season seems to be longer; it could be that Lent started at the beginning of February; or due to the erratic weather between extreme warm and cold temperatures; or the months’ presidential primary season in progress.  As we fight off distractions, we strive to use our Lenten journey of repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for the coming of Easter. 

More and more media attention has been coming to the fact that on February 18th, Archbishop Robert Carlson, the Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, issued a letter to his archdiocese urging them to stop providing and supporting Girl Scout programs in their parishes. He cites a number of reasons, including that their “inclusion of transgender and homosexual individuals is proving problematic.” In the letter the Archbishop directs people to visit the archdiocese scouting website for more information. I think it is particularly important to note that “concern” that gets the most attention on the website is the Girl Scout’s inclusive policy on transgender girls. 

In the 19th Century Mark Twain compiled the story of Joan of Arc from primary and secondary sources. He considered this to be his best work, though it is not the one for which he is best known. Now, this same work has undergone further analysis, delving into the issues of gender, identity, and sexuality. The new variant promises to be an interesting read.  (The following is the marketing blurb reprinted with permission from the publisher, Little Flower Publishing.) 

So, you have read the messages in previous months about the DignityUSA Board of Directors, and now you are ready to ‘jump in’ to the creation of a new pool of candidates willing to serve our DignityUSA movement.  You are a current, paid-up member of DignityUSA, right?  Well, perhaps you need more information about DignityUSA board responsibilities.  Then check out the home page of DignityUSA and look for a link to all the information you will need.

Greetings, Dignity friends,

By Alice Knowles, DignityUSA Vice President Lent is a prayerful and integral part of the spiritual calendar year.  It is the time of reflection and intention, as well as the purpose of our faith.  Pope Francis has pronounced a “Year of Mercy” beginning on December 8, 2015.  It is a year for showing mercy and forgiveness. 

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, I was very proud to represent DignityUSA at a unique event held for the Foreign Press Corps based at the United Nations. The US State Department sponsored the first ever information session on the intersection of LGBTI Human Rights and faith. I spoke on how Catholicism impacts the lives of LGBTI people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

By Marie Sweeney, DignityUSA Board Member

As we begin a new calendar year, DignityUSA continues to celebrate the commitment of our members and allies to ensure the financial resources needed to continue our ministry, outreach, and leadership as the go-to LGBTQ Catholic voice for justice and inclusion.

Speaking to a group of Vatican judges as Italy’s Senate prepares to vote on recognizing civil unions for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples, Pope Francis said that the recent Synods on the Family tell the world “there can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union.” The Pope added, “The family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of God’s dream and that of his Church for the salvation of humanity.” He affirmed that the Church continues to propose marriage “in its essential elements – offspring, the good of spou

Speaking to a group of Vatican judges as Italy’s Senate prepares to vote on recognizing civil unions for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples, Pope Francis said that the recent Synods on the Family tell the world “there can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union.” The Pope added, “The family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of God’s dream and that of his Church for the salvation of humanity.” He affirmed that the Church continues to propose marriage “in its essential elements – offspring, the good of spou

On January 12, 2016 Marianne Duddy-Burke joined Bishop Joseph Tolton of The Fellowship Global and MCC Director of Asian Ministries Rev. Ngeo Lin Boon to brief members of the Foreign Press Corps based at the UN on the intersection of religion and LGBTI human rights. Journalists from around the world heard brief presentations and then directed questions to the presenters. To view a recording of the briefing, click on the video below.  If you cannot see the video, please reload this page.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director DignityUSA May 2016 be a year of surprising blessings and deep joys for you! We anticipate it will be another busy and eventful year for DignityUSA. As 2015 drew to a close, we had some hints of what may lie ahead for this year.

If you received DignityUSA’s Advent appeal letter early in December, we hope you took a look at the Legacy Circle brochure that was included. The Legacy Circle is comprised of DignityUSA supporters who include our organization in their planned giving and estate planning. Naming DignityUSA as a beneficiary in your will, life insurance, or 401(K) is a great way to have a long-term impact on the success of our mission.

Dignity/Indianapolis announced its support for amending Indiana law to ex- pand civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in anticipa- tion of the upcoming 2016 state legislative session.  “Inspired by our Catholic tradition, our members accept the Gospel call to strive against social and economic inequality. As citizens, we recognize a civic responsibility to support laws that safeguard the rights of all people, including the LGBTQ community,” said Steve Follis, president of Dignity/Indianapolis.

Beginning January 9, 2016, Dignity/Houston will hold its regular Saturday liturgy at The Havens @ St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 1827 West Alabama, Houston, TX 77098. As usual, our Liturgy will begin at 5:30 pm. As Dignity/Houston President Larry Lutz states, "St. Stephen's is a warm, welcoming church,long a supporter of the many LGBTQ+ people who make up its congregation, located in the heart of the Montrose. Starting with the intrepid Rev. Helen Havens (namesake of The Havens Center), first female Rector in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and continuing with the current Rector, the Rev.

By Henry Huot, Dignity/Washington Board Member On Saturday, November 21, and again on Sunday, December 13, Dignity/Washington hosted two more presenters in its 2015-2016 Guest Speaker Series: Eve Tushnet and Leah Libresco.

By Peggy Hayes, Dignity/Boston Dignity/Boston is fortunate to be the home chapter of five of the Equally Blessed Coalition pilgrims who journeyed to the World Meeting of Families held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the papal visit. Those five pilgrims – Becky and Marianne Duddy-Burke and their two daughters, and Marcia Garber shared their anticipation and determination with members of the Boston chapter in advance of the meeting, and were held in prayer by the community for a safe and successful journey.

By Marie Sweeney, DignityUSA Board Member Each year DignityUSA has an election to the board of directors to renew our leadership and to reflect more closely our diverse and talented community. Have you ever considered yourself for this kind of involvement? More importantly, should you? Our board is a working board, but it’s not like a second job. We commit to an average of two-three hours weekly to keep the organization focused on our mission:

This Christmas, our world is fractured, fighting, and fearful. We desperately need the miracle of Heaven joining with Earth, bringing peace and a greater sense of unity. As LGBT and ally Catholics, this longing has special significance to us, and we are uniquely able to appreciate the gift of the sacred season of Christmas.

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA President As 2015 winds down and we prepare to celebrate Christmas, it is a time for us to look back at the year. These are a few of the many DignityUSA successes this past year:

By Emmanuel Romero, Co-chair of Dignity/San Francisco, DignityUSA Trans Caucus On Friday, Nov. 20, I joined members of Dignity/San Francisco in attending the Transgender Day of Remembrance event hosted at San Francisco's LGBT Center.

Below is the text of a letter sent in English and Spanish to Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez challenging his slurs against the US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, a married gay man.    December 3, 2015     His Eminence Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez Archdiocese of Santo Domingo Arzibispado, Apartado 186 Calle Isabel la Católica 55 Santo Domingo, República Dominicana   Your Eminence,

by Mary E. Hunt, co-founder of WATER at Dignity New York, November 14, 2015 John McNeill was a man of prayer. So it is fitting that we share a moment of silence in memory of the tragic losses of life in Paris.

By Alice Knowles, DignityUSA Vice-President In November, what comes to mind is Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, preparing for winter, longer dark days, bare trees, Advent. It is the time of the year that we are enveloped in gratitude. Thanksgiving is the holiday of the season. I know many people who consider Thanksgiving season the best season of the year. They prefer it because it is the season of gratitude.

by Marianne Duddy-Burke, DUSA Executive Director

By Marianne Duddy-Burke When people, usually reporters, ask me to describe a typical day at my job, I always laugh. There is no such thing! But the month of September was even more unpredictable than most. Here are just a few of the things I had the privilege of doing on behalf of all of us who are Dignity members and supporters.

By Fredrikka Maxwell, DignityUSA Trans Caucus, Nashville, TN The worldwide transgender community will gather on Friday, November 20, to remember our siblings murdered at the hands of violent anti-trans perpetrators. Twenty have been killed so far this year in the United States alone. As DignityUSA seeks to become more trans-friendly and a better trans ally, it too should join this worldwide memorial.

By Leo N. Egashira, DignityUSA Board member, Dignity/Seattle DignityUSA sent two representatives to the inaugural assembly of “Global Network of Rainbow Catholics” (GNRC), which was held in Rome, Italy, October 1-4, 2015. Jeff Stone (DignityUSA Director of Media Relations, Dignity/New York, left in photo) and Leo Egashira (right in photo) were among the approximately 75 participants representing 31 countries as diverse as Tonga, China, Malta, and Botswana.

By Chris Pett, DignityUSA Board member As DignityUSA continues to grow its mission locally, nationally, and now globally, the Board of Directors at its Fall meeting decided to re-constitute the Fundraising Committee and expand and broaden its mission now as the Development Committee.

Boston, MA. November 5, 2015. The Trans Support Caucus of DignityUSA, the nation's largest organization for LGBT Catholics, is gravely disappointed with Houston's rejection of the city's proposed Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) this past election day. Voters turned down HERO 61 percent to 39 percent, after Houston's City Council passed it in 2014.

Conservative Dominance means Contentious Issues Not Addressed

Call for Resistance to “Damaging” Directive Boston, MA, October 13, 2015. Newark, NJ Archbishop John Myers’ order banning Catholics who oppose official Church teaching from Communion is “damaging, divisive,” and “wrong” according to DignityUSA, the nation’s leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics.

Calls on Catholics “to Speak and Act” against Brutality

At the 2015 Women’s Ordination Worldwide Conference (WOW) the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) used the opportunity to celebrate its 40th Anniversary by inaugurating the "Theresa Kane Woman of Vision and Courage Awards.” As part of the registration process for the Conference participants were asked to nominatethose, “who, like Theresa Kane, prophetically live out their visions of an inclusive, equal, and just Roman Catholic Church.”

September 30, 2015. Boston, MA. DignityUSA, the leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, responded to the Vatican’s confirmation that Pope Francis had met with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis with dismay.

September 8, 2015. DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, is deeply disappointed in the Vatican’s statement that transgender people are unfit to be Godparents.

by Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director

By Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, Outgoing DignityUSA President As I have said many times before, a movement is not built in a moment. A movement is built one action at a time, one witness at a time. It all adds up to where we are now. And yes, Dignity started with the vision that LGBTQ Catholics needed a place to come to and be safe, to claim our faith and express our sexuality. We celebrated liturgy, we gathered socially and we planned how to influence bishops into accepting and blessing us. 

By Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, Outgoing DignityUSA President DignityUSA is excited about its participation in an international network of LGBT Catholics and advocates. This effort, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, will be meeting in Rome October 1-4. And we will be present!

Fall is always a busy time for DignityUSA!  Each October 1st is the beginning of the new fiscal year for Dignity with new members joining the Board of Directors. We welcome Marie Sweeney, Sam Albano, and Mary Donnelly, in addition to a new president and vice president, Lewis and Alice. The Board of Directors will meet October 2-4 in Buffalo, NY. All are welcome to see the Board in action! In addition, the Board will join in celebrating Dignity/Buffalo's anniversary.

  DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost organization of LGBT Catholics, celebrates the decision of the Board and administration of St. Mary’s Academy to add sexual orientation to their employment non-discrimination policy, and to welcome LGBT people, even if married or considering marriage, to their staff. The decision follows a community outcry after the Catholic school withdrew a job offer to Lauren Brown when she raised questions about what would happen if she decided to marry her female partner.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director

By Marie Sweeney, Dignity/Columbus, Board member elect.

On July 25, DignityUSA staff Jim Smith and Marianne Duddy-Burke, along with Christine Haider- Winnett, the Equally Blessed Coordinator, all spoke at a forum entitled “Women in the Catholic Church To- day: What Pope Francis Needs to Know.” The one-day event was held at Chicago Theological Seminary and live-streamed to hundreds across the U.S. and even had some international viewers.

Download a copy of this letter.                                                                                   June 25, 2015

DignityUSA Advocates for “Sacramental Equality” for Gays after Civil Marriage is Achieved

Boston, June 26, 2015. DignityUSA, the organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, cheered today’s Supreme Court’s sweeping decision that strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, and makes marriage equality the law of the land throughout the U.S.

Dignity/Boston held a Memorial Service for longtime member Larry Collopy on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Larry joined Dignity in March of 1977. He belonged to the newly formed chapter of Merrimack Valley in 1978 and transferred to Dignity/Boston when the chapter closed. Membership in Dignity was extremely important to Larry.

Dignity/Washington Hosted Noted Scholar/Author on Human Sexuality

By Mary and Michael Subkoviak

Transgender People in Pastoral and Spiritual Care By Laura Thor, MSW, D.Min The middle-aged clergyman seated across from me gazes at the candle between us. Then his eyes find a spot on the floor and his shoulders sag. “I no longer rage at God for making me this way. But I feel no blessing in it.” Silence. Then: “I will lose everything…well, not God maybe...” And finally, “How did God call me to this wonderful vocation, give me a loving family, and yet make me a transsexual?”

Boston, MA. May 27, 2015. The conflicting responses of two top Catholic officials to the Irish vote in favor of marriage equality illustrate the tensions surfacing among leaders in the Catholic Church, according to a leading group of LGBT Catholics.  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has called the vote “a defeat for humanity,” while Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said the Church should do  “a reality check” about the way its message was being received, especially by young people.

DignityUSA congratulates and thanks the people of Ireland, and especially our fellow Catholics, for their overwhelming vote in favor of marriage equality.        

The Nun Justice Project is glad to see that the Vatican has removed their mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).   Today's joint statement is testimony to the dogged determination of LCWR sister-leaders to persevere in dialogue with those who unjustly maligned them.  It is fitting that in the Year of Consecrated Life, Church officials have at last recognized the good works and impressive leadership of the sisters.

Dignity/Arizona Board President Reverend Mark Elliott Newman presented a gift of $750 from the St. Damien of Molokai Chapter to Jenny Diaz, founder and CEO of Mulligan’s Manor, during the Chapter’s monthly potluck gathering following Mass on Saturday, March 21, 2015. The Chapter tithes 10% of the annual stewardship collection in support of local organizations serving the LGBT community.

Dignity/San Francisco has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for four San Francisco charities that each work with the city's homeless population, including one group that works with homeless LGBT youth. Donations to the GoFundMe page will benefit:

​by Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues President, DignityUSA

by Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director In March, I had the honor of representing the U.S. at the biennial meeting of International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC). This group, comprised of Church reform groups from Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa, has been working to strengthen the international network of Catholic activists since 1996. At this convening in Vienna, Austria, I was the only non-European present, and removing barriers to participation from people from other parts of the world was discussed numerous times.

By Logan Bear, Technology Services Manager

​As part of its 2014-2015 Speaker's Series Dignity/Washington was happy to welcome Bishop Gene Robinson on March 22.

Dignity/Boston members are gearing up for the Convention in Seattle this July. Sunday, March 15, after liturgy, members enjoyed a supper of pizza and dessert, while some shared memories of past conventions. Previous attendees discussed touring sites before and after conventions, workshops attended, and, as one member put it, seeing extended family members we didn't know we had.

by Marianne Duddy-Burke We are now well into our observance of the season of Lent. In recent weeks, I have given a great deal of thought to what this season means for us, at this point in our Church’s history, and as we anticipate the Supreme Court’s final ruling on nationwide marriage equality for same-sex couples.

General Registration for DignityUSA’s 22nd Biennial Convention is now open!  Have you registered yet?  Register early to get the best rates. Visit http://conv2015.dignityusa.org/ for information about the program, exciting speakers, the hotel, commemorative logo items, and more.  Read about the activities that will be offered before and after the convention.  Be sure to reserve your spot at the Convention 2015 All in One Registration Form.

DignityUSA is seeking an individual to serve as editor for Dignity’s two publications: Dateline and Quarterly Voice. As editor, you will work closely with the Publications Committee Chair Leo Egashira, our proofreaders, and Marianne Duddy-Burke to develop, format, and finalize the Dateline each month.

Dignity/Washington Young Adults Host Mardi Gras Celebration Dignity/Washington's young adult group hosted the third annual community celebration of Shrove Tuesday, February 17. D/Washington members and friends of all ages were welcomed to the Dignity Center to enjoy pancakes, drinks, beads, and a 50-50 raffle to send some young adults to the DignityUSA Convention in Seattle this summer. Making pancakes Shrove Tuesday day is an old English tradition in order to use up all fatty ingredients before fasting for Lent.

By Jim & Evelyn Whitehead Editor’s note: Part I was published in the 3rd Quarter 2014  DignityUSA’s first trans-themed issue was published in the 2nd Quarter 2009 .

By Mateo Williamson Approximately half of the youth who come through our shelter doors are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Where I work, this is our daily reality—a ceaseless, increasing epidemic of LGBT youth homelessness, with no apparent end in sight.

By “Sister Monica” When I was 55 years old and had been a Catholic sister for 37 years, I met a transgender woman, a new experience for me.  I immediately felt drawn to her and wanted to understand her life better.  Later as we sat in my living room, I felt privileged to be entrusted with her sacred and harrowing story of transition.

by Hillary Howes In the Catholic Church, as a transsexual woman, I don’t officially exist. Officially, the Catholic Church does not have a public policy on the range of gender expression, but considering their policy on gay men, lesbian women, divorced women, women priests, and women who abort, I should count myself as lucky.

In the newly released book Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, Pope Francis is quoted as saying that the concept of gender as a spectrum can be compared to the destructiveness of nuclear weapons.

In their latest issue, Boston Spirit, an LGBT magazine in Massachusetts published a list of the top 25 LGBT Power Players of New England. Publisher David Zimmerman and editor James Lopata presented the list with the question: "Are there true 'leaders' of the community these days? Have we come so far that we no longer need the bold, outspoken, aggressive leaders of the past?” Mr. Lopata goes on to say "Power does not reside in people or things, rather, it flows through them, like water in riverbeds - pooling in places, surging in others." Don't we know that! 

I am writing this in the wake of Pope Francis’ eventful visit to the Philippines. The Pope’s warning against “ideological colonization” and his apparent characterization of same-sex marriage as a threat to the family were shocks to many of our members. DignityUSA issued a strongly worded response, and several of you took the time to share your own reaction. The sense of being let down by the comments was prevalent. One reader said he’d had a statue of the Pope out as a sign of hope, but put it in the back of a closet

Strongly Differ with his Suggestion that Support for Gay Marriage is “Ideological” Boston, MA, January 16, 2015 “DignityUSA is disturbed and disappointed by Pope Francis’ remarks in the Philippines referring to support for same-sex marriage as ‘ideological colonization…that is trying to destroy the family,’” said the organization’s Executive Director, Marianne Duddy-Burke.  “Especially in light of the more welcoming and sensitive tone on LGBT issues that the Pope has taken over the past two years, it is disconcerting to hear a phrase that is a hallmark of extreme right-wing religious leaders and politicians coming from the leader of the Catholic Church.  We hope that these recent remarks do not represent a resurgence of anti-marriage equality activity from the Vatican and the world’s Catholic bishops, just a short time after the Pope seemed to discourage such activity in the United States and elsewhere.

by Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director As we hang fresh calendars and anticipate the 12 months of a new year, there is always a sense of wonder and questions about what lies ahead. We already know some of the major events that will make 2015 a very exciting and full year for DignityUSA. In just a few weeks, we will begin our next election cycle. Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues and Lewis Speaks-Tanner will be finalizing their remarkable four years as President and Vice-President, respectively, so before the end of the year, we will have new Executives. We will also elect three Directors-at-Large in a process that ensures accountability to our members and supporters. Every time we go through this process, I am struck by how seamlessly we implement elections and mutual accountability in our communities, locally and nationally, and I wonder why the larger Church cannot offer similar mechanisms for shared authority.

by Lauren Carpenter I admit that when someone first asked if I would consider running for the Board of DignityUSA, I was hesitant. The thought of being on the Board of Directors for a national non-profit was a little intimidating- what could I bring to a board that already had members with many more years of professional experience, as well as knowledge of the history of DignityUSA? But after talking and thinking more about it, I realized that what I can bring is my unique experience as a young adult, as well as my commitment and love for DignityUSA, which has been a very important part of my life for the past five years. I’ve made close friends, had satisfying experiences of advocating for LGBT people in the Church, and learned a lot about myself and the powerful life experiences of others. These experiences drove me to set aside my hesitation and take my participation in DignityUSA to the next level.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has some excellent resources on their website. Below is a sample of what you will find: Transgender People Injustice at Every Turn: National Transgender Discrimination Survey (February 2011) Transgender and gender non-comforming people face shocking levels of discrimination in employment, education, health care, and other areas. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date.

Demand immediate removal of sanctions against LCWR leadership Below is the statement from the Nun Justice Project: of which DignityUSA is a founding member, on the release of the Vatican report into the Visitation of US Women Religious congregations.

December 9, 2014. Boston, MA. Responding to today’s release of a document that will set the agenda for the second phase of the Vatican’s Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome October 4-25, 2015, leaders of DignityUSA said it was “inadequate and alienating” in its approach to the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics and their families.

by Lewis Speaks-Tanner, Vice President, DignityUSA Each year, December seems to go quicker than it did the year before. There are so many things to get done. The season is about preparing, from making gift lists to decorating the house, to making donations to favorite charities. It is important to take time out of the busy season to recharge spiritual batteries. This Advent, I will be reading Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Ann Lamott after hearing wonderful reviews about her previous and current books.

DignityUSA has been involved in a number of recent efforts to alert Congress to significant problems with efforts by US Catholic bishops to expand the number of people covered by “religious exemptions.” These exemptions exclude certain faith-affiliated institutions from laws providing protection from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and health care coverage.

By Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, DignityUSA President  Yes, you. We know that you have skills that DignityUSA can put to good use. Thus, we are calling on anyone who feels called to serve as a member of the DignityUSA Board. Nominations are open for four Directors and our President/Vice President. These individuals will be elected by July 2015 and serve for a period of 2 years starting on October 1, 2015. What qualifications do you need, you might wonder. A few come to mind:

by Jim Smith, DignityUSA Associate Director I hear a lot of hope these days from Dignity members across the country. Most of it is rooted in perceptions of Pope Francis. My fear is that those hopes will not be realized, and deep discouragement, cynicism, and separation from all things Catholic will take hold.

November 17, 2014.  “The bishops’ demands that the government allow them to discriminate against people who hold different religious beliefs about marriage, family life and health care are in stark contrast with Catholic values, and with what most Catholics in the US believe,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA at a briefing on Capitol Hill convened by a coalition of progressive Catholic organizations.

by Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA The first phase of the Synod on the Family process is now complete, and it has been the subject of enormous world-wide attention and analysis. It has been just days since the end of this gathering, and while there is much dust still to settle, here are some of my initial reflections.

by Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, President of DignityUSA Gratitude is perhaps the humblest and most fitting prayer we can offer the Divine. It places us in that open and vulnerable space where we can, with open hands and hearts, recognize that we are not entitled, deserving, wanting of something, or expecting our needs to be met. If we can just give thanks, for what is and for what will be, we come face to face with a merciful, generous, and loving God who recognizes us as created, chosen, and redeemed.

by Jim Smith, Associate Director of DignityUSA A BIG thanks to all who responded to our invitation to post your family photo with testimony for our “Fabulous Families of Dignity” series! Every day during the bishops’ October Synod on the Family, we featured on Facebook at least one family photo with answer to the question “How is God present in my family?”

Originally published in Star Adviser Five members of Dignity/Honolulu, a group of approximately 20 LGBT Catholics, attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Catholic downtown as part of the group's annual Solidarity Sunday observance. Their intent was to send the message "We're part of the Church" in spite of Catholic doctrine that opposes homosexual acts and same-sex marriage,” said Dignity/Honolulu President Gene Corpuz.

On National Coming Out Day, Saturday, October 11, a crowd gathered on Chicago’s Halsted Street for a ceremony to unveil 7 new plaques in the Legacy Walk, one of which was dedicated to Fr. Mychal Judge. Legacy Walk is the country’s first outdoor LGBT museum and exists to recognize LGBT individuals and organizations that have been important in our history, particularly those whose lives have sometimes been airbrushed of their sexuality.

Dignity/Boston’s cycling and crew team, the Cardinal Sins, again put its heart, soul, time, and money into raising funds for four HIV/AIDS organizations in the Harbor to the Bay ride, Saturday, September 20, 2014.

At its meeting in Seattle October 4-6, the DignityUSA Board of Directors regretfully accepted the resignation of Jack Frielingsdorf, who stepped down due to health concerns. The Board thanked Jack for three years of service on the body, and noted his long commitment to leadership of the Metro NJ Chapter and the DignityUSA Fundraising Committee. Jack agreed to continue to lead the Fundraising Committee through the 2015 Convention.

The Synod's final report was a step back from the midterm. Here are responses from Dignity leaders from around the country. BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29678751 Reuters: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/18/uk-pope-synod-gays-idUKKCN0I70NU20141018

October 18, 2014. DignityUSA is deeply disappointed in the final report out of the Synod on the family. “The respectful language of the midterm report is gone,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s Executive Director. “A return to what we’ve heard for decades will dishearten LGBT people, same-sex couples, and our families.

Here is a sampling of the media work done by Dignity spokespeople across the country between Oct. 13-15, 2014. Marianne Duddy-Burke in piece from Religion News Service Rome Bureau (ran internationally as well as in major US news outlets including Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, etc.) http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/10/vatican-debate-gays-provokes-strong-reaction-corners/

Acknowledges “Gifts and Qualities” of Gay People Boston, MA. October 13, 2014. DignityUSA, the organization of LGBT Catholics and allies says that the midterm report from the Vatican’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family offers “unexpected positive signs” for LGBT people and families.

As this issue of DignityUSA Dateline goes to press, in two cities more than 5,000 miles from each other, flights will be landing, hotels will be checked into, local hosts will undergo a final flurry of preparations as Church leaders gather to pray, deliberate, and work for the future of our Church. In Rome, Italy, this gathering will be the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, a gathering of the bishops who head most of the worlds’ national bishops’ conferences, papal advisors, and a few carefully-vetted laypeople who will work to create the agenda and foundational documents for a follow-on, larger Synod that will occur, again in Rome, a year later. This too, will be a gathering of bishops (although many more), papal advisors, and carefully-vetted laypeople.

by Jim Smith, Associate Director, DignityUSA It only takes a split second for me to recall the terror I felt nearly every day of my teenage years. What terror? Quick, guess. Yep, the terror of being known by my peers as a “fag.” Are those days of terror over for kids in 2014? Don’t bet on it. There’s still a good bit of self-shame to go around, encouraged by any number of folks, including one’s peers, fellow Catholics, Catholic leaders, and the content of some of the Church’s teachings.

​by Kathy Healy Deenie Dudley, one of the Foremothers of Dignity, died suddenly on August 16, 2014 following an emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm. Deenie was 67. A few dear friends were with her as she passed peacefully. She died as she had lived, on her own terms, making her own decisions to the end.

                The Body of Christ in your parish has suffered a great wound. The removal of Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick from their parish ministry roles because they got married has torn your community, and put you on the front lines of the struggles for justice in our Church.

By James and Evelyn Whitehead Time Magazine provided the official announcement: the cover story, with a picture of Laverne Cox, transgender member of the Orange is the New Black series, declared: “The Nation’s Transition.” (June 9, 2014) In the previous months citizens of many vocations—scientists and novelists, priests and professors—were coming out as trans- gender members of society. Old prejudices were dissolving; laws of non-discrimination were multiplying.

1%: Approximately one-percent of persons experience themselves as gender-diverse, that is, as not conforming to traditional categories of exclusively masculine or feminine. This may be so small a percent as to be irrelevant: “what has this to do with me?” But if I myself or my child or my spouse or a sibling is included in this percentage, this is no small matter. Because of widespread cultural sensitivity concerning gender, these persons are often seen as marginal—misfits or outcasts.

We go to the Christian Scriptures for guidance in our moral lives. What are the norms we should follow? In search of the normal, we instead find the Bible telling endless stories about paradox, reversals of fortune, and transformation. Yet, convinced that diversity represents defect or signals deviance, we cling to the belief that the normal will keep us on the straight and narrow. The church conspires in this longing, interpreting biblical passages (“male and female God created them”) to insist on a normal that admits no variance.

It is you who formed my inmost parts. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) Catholics of an earlier generation were taught that as infants we begin life already marked by original sin. This wound, we learned, stains the soul and is registered in the body, particularly in the lustful urges that may lead to sins of the flesh. We begin life as damaged goods.

Transgender lives remain invisible to most Americans. Throughout history, different social groupings have been assigned to the boundaries of society where they remain largely out of sight. In the novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison uses this metaphor to capture the cultural status of African-Americans in mid-century America. Gays and lesbians remained for many decades in concealment, in darkened closets or segregated colonies, until the events at Stonewall in 1969 propelled them into full view. Erin Swenson, a transgender Presbyterian minister, remarks that “the transgendered in our congregations are invisible and will remain invisible until it is clear that they are accepted.” Recent dramatic changes in American society have begun to usher the transgender community into the healing light.

Evelyn Eaton Whitehead is a developmental psychologist (Ph.D., University of Chicago) whose work focuses on spiritual development in adult life. James D. Whitehead is a theologian (Ph.D., Harvard University) who studies the interplay of religion and culture. In their shared career spanning forty-five years and fifteen books, the Whiteheads continue to explore the vital themes emerging in contemporary Christian spirituality.

By Leo N. Egashira, DignityUSA Publications Committee Chair DignityUSA thanks the Whiteheads for writing these thought-provoking, hopeful essays on Transgender Spirituality, a topic that challenges the boundaries of traditional Catholic thinking and one that speaks to the very core of DignityUSA’s mission. Special thanks are due to DignityUSA Secretary, Mary Kaye Radtke, for her professional photos. Three of the essays are compiled herein; three more will be featured in the next issue of QV.

Boston, MA. September 10, 2014. DignityUSA, the nation’s leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics and allies, is outraged that Msgr. Tony Anatrella has been appointed as one of the “Collaborators of the Special Secretary” at the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, a worldwide meeting of Catholic Church officials that will set the agenda for the full Synod on the Family that will take place in 2015.

In the northeast, fall brings on colder weather. In other areas of the country, the weather may be kinder. It is time to get back to work, to focus on what we said can wait until fall. If someone asked us in June whether we could help out on a project, many of us may have said, "Could you get back to us in the fall?" Now is the time. DignityUSA depends on all its volunteers, from its Board of Directors, committee members, and other volunteers who commit themselves to one project, which can consist of a small project or phone call, because they are an expert in their field. 

By Daniel Holnes, Dignity/New York Growing up, reading the book of Psalms was always a special treat for me. It was the only book in the Bible that made me blush. So many of the poems contemplate their speaker’s struggles with faith as manifested in carnal desire and action. I would read it and hide my face so no one could see it turning red, ashamed, in a way, of what it revealed in me: the same doubts, questions, and desires King David had in his heart.

​By Sam Albano, DUSA Young Adult Caucus Secretary In recent weeks, two stories from the gospels have captivated me. In the “Feeding of the Multitude,” Jesus’ disciples were confronted with hungry crowds, but had only two fish and five loaves of bread to offer them. ...  At the Last Supper, Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples’ feet and instructed them that they were now to do likewise. ... Reflecting on our recent young adult retreat, these two stories offer some insight into the meaning of this wonderful weekend.

Now that we’ve got your attention, a bit of context. This was the word used by a former Dignity member in the comment section of a DignityUSA Facebook post featuring statistics with regard to  same-sex adoptive parents. The “BS” responder was very upset with the direction he sees Dignity moving. Why all this attention to issues of equality and justice? Why not return to the good old days of our “gay community”?

By Lourdes Rodriguez- Nogues, President, DignityUSA During the weekend of July18 -20, the Board had its second face-to-face meeting of the year, this time in Madison, Wisconsin. The folks from the Integrity/Dignity Madison community were very gracious hosts and we enjoyed joining them at their liturgy on Saturday night, followed by a gourmet pizza party. Thank you, Madison, for sharing your gifts with us, and for your warm, welcoming spirit. Thank you also, for your loyal support of DignityUSA and your generous contribution of talent and treasure through the years.

Call To Action’s national conference is an annual homecoming. Catholics from around the country and abroad, women and men, married and single, divorced and remarried, ordained and lay, who span the entire spectrum of skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, and expressions of Catholicism, gather for a weekend of inspiration and transformation. Attendees often refer to the conference weekend as the weekend of the year.

Whether you're looking for something unique for yourself, searching for a gift for a special someone, or looking to add a little adventure to your life, you're sure to find something in our auction. Every bid helps support DignityUSA.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director DignityUSA Elections Committee Chairperson Christopher Cappiello of Dignity/San Fernando Valley reported that the following individuals were elected to two-year terms beginning October 1, 2014:

A Guest Opinion Piece by Brian Cahill                                                               Ignoring the pleas of major political and religious leaders to cancel his attendance, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was the featured speaker at the recent March For Marriage on June 19th in Washington D.C.  Cordileone made his same, flawed and failed argument against civil gay marriage. His impact and that of his fellow speakers was minimal because only two thousand people showed up for the gathering.

by Marianne Duddy-Burke On June 24, 2014, the White House sponsored its first Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights, and I was honored to represent DignityUSA in that gathering. The Forum brought together approximately 275 LGBT leaders from the fields of human rights, business, faith, and law, Obama administration officials, U.S. diplomatic staff, ambassadors from several mostly northern European countries, and some noted LGBT activists from Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, and China. The goal was to hear updates on the Administration’s LGBT rights priorities, and to provide concrete suggestions on how to further address this issue, which has been made central in U.S. diplomacy and foreign investment. 

Auction time is here again. Past auctions have proved to be exciting for everyone involved, and profitable for DignityUSA. We are always in need of things to sell. If you have something you would like to donate, contact Jack.Frielingsdorf at [email protected]. The online auction will begin Saturday, August 2, at 1:00 p.m. EDT. You won't believe all the interesting items we have up for auction, including many items donated from the estate of Jimmy Bussen. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS.

DignityUSA's 22nd Biennial Convention to be held in Seattle on July 2-5, 2015 is just one year away. The theme of the Convention is "God's Love: Enduring as the Mountains, Endless as the Sea." When we gathered last year in Minneapolis, our theme was "Let Justice Roll Like a River," and we looked at our call to social justice. In Seattle we will look at how God's Love sustains us and grounds us in our advocacy work.

Holy, Wholly, Holy! was the theme of the third DignityUSA-sponsored women’s retreat. DignityUSA partnered with the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) to gather women at the Conference and Retreat Center at Bon Secours in Marriottsville, Maryland. Thirty-one women gathered at the event on Friday, June 13. Eucharist, song, prayer, dance, reflection and community were all part of a three-day weekend. Honour Maddock (Long Island, New York), was the mistress of ceremonies at this idyllic setting.

Dignity/Boston celebrated its annual Pride liturgy on June 15, 2014, co-presided this year by Jane Powers and Gene Clegg. For many years, Dignity/ Boston has marked this "high holy day" with liturgy led by a co-presiding team made up of a lay member and an ordained member of the chapter.

Members of Dignity/Dayton’s Living Beatitudes Community are pleased to announce that one of our members, Kathy Bean, was ordained to the Deaconate in the Roman Catholic WomenPriests movement on Friday, May 16, at All Saints Episcopal Church by Bishop Joan Clark Houk. 

This year’s Annual Capital Pride Parade was held on Saturday, June 7, before a crowd estimated by the organizers at between 150,000 and 200,000. The fifty members of the Dignity/Washington contingent were enthusiastically cheered and applauded as they made their way down the parade route.

In September 2015, Philadelphia will host the World Meeting of Families, gathering Catholic families from across the globe to explore the theme “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” As we did for World Youth Day, DignityUSA and our Equally Blessed colleagues hope to sponsor a group of pilgrims to witness to the presence of LGBT families in our Church.

25th Anniversary Celebration of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC) National Gathering July 23 – 27, 2014 This is a call to Old Lesbians in their 60th year or more to join hundreds of our peers at OLOC’s Biennial National Gathering at the Oakland, California Marriott Hotel and Convention Center -- five days of workshops panels, caucuses, entertainment and socializing with some events welcoming women of all ages! A diverse lineup of award-winning presenters and performers have been confirmed which include:

IT SHOWS NO OPENNESS TO CHANGE IN HURTFUL TEACHINGS   June 26, 2014. Boston, MA. Leaders of DignityUSA, the leading organization of LGBT Catholics and their allies and family members, called the “Instrumentum Laboris” released by the Vatican in advance of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family “extremely disappointing.” They said the document demonstrates a failure to understand the extent of the problems with official Church teaching on issues of sexuality and family life, and misinterprets the substantial input given by Catholics around the world.

Blessed Pride month! As we head into June and nationwide celebrations of the beauty, strength, and diversity of the LGBT community, I am grateful for the vibrancy that all of you bring to the Dignity community.

Patricia Russell resigned from the DignityUSA Board in May 2014 for personal reasons, after more than three years of exceptional service. As a Board member, Patricia served on numerous committees, and was a leader in developing a series of annual retreats for women. She mentored many of our young adult leaders, and helped forge relationships between current and future Dignity leaders. DignityUSA is stronger for her service. We wish her the best, and know her service to Dignity will continue in other venues.

While the battle for Marriage Equality is being fought (and won) in several states and still has a ways to go before becoming legal throughout the U.S., progressive activists are declaring that Transgender rights is fast becoming the next big civil rights battleground in the country.  The June 9, 2014 issue of Time Magazine’s cover story is titled “The Transgender Tipping Point.”  At Dignity/Detroit’s recent anniversary celebration, Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinson averred  that Transgender spirituality is fast becoming the major issue of discussion among religious circles.

A Community Discussion on Women Presiders for Dignity/Washington  Dignity/Washington 2014 Capital Pride Mass 

Dignity/Chicago, the inclusive faith and advocacy organization for LGBT Catholics and our allies, celebrated an anniversary Mass on Sunday, May 18 to honor its 42 years of ministry.Dignity/Chicago alsoan annual award in memory of James Bussen, former DignityUSA President and Chicago LGBT rights advocate who passed away last June.

Staff members of DignityUSA (Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke, Associate Director Jim Smith, Operations Manager Peggy Burns, and Technology Services Manager Logan Bear) participated in a two day retreat on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 3-4, 2014, in Knoxville, Tennessee, facilitated by Monique Meadows. The staff has a conference call every other week via webinar, but this is the first time we have met face-to-face since we’ve all gone to full-time DignityUSA service.

Each year, Capital Pride awards members of the community who have furthered the causes important to DC’s LGBT community and have brought about positive changes to our lives and our community. On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, Tom Yates was honored for his longstanding contributions to the community as a Capital Pride 2014 Hero.

​In September 2015, Philadelphia will host the World Meeting of Families, gathering Catholic families from across the globe to explore the theme “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” As we did for World Youth Day, DignityUSA and our Equally Blessed colleagues hope to sponsor a group of pilgrims to witness to the presence of LGBT families in our Church. Do you feel called to be part of this pilgrimage?

On May 10, 2014, Dignity/New York hosted a Memorial Mass and Celebration of the Life of Tom Cunningham. Featuring exceptional and moving performances by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, family and friends from many parts of Tom’s life gathered to remember this extraordinary man. Asked to speak on behalf of DignityUSA, Marianne Duddy-Burke offered the following reflection. 

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA Vice President  Spring is finally here! It has been a long winter with colder temperatures and more snow than we usually have in a winter. Dignity members throughout the northern states have experienced that same long winter. Dignity members in southern and western climates escaped winter, but not all: those in Texas did get colder weather than they are used to. During this time, DignityUSA has been very busy.

To the readership of DignityUSA Publications: Due to competing budgetary needs, as well as the difficulty in soliciting thematically-based submissions, the Board of DignityUSA has authorized a temporary cutback in the frequency of publication of the Quarterly Voice (QV). The most recent QV published was the large Convention issue, which came out in the fall of 2013. We are currently working on putting out the next issue, which will be a compilation of interesting, but unrelated, articles.

The Transcending Boundaries Conference (TBC) is a convention in the northeast United States for the bisexual community: genderqueer; transgender; intersex and polyamorous people; their family, friends, and straight allies. This year’s Conference was held in Connecticut during the weekend of April 4-6. DignityUSA was a Conference sponsor and I attended and staffed an information table.

by Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, President, DignityUSA We are now in the midst of our Lenten season, and as believers we use this time as a preparation to celebrate the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus. In whatever way we have chosen to prepare our minds, bodies, and souls for the joy of Easter, we know that as a people rooted in the promise of Redemption, our work does not end at the Easter Sunday celebration. . Our faith calls us to faith in action, and to the work of building the kingdom of God. That is the exciting reality of the work of Dignity at the local and national levels.

Give OUT Day! We are excited to announce our participation in an online fundraising campaign that is active for a 24-hour period on May 15, 2014. You may be very familiar with Dignity’s annual PRIDE fundraiser. This year we are offering Give OUT Day as an option to the traditional Pride campaign. What is Give OUT Day?

On February 15, 2014, on a sunny and brisk Valentine's Day weekend, Deb Myers and Nickie Valdez celebrated their 25th Anniversary of Holy Union with a liturgy at Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas. Officiating for Deb and Nickie was Daniel Helminiak, a long-time friend and Dignity supporter.

The simple pleasure of a meal at the end of the day on Friday, usually coming at the end of a long week for most of us, was, for a long time, not something that the most vulnerable members of the Boston area community could count on.  But in 1984, members of two faith communities, Dignity/Boston and the Arlington Street Church, decided to change that by founding the Friday Night Supper Program, to fill a gap in the schedule of area meals for people in need.

By Emmanuel Romero, Dignity/San Francisco Board Member Dignity San Francisco kicked off the Lenten season by hosting a community screening of Alfredo's Fire on Sunday, March 9. This short documentary tells the story of Alfredo Ormando, a gay Italian writer who traveled from Palermo to St. Peter's Square, where he set himself on fire on January 13, 1998. The demonstration was an act of protest against the Roman Catholic Church's historic persecution against LGBT people.

Mardi Gras Celebration at the Dignity/Washington Center Draws an Intrepid and Festive Crowd Another Evening Reflection Held On The Centrality of The Eucharist and A Key Decision To Be Made After The Celluloid Closet Film Presentation on March 22

By Victor Postemski, DignityUSA Board member  For many years I have served in various capacities within my local chapter, Dignity/Boston. There, I served as a member of the Board of Directors, a term as chapter vice president and two terms as chapter president. I loved the joys and challenges of supporting my local community. It wasn’t until I attended the 2009 DignityUSA Convention in San Francisco that I felt called to join the Board. I loved the Convention speakers, panels, sessions, and strong sense of community that I could feel permeating everything that weekend. It was my first Dignity convention and I was hooked!

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Associate Director “A man can kill with a knife of steel, with a gun, a bomb or a lance. But there's a new law, there’s a new law - a man can kill with a glance.” Some of you may remember this tune, sung in Catholic churches in the 70’s. Twist that last phrase just a bit and you describe a new law in 2014: “a man can be killed because of a glance.” Surfacing now in some countries are laws and bills that criminalize LGBT persons for associating with other LGBT persons or with LGBT-supportive organizations. People right now are being rounded up, taunted, even imprisoned, for any public displays of association, affection, or support.

By Patrick Gordon, Dignity/Twin Cities  Creating Change is perhaps the largest regular gathering of LGBT people in the entire nation. Each year, thousands of people come from all over the country to engage in several days of celebration, education, activism, and love. To paint you a picture of this year’s event: approximately 4000 LGBT professionals from organizations of all kinds come together to hear 4 plenary speakers and attended 390 workshops, training sessions, meetings, and events over 5 days. Attendance at this year’s event was the highest in the organization’s history.

By Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, Dignity/Houston President  So many themes emerged from the Creating Change conference hosted in Houston this year, and powerful words like “intersectional justice,” “vulnerability,” and “preferred pronouns” became the common tongue for over 4,000 attendees. The theme of our Dignity-sponsored workshop was about having “compassionate, courageous, and respectful conversations” with others, especially those among our fellow Catholics who are ambivalent about marriage equality for a variety of reasons. Joining me were Patrick Gordon, a young adult from Dignity/Twin Cities, and Jim Smith, Dignity/Twin Cities and Associate Director of DignityUSA.

The National Convention in Seattle will be July 2-5, 2015, just 16 months away. We are getting geared up and ready for you to join us. We are looking for people to help out on our committees. You do not need to be in the Great Northwest to work on the Convention: it is a national endeavor and we need people from all over the country. If you have special skills and interest in any of the aspects it takes to put on a convention- WE NEED YOU! We are looking for people to work on committees for advertising, programming, finance, registration, and many other areas. If interested, please contact [email protected].

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Associate Director  On a visit to Dignity/Houston, I had the pleasure to see their President, Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, in action. What is somewhat unique about this chapter President is that Tierra is not Catholic. Her deep interest in the work of justice and her sense that humans are made for community, among other reasons, are what drew Tierra to the Catholic community. Tierra is also straight, and a strong ally to LGBT persons and families. Dignity’s mission to call the Church and society to fully embrace the dignity and equality of LGBT persons and families attracted her to Dignity/Houston (and before that, Dignity/Honolulu). Tierra works as an organizer at Houston’s LGBT community hub, the Montrose Center.

~~Boston, MA. March 5, 2014. In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, published March 5, Pope Francis made groundbreaking statements that suggest the possibility of support from the Vatican for civil unions between same-sex couples. In general, the Vatican and Catholic bishops around the world have previously attacked the notion of civil unions, along with same-sex marriage.

In November 2013 fifteen U.S. Catholic organizations responded to the Vatican’s call for bishops globally to survey Catholics on family issues.  While bishops’ conferences throughout Europe and Asia made their surveys public, the U.S. bishops put forth no unified effort to survey the laity.  The online questionnaire was completed by more that 16,000 Catholics in English and Spanish, and inspired a similar survey used in Ireland.

by Jim Smith I was asked by Marianne Duddy-Burke to invite long-time Dignity member Joe Gentilini to be a guest on a Queer Catholic Faith webshow. I obliged, having no knowledge of this guy or his selection of his journal entries he organized into a book. In advance of the QCF webshow, I bought the book, and when it arrived, I cracked it open to read because this is what an interviewer does when an author is guest. Call it due diligence.

​by José Luis Sánchez The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same Sex Love is one of the two best books I’ve ever read!!!  Author Gilles Herrada commands an encyclopedic breadth of academic knowledge spanning the natural and social sciences, social history, and Western thought, that significantly expanded my understanding and worldview. But far more valuable than the wealth of multidisciplinary factual knowledge itself, is Gilles Herrada’s integrated analysis and vision.

On January 12, 2014 Dignity/Washington held its third Community event on what D/W means to its members. We are truly grateful to have an intentional, intimate community where we can integrate and celebrate our identities as both LGBT and Catholic. A panel of members was moderated by Denis Pringle, with assistance from Allen Rose. It was organized and sponsored by a D/W Board-appointed task force that is leading a year-long and community-wide discernment process on women presiders at its Sunday Masses. More community events will be held in the coming months, including a community retreat on April 4-6, led by Jamie L. Manson, frequent contributor to the National Catholic Reporter and its books editor, retreat leader, and also a Board member of the Women’s Ordination Conference.

By Tom Yates The Defenders LLC/Washington DC celebrated their 22nd anniversary Mass with Dignity/Washington on January 19, 2014. In celebration, the Defenders thanked the Dignity/Washington community for their continuing support in fundraising, service, and community building. The Defenders gave out donations of $500 each to Dignity/Washington, Brother Help Thyself, and Damien Ministries.

As each month goes by, I am more aware of the tremendous variability in the experience of LGBT Catholics and family members across our nation, as well as around the globe. The number of places where same-sex couples’ marriages are now legally recognized continues to grow. President Obama made a point of naming openly gay and lesbian athletes to the official US delegation to the Olympics. High school students in Washington have received international attention for their sustained activism in support of their vice-principal, fired after marrying his male partner. Increasingly, LGBT people who choose to be part of parishes report finding acceptance and welcome among both community members and parish staff. At the same time, recent reports continue to document disturbing rates of suicide, victimization, and homelessness among transgender people and LGBT youth.

By now, you're probably aware of the active national coalition called Equally Blessed, comprised of DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry, Call To Action, and Fortunate Families. Thanks in part to the productive status of this national coalition, local chapters and members of the coalition are mobilizing together for action! 

On Saturday, January 25th, Dignity/Washington hosted a presentation/workshop by Mr. Matt Haygood called GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE. His two-hour talk was based on a six-week seminar he teaches by the same name, the essence of which lies in regarding and treating happiness as a process we can own and develop on a daily basis.

Dignity/San Antonio celebrated the holidays with two events that have become part of the long-standing tradition of our community. In November, we held our annual Fall Ball at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown San Antonio. The event is not a fund raiser for us, but merely a chance to dress up and enjoy an evening of dinner and dance among our friends.

Seattle in ’15, Seattle in ‘15 We'll be there and have a good time Oh yes, it's Seattle in ’15, Seattle in '15 We'll be there and have a good time Seattle was born out of desperate types, Passing through town to Alaska's Klondike Some struck it rich and we begged them to stay But they took all their money and moved to LA

Thomas Cunningham passed away on February 12, 2014 after battling a rare form of cancer for several months. Tom was a member of Dignity/New York Chapter for more than three decades, served as DignityUSA Treasurer from 1985-1989, and also served briefly as Executive Director. Tom was a member of the committees responsible for Dignity’s national conventions in 1985 in New York and 1993 in New Orleans.

Congratulations to Bob Butts, Dick Young, Peggy Hanna and members of our Dayton Chapter for leading a wonderful witness outside a speech by Bishop Paprocki (he of same-sex marriage exorcism fame) at a Catholic Seminary in Cincinnati last night. The group braved 10 degree temperatures to make Catholic support of marriage equality visible.  They were covered locally from WCPO Channel 9 and Cincinnati.com.

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA Vice President  We look forward to 2014 with all its possibilities and challenges while we make our New Year’s resolutions. We celebrated when DOMA was declared unconstitutional during Gay Pride Month 2013!   At year’s end, we have 18 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted full state-level marriage equality. According to the Marriage Equality USA website, that means only 39% of US citizens live in jurisdictions with marriage equality. Much work is being done to overturn state laws and constitutional amendments that prevent marriage equality throughout our country. 

By Abdel Sepulveda, Dignity/Boston member  On November 14, 2013, I left work and drove straight to Logan Airport for an evening flight to Portland. My final destination was the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, OR. Although I had been to many retreats before, this one felt like my first one. I didn’t know anyone that was attending, and worried that I could not afford being away for four days with all of the work I had back at the office. Despite my apprehension I got in the plane. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey that would prove to be not only life changing, but that would also cement my call to ministry to the Latino/Latina and greater American community as an openly gay Latino man.

DignityUSA is pleased to announce that Jim Smith has been promoted to the position of Associate Director, effective December 1, 2013. In this role, Jim will assume responsibilities for internal management, as well as take on more communication and fundraising duties. In addition, Jim will continue to work with the Transgender and Young Adult Caucuses and the Convention Committee, and will represent DignityUSA in some of our key coalition meetings.

Seattle in ‘15   Seattle in ‘15 We'll be there and have a good time Oh yes, it's Seattle in ’15   Seattle in '15 We'll be there and have a good time Come to Seattle and see for yourself It doesn't always rain and it's good for your health The air is so clean and the water is clear And you might get a glimpse of that mighty Rainier.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director  As our Church begins its new year with the approach of Advent, we stand at that twilight moment, reflecting on what has occurred and dreaming of what may lie before us. The year 2012 has been one of the most momentous in recent Catholic history. We saw the resignation of one Pope, and have experienced the first few months of a Papacy that seems to signal significant new directions for Church governance. Here in the U.S., we’ve seen some of the strongest embrace of LGBT justice issues ever among Catholics, and a rising number of Church workers coming forward after they were fired for who they are, or whom they love. Our Dignity family has lost some of our most beloved leaders, and seen the emerging passion of the rising generation of talent.

By John Freml, DignityUSA member Cold temperatures and rain did not stop a group of intrepid Catholic marriage equality supporters from gathering outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois, on November 20, for a peaceful vigil in opposition to diocesan bishop Thomas Paprocki's "Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-sex Marriage." The bishop held the service to coincide with Governor Pat Quinn’s signing of the Illinois marriage equality bill into law. At the height of the vigil, approximately twenty people could be heard singing a hymn of openness and affirmation as observers of the exorcism exited the cathedral.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director DignityUSA and 14 other progressive Catholic organizations have joined forces to develop a way for Catholics to speak out on important issues that will be considered during the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in October 2014. The Vatican has asked Catholics to provide input on issues such as same-sex marriage and the use of contraception. While bishops in many countries have made the survey available to their flocks, most U.S. bishops have not done so. The survey we’ve developed follows the Vatican questions, but the wording has been changed to make it more accessible in the U.S..

Russian LGBT Activists Visit Dignity/Washington AIDS Walk 2013 Dignity/Washington Young Adults Claim Their Church Citizenship Second Lecture in Dignity/Washington’s Series Congratulations Eddie! 

By M.A. Ladd and Peggy Burns, Dignity/Boston members  ​During the week of Trans Remembrance, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) presented their “Ally Advocacy Award.” This award recognizes the vital, non-professional advocacy work of our community’s cherished allies: our friends, families, spouses, and colleagues who go above and beyond in their support for transgender rights. This year’s recipient was Ken Garber.

Boston, MA, December 2, 2013. During Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Thanksgiving weekend appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, the Archbishop of New York claimed that the Catholic Church has been “caricatured” as being anti-gay, and that it has been “out-marketed” on same-sex marriage by “forces like Hollywood and politicians”. He also compared the same-sex marriage debate to Roe v. Wade, noting that the issue continues to be divisive 40 years after the Supreme Court ruling.

In just the last few weeks, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be with Dignity members literally from Florida to Washington state.  ... In Fort Lauderdale, we found a community that offers a warm welcome to “Snow Birds,” and that provides tremendous support for people who are homeless and struggling to overcome addictions. The stories they told of lives transformed through their interventions were truly powerful and inspirational. ... Dignity/Seattle takes great pride in the social justice work it has done, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for health care and hospice services through its annual Pride Breakfasts, and providing hundreds of hours of volunteer service at a local soup kitchen.

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Program Manager The Dignity community in Madison brings fresh air to a beautiful city. From their inception, they have joined with the Episcopalian LGBT group Integrity to worship, serve, and build relationships together. Taking very seriously Vatican II’s clarion call to build bridges between communities of different denomination and faith, Integrity/Dignity Madison didn’t waste time. Through these many years, they have managed to sustain this ecumenical community, and their worship and prayer reflects this wonderfully.

At a gathering outside of Chicago over the weekend of September 27-29, 2013, Women-Church Convergence celebrated its 30th anniversary with reflection, prayer, theater, and music. Marianne Duddy-Burke represented DignityUSA, which has been a member of the Convergence since soon after its founding.

​Dignity/Philadelphia was presented with one of the OutProud Community Group awards during Outfest on Sunday, October 13 in recognition of more than 40 years of service to the LGBT community. Outfest is held annually in Philadelphia to coincide with and celebrate National Coming Out Day. It is organized by Philly Pride Presents.

Dignity/Seattle celebrated its 40th Anniversary on October 19, 2013.  A dinner was held at a local restaurant on Lake Union.  Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director, attended the festivities and spoke to the gathering.  She reminded the chapter members that although the chapter is small in number (20 members), it is in no way small in the contributions made to DignityUSA, and to the LGBT community in Seattle.  Seattle hosted the 1983 National Convention and will be host for the 2015 Convention.  Marianne also remembered the many members of Dignity/Seattle who have held national

By Chris Kohn, Julius Lorenzi, and Michael Torres Dignity/San Antonio hosted its annual Solidarity Sunday Interfaith Service on October 6. Jamie Manson, a nationally recognized retreat leader, columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, and member of Dignity/New York, gave the keynote address. The event was attended by over 60 participants that represented a cross section of faith traditions.

Dignity/Washington celebrated its 41st Anniversary with pride, gratitude, and gusto with a dinner, silent auction, and community service awards presentation on September 28 at the Dignity Center. Attendees had the option of either bringing a food item to the potluck table, or paying a bit more for the price of admission. This arrangement turned out very well as there was more sumptuous food to enjoy than anyone would have thought possible.

On Saturday, October 19, Dignity/Washington hosted its first in a series of free lectures geared toward LGBT audiences. Guest lecturer, Hunter O’Hanian, Museum Director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, addressed the question: What Is Gay Art? and answered it with a fascinating visual and explanatory presentation drawn from his museum’s vast permanent collection.

DYAC is getting a jumpstart with new leadership and enthusiasm post-Convention. Following elections last month, the new co-chairs are Martin Witchger of Dignity/Washington and Larry Lozier of Dignity/New York. Our new secretary is Sam Albano of Dignity/Indianapolis. All three of us are excited to serve and lead the Young Adult Caucus for the next two years. 

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, Dignity USA Vice President  On September 20, 2013, America magazine published a lengthy interview with Pope Francis. In reading the article, there were many points that LGBT Catholics will find hopeful. It is the second time the Pope has made gay-friendly or gay-affirming comments. Yes, his tone is a sharp contrast from the rhetoric of Benedict. Unfortunately, we have not seen any change in tone from our own bishops. In fact, just this August, Minneapolis Archbishop Nienstedt claimed Satan is to blame for gay marriage and condoms. Cardinal Dolan, being interviewed extensively after the America article, reminded us at every opportunity that the hierarchy has not softened its teaching on homosexuality using the same good old phrase, “love the sinner but hate the sin.” 

By Mark Matson I am thinking of a memory from more than 15 years ago. I was attending Mass at my local Newman Center. The parish had the practice of including women in the rotation of preachers. Marie was preaching this particular day. I always found her reflections to be thoughtprovoking. This day was particularly so. She was telling a story from her childhood to make a point. I found myself trying to translate her experience as a little girl to mine as a boy. It occurred to me that this is what women in our Church have to do most of the time. And then I thought how the People of God are being denied another whole part of the spectrum of the divine on Sundays, that of the feminine.

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Program Manager  As you know, Dignity actively participates in the Equally Blessed (EB) coalition with our partners at New Ways Ministry, Call To Action, and Fortunate Families. We meet once a month in teleconference, and twice a year face to face. All of us are actively invested in EB. While many coalitions become mere window dressings for participating organizations, EB enjoys a shared, focused, and invested effort. Our recent face to face meeting was another reflection of that.

By Mike Hogan, Dignity/Chicago Dignity/Chicago chapter members who attended the recent national Convention in Minneapolis were inspired by the justice theme that permeated every aspect of the Convention experience. We asked ourselves what we could do to put that message into action. One of the chapter members volunteers at the Lakeview Food Pantry, which has been operating for many years. It offers a variety of services, in addition to distributing food to needy folks in the area. It operates six days a week with two locations, one of which includes the “Boystown” neighborhood where the chapter meets for weekly worship and community-building. This Chicago neighborhood is considered “upscale” and affluent by many, yet we witnessed first-hand the extent of the need of those who rely on this food assistance on a regular basis, people whom we may not know, but who are our neighbors.

​By Steve Stencil, Dignity/Arizona Board member  Dignity/Arizona has experienced an increase in membership during the past couple of years. With a growing faith community comes increasing pastoral needs. Early in 2012, a need arose when two new members of Dignity/ Arizona experienced serious illness, includ- ing hospitalization, and no one from Dignity/Arizona reached out to them during their time of need. Although community leadership was not aware of their need for pastoral outreach, the Board also realized there was no organizational structure in which members could request sensitive pastoral outreach during times of sickness, personal loss, incidents of possible or actual violence, or the harsher effects of aging. The two new members of Dignity/Arizona sent a pointed and heart wrenching letter to the chapter president expressing their disappointment and concern about this seeming lack of sensitivity.

Saturday, October 19, Hunter O’Hanian, Director of the Leslie/ Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art will be making a special PowerPoint presentation, WHAT IS GAY ART?, featuring samples from the Leslie Lohman Museum’s permanent collection. This presentation will take place at the Dignity Center located at 721 8th Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003, at 2:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. It is free and open to the general public. 

Dignity/Washington’s Dignity Center buzzes with activities many evenings throughout the year, but it wasn’t always that way. In the early 2000s, Stephen McDonnell, an active chapter member and presider, was the driving force behind a new activity that is now a mainstay of the center’s calendar: the book discussion group, otherwise known as the Book Club, or more correctly, the “Award Winning Book Club.” (In 2010, then-President Allen Rose selected the Book Club to receive the chapter’s President’s Award; the plaque hangs proudly in the center.) Stephen and a few other reading enthusiasts would gather from time to time after reading a book to discuss it. Although it started out informally, before long the Book Club became a regular, weekly event, listed in the printed bulletin. According to Dignity Center manager Rick Lynch, the first formally announced Book Club meeting took place on May 15, 2003.

Dignity/Philadelphia tries to maintain its usual level of activity not only within the chapter, but also within the LGBT Community. Some of our recent activities included:

I find it extraordinarily refreshing that Pope Francis has articulated and emphasized the core values of the Catholic faith: service to the poor and marginalized that acknowledges the divinity in all individuals by de-emphasizing the rigid dogma that has put Catholics on opposite ends of the religious spectrum for the past several decades. Dogma has been used by the hierarchy as a litmus test to ascertain how “Catholic” one’s convictions are. Just six months into his papacy, Francis displaced judgment from its high perch when he humbled himself (and thus the entire hierarchy) as one flawed human being among an entire race of imperfect human beings.

DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke has been invited to deliver the homily at the Call To Action conference, November 1-3, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conference brings together over 2,500 people each fall, and is the largest annual gathering of progressive Catholics in the US. The theme of this year’s conference is Living Our Baptismal Call. “I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to reflect the way that Dignity members and friends live out our Baptism in such an important setting,” said Marianne.

By Mateo Williamson, DignityUSA We celebrate the success of DignityUSA’s 21st Biennial Convention, which marks over 42 years of ministry and advocacy for the LGBT community in the Catholic Church. Dignity’s call to reform and justice for those marginalized within the Church has now bridged several generations, and the fruits of this unceasing labor were evident at this year’s national gathering, which brought together nearly 300 attendees from across the country, with a span of over eight decades in age. This year’s biennial Convention was held in progressive and lively Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 4-7, 2013. 

By Deb Myers, DignityUSA Board member  Peace of heart, mind, and body to all of us! What wonderful readings [Isaiah 66: 10-14c; excerpt from A Lesbian Feminist Voice by Carter Heyward; Luke 10:1-11, 1620]! We have heard this gospel many times and know the lines well. I hope today is experienced with new ears and open hearts, perhaps because of where each of us is in our own spiritual journey, or because in the context of what we have experienced this weekend. I hope you will hold your hearing of the good news today in your heart.

By Jamie L. Manson, M. Div Editor’s Note: Below is an excerpt from Jamie Manson’s plenary address “Intersections of Justice.”  Being a lesbian at Xavier was pretty easy. Being a woman was much more challenging because on any given day, I was reminded that my body was an obstacle to ways in which I was able to serve and be present to the community. 

By Mateo Williamson, DignityUSA It is difficult to describe exactly what the Dignity Convention of 2013 meant to me. I have tried to accurately relay the experience to some of my friends here in Arizona, but in vain. How do I capture the excitement I felt as I realized I had actually made it successfully to Minneapolis, and furthermore to the correct hotel (in itself a miracle)? Or when I nervously shook the hands of social justice greats like Fr. Bernard Lynch and Fr. Roy Bourgeois? Or, while sporting plaid shorts and a plaid shirt on departure day due to my packing faux pas, I embraced all my wonderful new friends good-bye and nobody even batted an eye? (If that isn’t true friendship, I don’t know what is).

By Martin Witchger, Dignity/Washington  One of the many highlights for me at the DignityUSA 2013 Convention was the workshop on intergenerational dialogues put on by the Young Adult Caucus. With the realities of many of our chapters being older, but trying to reach out and retain younger adults, it was a very pertinent and timely session. I was curious about this session because I know that while intergenerational dialogues are important and necessary, from experiences after Mass at my local Dignity/Washington chapter, even after almost a year of weekly Masses, as a young adult, talking with some of the older members of my Chapter has been a little awkward. But, being committed to Dignity, and wanting to push myself into this experience, I went into this session with an open heart and mind.

By James Nickolof, Associate Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross  I was pleased to see that both Maureen Fiedler and the Dignity Convention itself began with the theme of gratitude for the gifts of many persons and for God's love, because I have come to believe that any sound theology and any sound ethics must be rooted in thanksgiving. The Church as a whole seems to be (slowly) moving beyond the discourse of obedience and exhortation to one which begins with gratitude. I take this as an encouraging sign.

By Delfin Bautista, DignityUSA Editor’s Note: Delfin led a workshop entitled Deconstructing and Reconstructing Gender: Creating a Catholic Transgender Narrative. Below are the notes from which Delfin spoke, reprinted here as poetry.

By Greg Wadsworth, Dignity/Buffalo 

LGBT Catholics Welcome Pastoral Tone and Substance   September 19, 2013, Boston, MA. DignityUSA welcomes the Pope’s comments in his recent interview printed in America magazine. “We find much to be hopeful about, particularly in the Pope’s firm desire that the Church be a ’home for all people,’ and his belief that God looks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with love rather than condemnation,” said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke.  

Dignity Communities Urged to Echo this Prayer during Weekend Gatherings Boston, MA. September 4, 2013. DignityUSA and its member communities across this nation deeply grieve the horror experienced among the Syrian people because of the use of chemical weapons. We deplore the violence the civil war in Syria has unleashed, and we join Pope Francis in his call for peace through prayer and fasting on Saturday, September 7th. His words tremble with passion: “[W]e want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war!”

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director If I had any doubt about the power of the Papal pulpit, it disappeared in the days following Pope Francis’ post-World Youth Day onboard press conference in which he addressed a reporter’s question on a “gay lobby” in the Vatican. There was truly global focus on the Pope’s responses, which included, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" and a statement that gay people should not be marginalized. China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia were among the many, many places that DignityUSA’s reaction to this statement was quoted!

By Lauren Carpenter If I had to pick one word to summarize my World Youth Day experience, it would be hope. I expected that going to World Youth Day would be going straight into the lion’s den because most of the attendees would be conservative Catholic youth who would either ignore us or argue with us. And indeed there were plenty of people who took the long way around to avoid us as we passed out prayer cards, or who “agreed to disagree” after long conversations. What I was not expecting were the many, many positive responses we got. People would see our banner and seek us out to say things like, “thank you for being here,” or “you are so brave,” or my personal favorite, “The church needs you; keep doing what you’re doing.” 

By Sara Kelley After I returned to the US following our trip to World Youth Day, many of my friends and family had such positive things to say to me. Members of my church and other progressive Catholic friends were so excited to talk to me about my experience, and share how they felt while following along with our journey online. In fact, I received 100% positive responses from friends and family.

By Gene Corpuz The Dignity/Honolulu chapter has been busy this summer, in addition to their weekly liturgies and monthly video nights. Gene Corpuz, Tim Earhart, and Alan Campo attended the DignityUSA Convention in Minneapolis from July 4 -7. Joining them was Michael Liendecker who is a dual Honolulu and Philadelphia chapter member. Michael helped carry the Honolulu banner with Tim during the Opening Ceremonies Parade of Banners. They enjoyed the plenary sessions and workshops and had a chance to network with other DignityUSA members.

By Mike Hogan, Dignity/Chicago Member On a beautiful summer day, family and friends of Jim Bussen gathered at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood to honor and celebrate the life and achievements of Jim, a former national president of DignityUSA and activist in the LGBT community in Chicago. Jim was a prophet, an agitator, and a fearless champion of LGBT Catholics and their rightful position as beloved children of God.

The following story on our World Youth Day pilgrims appeared in the Athens (Ohio) NEWS http://www.athensnews.com/ohio/article-40387-world-youth-day-gets-splash...  OU LGBT Center director attends global event as part of advocacy team By Erica Mowry One of the individuals responsible for organizing a recent pilgrimage to Brazil to relay a pro-LGBT message is the recently appointed director of Ohio University's LGBT Center, 31-year-old Delfin Bautista.

WASHINGTON D.C., August 7, 2013 – Next week, hundreds of Catholic nuns are expected to gather in Orlando, FL for the annual meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). On August 11, 2013 in solidarity with U.S. women religious, thousands of Catholics will join in prayer http://nunjustice.org/download/ on the Feast of St. Clare. “The pope intentionally chose St. Francis of Assisi as his namesake, and he has shown himself to be open to dialogue” stated Erin Saiz Hanna, spokesperson for the Nun Justice Project.  “St. Francis of Assisi’s sacred friendship with St. Clare is well documented.  St. Francis worked collaboratively alongside his sisters rather than against them. We pray Pope Francis, and Archbishop Sartain, will not only speak but listen and authentically dialogue with the sisters as St. Francis did with St. Clare.”

By Mateo Williamson, DignityUSA member  We celebrate the success of DignityUSA’s 21st biennial Convention, which marks over 42 years of ministry and advocacy for the LGBT community in the Catholic Church. Dignity’s call to reform and justice for those marginalized within the Church has now bridged several generations, and the fruits of this unceasing labor were evident at this year’s national gathering, which brought together nearly 300 attendees from across the country, with a span of over eight decades in age. This year’s biennial Convention was held in progressive and lively Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 4-7, 2013.

by Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, President, DignityUSA "Wondering why we are closing parishes, rather than opening ordination…” "Celebrating God's image in LGBT people…” "Betrayed by Church structures that promote sexism, heterosexism, misogyny..." "Come, Lord Jesus, send us your Spirit and renew the face of the Church..." The gathering started with the reading of several statements like the above, followed by the sung response. This opening prayer was recited by over 400 Catholics who recently came together at a Unitarian Church and its adjacent green in Massachusetts on a sweltering summer night.

​By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA President  Just as we gathered for the Convention opening song and first plenary session on the morning of Saturday, July 6, word came that Jim Bussen, DignityUSA President from 1985-1989, had passed away during the night. While Jim had battled a rare cancer for more than three years, and had been in hospice care for the previous few weeks, this news still shook many Convention attendees who had known and loved Jim, as well as people all across the nation who were inspired by his passionate advocacy. In a fitting tribute, those gathered repeated the morning’s anthem, We Shall Not be Silent, in Jim’s honor. Friends later gathered for an impromptu Irish Wake, sharing memories, laughs, and tears before that evening’s dinner dance.

Submitted by Paula Lavallee, Secretary, DignityUSA The DignityUSA Board of Directors met in Minneapolis on the days leading up to the Convention, July 2-3 and then after the Convention on July 7th. The directors spent the first morning discussing the executive director’s report, programs and committee reports and other business of the board. The afternoon included an update of the Convention plans given by Marty Grochala, Convention Chair. Everything seemed to be in place and ready to go, waiting for attendees to arrive.

Joining just under 4,000 fans from the LGBT community, over 80 members of Dignity/Washington cheered for their favorite home team which defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-5, at the 9th Annual LGBT Night Out at Washington Nationals Stadium, held on June 25.  Team D.C. sponsored the event again this year with openly gay Division I football player Alan Gendreau throwing the ceremonial first pitch. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed the national anthem to the applause of an appreciative crowd. White House Associate Director of Public Engagement for LGBT Issues, Gautam Raghavan, participated in the lineup card delivery and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), the nation’s first openly gay senator, announced “play ball” from the microphone. Many words of thanks were given to Dignity/Washington outgoing vice-president Jake Hudson, a huge Nats fan himself, who promoted the event within the Dignity/Washington community.

Boston, July 29, 2013. Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, the nation’s leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, spoke today about comments made by Pope Francis during an onboard interview on his flight back to Rome following World Youth Day. In response to a reporter’s question, the Pope spoke about his views on gay priests, and, many believe, gay people more broadly. Duddy-Burke said,

​Are there new vows for committed religious life in the new century? That is the question that Maureen Fiedler, Sister of Loretto, addresses in her article, “Poverty, chastity, obedience: traditional vows redefined for the 21st century,” published last month on National Catholic Reporter’s website. Fiedler examines the root and goals of the three traditional vows—poverty, chastity, and obedience—and observes:

By Mark Matson, Elections Committee Chair The results are in! 456 members cast votes in the 2013 Board Election. The members overwhelmingly endorsed another two-year term for Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues and Lewis Speaks-Tanner as President and Vice-President. Three board members were elected: Alice Knowles (Dignity/Boston), Jack Frielingsdorf (Dignity/Metro New Jersey) and Ray Panas (Dignity/Washington).

​Heather Mizeur Reflects On Dignity’s Work and Catholic Community Life ​by Henry Huot, Dignity/Washington Board member Maryland Delegate from Montgomery County, Heather Mizeur, delivered an affirming and challenging message at the June 9 Dignity/Washington Sunday Mass culminating Capital Pride festivities. To the delight of her audience, she quipped that she was not to be confused as the “homely guest” but rather the guest homilist. Drawing on the assigned Scriptures for the day (First Kings 17:17-24, Galatians 1: 11-19 and Luke 7: 11-17), she compared today’s Catholic Church to the grieving widow from the Elijah story and the widow of Naim who encountered Jesus. She stated that local parishes are suffering the departure of Catholics who have left because of the prejudices and offenses of those in pastoral positions of authority, and the homophobic attitudes of their general members. These parishes could benefit from the challenge of having LGBT Catholics join as members deeply committed to changing hearts and minds.

The President's awards are given at each convention to individuals and groups that the Board wants to recognize for their work to advance Dignity's mission, for their support of GLBT Catholics, and for their particular help to the work of the Board. The Board of DignityUSA would like today to recognize the following individuals:

Equally Blessed calls on Catholics to work to extend marriage equality to all states Washington, D.C., June 26, 2013—Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations that have spent more than 120 years working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, issued the following statement on the Supreme Court rulings announced today on the Defense of Marriage Act and the state of California’s constitutional provision banning same-sex marriage:

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director  Blessed Pride! What a year it has been! With the recent enactment of marriage equality in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota, it is estimated that one in five same-sex couples now live in places where they can be legally wed. We await decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court that could well overturn both California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal DOMA restrictions on same-sex couples. Equality is on the move, and Catholics continue to lead the march toward greater justice.

By Peggy Hayes, Dignity/Boston member I didn't expect to cry, but there I was, headphones on, watching my computer screen, crying over the images and the words as the Minnesota House of Representatives debated same-sex marriage. During the work day, no less, and my boss had just dropped by to ask me a question. I couldn’t tear myself away from the legislative proceedings that day, because here was my home state, Minnesota, where I lived for the first 22 years of my life, where most of my family still resides, about to make history.

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Program Manager The Lutheran church near the Minnesota State Capitol was literally packed to the rafters on this night before a historic Senate debate and vote to potentially push marriage equality into law. A number of clergy and leaders from various faith traditions and denominations sat facing the crowd, each waiting their turn to stand and lead the crowd in this quickly prepared prayer vigil. One leader stood in the pulpit and introduced herself, saying simply, “I’m a member of Pax Christi Catholic Community, and I’m proud to be Catholic!” The crowd erupted in cheers. As the din subsided, she proclaimed a passage from the prophet Isaiah, and though the words were in front of her, she never took her eyes off the congregation. She spoke with authority, with an obvious understanding and belief in the words she voiced. She commanded everyone in the church that night, and for this participant at least, Joan and Isaiah were the highlight of the vigil.

By Jack Frielingsdorf, Fundraising Committee Chair Once again, this year’s Convention will include an on-line and silent auction. The past auctions have proven to be fun and exciting for everyone involved, and profitable for DignityUSA. In order to make this year’s event as good as those from the past, we need great items to sell, and that is where you can help by donating items such as art work, electronics, personalized memorabilia, vacation packages, or collectibles.

By Richard Humphrey, Dignity/Indianapolis Dignity/Indianapolis will be sponsoring and staffing a booth at the Circle City IN Pride Festival on Saturday, June 8, 2013. The booth will be staffed by current Dignity/

By David Lamdin, Dignity/NoVA Dignity/Northern Virginia (D/NoVA) celebrated its 21st Anniversary on May 11, 2013. The celebration included Mass, followed by a fun picnic dinner party in the church hall. A silent auction and a 50/50 drawing added to the evening's activities. Daniel Barutta, Dignity/Washington's (D/W) president, won the 50/50 and generously donated his share back to D/NoVA.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director

By Kenneth Dowling, Dignity/Washington Board member Seven volunteers from Dignity/Washington's year-old Young Adult Group staffed a table at the annual DC Youth Pride Day held in Dupont Circle on April 27. The all-day event is marketed toward LGBT high school- and college-aged DC locals to celebrate awareness, visibility, and pride. The event has drawn over 3,000 young people in recent years.

By Henry Huot, Dignity/Washington Board member On Sunday May 12, Dignity/Washington celebrated Mass to acknowledge the Ascension of Our Lord, Mother’s Day, and all young adults nearing the end of their academic year. Advance notice to the community had been given for all to come wearing their school colors and/or emblems, and many did. A special blessing was imparted at the end of the liturgy to all students for their continued advancement in knowledge and/or work in the months and years ahead.

By Bob Butts, Dignity/Dayton Board member  Dignity/Dayton's Living Beatitudes Community will march in the Dayton Pride Festival on June 20 and will also sponsor four tables and an information booth at the Pride Dinner, held at Sinclair Community College on Thursday June 13.

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA Vice President The week of April 15 was surreal. New York and Washington, DC know all too well what terror is like. Boston has just suffered tremendously. In Boston, Patriot’s Day is usually a wonderful day off for many. It is also the day that the Red Sox play in Fenway Park and the Boston Marathon occurs. This marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, where amateur and professional runners have to qualify in order to participate. Families and friends cheer as their loved ones run the hilly terrain of eight Massachusetts cities and towns.

By Marty Grochala, Peggy Hayes, and Ramon Rodriguez There are many ways to support the Convention and broaden the circle of our Dignity family. Many Dignity members make additional contributions to help underwrite the costs of the Convention or to help make it possible for others to attend and experience the strength of our Dignity community. Here are some stories about the many ways you or your chapter can support Minneapolis 2013!

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Program Manager Thirty. That's the number of states that put before voters a marriage amendment that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. All 30 states passed the amendment, until November 7, 2012! That day, the citizens of Minnesota voted "No" to enshrining this limit in their constitution. It was a breathtaking moment in the wee hours of November 8 when the final votes were tallied. Joy ensued, lasting days, weeks, even months. This victory was no miracle. It was the result of months of work by thousand of allies committed to justice.

​​As the 2013 Convention quickly approaches, there are several important things to consider: Volunteer The Parade of Banners Hotel Stay

By Chris Kohn, Dignity/San Antonio President The first few months of 2013 have been very exciting for Dignity/San Antonio. We have continued to seek ways that we can share who we are with like-minded people of faith, and with the wider community. In January, twelve of us drove together to Houston to join Dignity/Houston for a screening of the film, Pink Smoke Over the Vatican. The welcome we received and the bonds we built (among ourselves and with the Houston group) made the long trip well worth it. 

Dignity/Washington Presence at US Supreme Court Rallies Farewell Mass for Joseph Palacios, Dignity/Washington presider/member Country Western Spring Fling Has Dignity/Washington Stomping

Spring is finally here, and with it longer and brighter days, and baseball!  Nothing cheers me up more in April than the beginning of baseball season.  I am relentlessly hopeful for the Red Sox and look forward to every game with anticipation of what can happen, knowing that I cannot give up until the last out.  Yes, I am quite a hopeful person and find it difficult to give up on most things or people.

Lord have Mercy Christ have Mercy Lord have Mercy Mary, Mother of God; Pray for us Harvey Milk; Pray for us St. Joan of Arc; Pray for us Our brothers and sisters who died at the hands of strangers; Pray for us Matthew Shepard; Pray for us

The DignityUSA Board of Directors met the weekend of March 1-3, 2013 in Phoenix, AZ. The meeting began with a welcome and "State of the Chapter" report from Dignity/Arizona members Elinor Crocker and John Orta. It was wonderful for the Board to hear the progress the chapter has made. Dignity/Arizona was one of the first chapters to receive grant money from DignityUSA for chapter strategic planning work. The chapter's vitality has benefited from their hard work.

Some people have deep wounds from Catholic homophobia. Dignity has a special gift to help these people heal. Sharing our truth in a public way helps these people find us. Talking to politicians and bishops can help create a more just society and Church for LBGT people. Because of our personal and collective experience, we have an important truth to share.

I’m a lucky guy. My boss tells me to fly out to Southern California and pay visits to the four Dignity chapter communities there: San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs. Their southwest coast perch can be isolating, and they are just too valued to be overlooked. So one morning I’m clambering over Minneapolis snowbanks to the airport and that afternoon I’m sitting in a small, beautiful ‘chapel’ in North Hollywood, CA

Every two years DignityUSA members gather to celebrate our heritage, our past, and our future.  This year we come together as a family in Minneapolis; and we invite you to be part of the celebration by becoming a convention sponsor.   We are seeking your support of our mission and ask you to consider donating towards our biennial national Convention, where over 300 Dignity members and allies will gather July 4-7, 2013 at the Minneapolis Hilton.

By Brian McNeill, Dignity/Twin Cities North Minneapolis is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. Historically the home of communities of colors, it has a rich history of heroic individuals who have struggled against the racism, violence, and poverty that disproportionately afflicts the area. One of those heroes is Lorraine Smaller.

James R. Thompson, age 84, passed away on Ash Wednesday, February 13. He was born in Detroit on July 31, 1928, son of Dorothy and AJ Thompson. Jim is survived by his sister, Mary Dziuba Eremia, his niece Nancy D. Schuler, his nephew John T. Dziuba, relatives in Canada, including cousin Ted Boake of British Columbia, and by Michael McCleer.

Dignity/Honolulu has been quite busy during the first quarter of 2013. On January 21, the chapter joined PFLAG-Oahu on a Trolley, participating in the Martin Luther King Day Parade. Several other LGBT groups such as Pride at Work – Hawaii and the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party marched in the parade as well, honoring the work of Martin Luther King in furthering the cause of equal rights in America. Chapter members riding the trolley were Gene Corpuz, Jim Slatkavitz, Joan Hudson, Tim Earhart, and Charlie Hernandez. Dignity/Honolulu has participated in this annual parade since 1990.

The aromas of turkey shepherd’s pie, Minnesota wild rice hotdish, Bavarian noodle hotdish, corn casserole, “American chop suey,” Colombian short rib casserole, and other hearty one-dish meals mingled with the final notes of Dignity/Boston’s song of sending forth on Sunday, March 3. The tables were set for the community to dine together in the church hall. This was the evening of Dignity/Boston’s “Heavenly Hotdish Social” to support the chapter’s fund to support scholarships to the DignityUSA convention in Minneapolis, July 4-7. Funds will be used for travel expenses and convention registration fees to increase the participation of chapter membership at the convention.

The origin of Saint Joseph’s Day as an Italian festival is simple, yet a testimony to an ancient and abiding devotion. According to legend, there was a severe drought in Sicily around 1268 and the people prayed to St. Joseph, their patron saint, to bring them rain. They promised that they would prepare a large banquet to honor him, if he answered their prayers. The rain did come, and the Sicilians made good on their promise, continuing the festival ever since. The fava bean was the crop that saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of St. Joseph's Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is also a St. Joseph's Day custom.

Twitter – Facebook – mailing lists – websites: Technology is no longer something that Dignity chapters might use. It's something that they need. So, DignityUSA has created a place to talk about how chapters can use technology with each other.

A number of Dignity/Chicago members are quoted in this article from the Windy City Times. Local Gay Catholics react to Pope Francis by Chuck Colbert, Keen News Service 2013-04-03 "Cautiously optimistic" and "toned-down rhetoric" are some overarching observations as local LGBT Catholics take measure of the new pontiff, Pope Francis, the former cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke and Fortunate Families Co-Founder Mary Ellen Lopata co-author the following op-ed, featured in the New York Times. The two groups collaborate on LGBT Catholic issues through Equally Blessed.

  In media interviews given on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who also serves as President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the Catholic Church should be more open to gay and lesbian people (bisexual and transgender people were not mentioned). He said "I love you, and God loves you." When pressed about what could be done to make lesbian and gay people more welcome, the Cardinal said he did not know. Below is DignityUSA's response.

This story originally appeared in the National Catholic Reporter online edition. The original story can be found at http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/catholic-activists-behind-supreme-court-doma-fight Jamie Manson | Mar. 28, 2013 Grace on the Margins  

This story originally appeared in the National Catholic Reporter online edition. The original story can be found at http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/catholic-activists-behind-supreme-court-doma-fight Jamie Manson | Mar. 28, 2013 Grace on the Margins  

Marianne Duddy-Burke was asked to provide a Catholic witness at an Interfaith Prayer service held at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Boston, MA on March 25, 2013, on the eve of Supreme Court hearings on Proposition 8 and DOMA. Below is her testimony:

DignityUSA and local Chapter leaders were sought for comment following the Conclave that resulted in Pope Francis becoming the head of the Roman Catholic church. Below is a sampling of this coverage. National Jeff Stone on NY Times video: http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/03/14/us/100000002117646/papal-expectations.html?ref=romancatholicchurch#100000002117646

Boston, MA, March 13, 2013. DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke has made the following statement on the election of Pope Francis: “We join our fellow Catholics in praying for the ministry and leadership of Pope Francis.  We applaud the cardinals for their recognition of the rising energy of the Catholic Church in the global South and the new possibilities and perspectives that may come from that region.

Washington, DC. March 8, 2013. In conjunction with its semi-annual meeting, Catholic Organizations for Renewal, a leadership group of organizations working for reform and renewal in the Catholic Church, held a press conference to discuss the upcoming selection of a new Pope. DignityUSA's Executive Director led off the event with the following statement:

​Where were you when you learned that Benedict XVI was going to resign from the Papacy? In many ways, his announcement ushered in a revolutionary moment for our Church. Every person reading this has known Papal transitions only upon the death of the previous Bishop of Rome. But now, relinquishment of this role becomes a real possibility, shaking yet another of our expectations about our Church.

Dignity/Washington Young Adults Host a Mardi Gras Party Dignity/Washington Board Gathers For a Retreat and Planning Moment for Reflection and Thanksgiving Held in a Time of Loss

​Peggy Burns, Operations Manager, and Robin Erikson, Dignity/Boston member, attended the 33rd Annual First Event Conference on January 25-26, 2013. First Event has grown into one of the largest trans gatherings in the world and the only major winter Conference. First Event has something for nearly everyone, including educational lectures, workshops and courses, nightly entertainment with dancing, banquets, special lunches, trans-oriented vendors, and more!

​DignityUSA and Dignity/Philadelphia are mourning the death of DignityUSA Past President Mary Louise Cervone. Mary Louise, 54, passed away on Tuesday, February 05, 2013 after a brief but courageous struggle with cancer.

By Leo N. Egashira, from notes taken at a presentation in Seattle, October 14, 2012. (This article was edited for the QV from the original, which appeared in Dignity/Seattle’s November 2012 Newsletter) Theologian and National Catholic Reporter (NCR) weekly columnist (“Grace on the Margins”), Jamie Manson, and her partner Gretchen, stopped in Seattle on October 14, 2012 during a nationwide speaking tour. An engaged audience of 85 progressive Catholics and allies greeted her enthusiastically at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. Jamie first acknowledged and thanked the Protestant space in which Catholics are welcome to discuss issues. Left unsaid was the obvious: Progressive Catholics would not have been allowed to discuss or question views of the hierarchical church.

By Leo N. Egashira, from notes taken at a forum in Seattle, August 22, 2012. (This article was edited for the QV from the original, which appeared in Dignity/Seattle’s September 2012 Newsletter) New Ways Ministry (NWM), a gay-supportive, Catholic ministry based in Baltimore, Maryland sent out its two most high-profile leaders, Frank DeBernardo and Sister Jeannine Gramick, on a speaking tour throughout the U.S., especially in states that had Marriage Equality on the November 6, 2012 ballot: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State.

Call for a Leader who will Listen, Reconcile Boston, MA, February 11, 2013. DignityUSA, the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, responded to the news that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of February with the following statement: Like all Catholics, we appreciate that Pope Benedict put the needs of the Church first in determining he is no longer able to meet the demands of his position. We wish him a peaceful retirement.

DignityUSA and Dignity/Philadelphia are mourning the death of DignityUSA Past President Mary Louise Cervone. Mary Louise, 54, passed away on Tuesday, February 05, 2013 after a brief but courageous struggle with cancer.

​By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA Vice President February may have the fewest days in the year but plenty happens in this short month! Ash Wednesday ushers in the season of Lent, and the next day is Valentine’s Day. Work continues on marriage equality both at the federal and state levels. DignityUSA election nomination information and 2013 Biennial Convention registration have been posted on the DignityUSA website.

The letter below, written by a high school student from Iowa, was received by Dignity in December. It is messages like these that encourage us to press on in the fight to affirm that all of God’s children are valuable, and worthy of respect and dignity, and we wanted to share it with our members.

​By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Program Manager In January 2013, a town of 334 citizens in eastern Kentucky became the smallest municipality in America known to have approved an ordinance protecting LGBT persons from discrimination. City commissioners in Vicco, KY voted 3-1 to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers, and by sellers and renters of housing. Small town. Big news. How did it happen?

By Chris Pett, Dignity/Chicago Just before Christmas, a bill was introduced into the Illinois House and Senate to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Dignity/Chicago president Chris Pett was involved in gathering support for this bill in his role as chair of the Equality Illinois outreach committee to faith communities.  Through these efforts, over 250 religious leaders across the state have signed a statement in support of marriage equality.  While several prominent Catholics, including Governor Quinn, support the bill, our Catholic bishops have been active opponents, calling same-sex marriage a legal fantasy, and arguing that it is against natural law.    Cardinal George sent a letter to be read in parishes across the state.  Below is Dignity/Chicago's statement in support of marriage equality.  The bill will be voted upon sometime in January and is expected to pass.

By Kevin Davies, Dignity/Philadelphia Dignity/Philadelphia's 40th Anniversary Dinner/Dance will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 7-11pm at the Mummer's Museum. More details will be provided at a later date. The 40th Anniversary Mass will be on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 7pm at our regular meeting space. Monthly activities that have occurred or are in the planning stages to celebrate our 40th Anniversary:

Coalition of four Catholic groups offers “healthier, godly” vision of human family WASHINGTON, D. C., December 21--Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican bureaucracy have released a number of troubling statements in recent days disparaging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and speaking against their right to be treated fairly in civil society.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director Happy 2013! May this be a year of blessings, love, and good health for all of our readers. In 2013, DignityUSA will be focused on seeing “Justice Roll Like a River,” in our programming and as we prepare to gather in Minneapolis, July 4-7 for our biennial convention. Whether we are working to ensure that LGBT people and our families find welcome and affirmation in parishes across the country, offering sacraments to our community in our chapters, or talking with Catholics in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois or Rhode Island about why marriage equality is consistent with our faith, our goal is always to bring greater justice into our world and our Church. All of these efforts spring from our vision of the day when all LGBT Catholics know full inclusion in all aspects of the Church and society.

By Paula Lavallee, DignityUSA

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Program Manager The theme of Dignity’s upcoming convention, “Let Justice Roll Like a River,” slips swimmingly off the tongue, doesn’t it? And adding cleverness to this poetic phrase, the convention’s host city, Minneapolis, happens to have the mighty Mississippi rolling just blocks away from our Dignity celebration. Somebody was thinking!

Dignity/Washington's 40th Anniversary Celebration By Tom Bower, Dignity/Washington Board member and co-chairman with John Fegan of the event Dignity/Washington celebrated its 40th Anniversary on the weekend of December 1-2, 2012, culminating a year of community celebrations that attracted widespread interest and congratulations.  The Washington Blade ran an extensive article in its November 30 issue entitled “Faith of Our Fathers,” discussing our chapter, its history and DignityUSA’s long list of activities. The article was written by staff writer Joey DiGuglielmo.  

By Peggy Hayes, Dignity/Boston member Dignity/Boston celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding on December 1-2, 2012. Many DignityUSA leaders and past presidents joined in the gathering procession at the Sunday liturgy, and scores of memories sparked by stories, photos, returning members, and a homily by chapter president Peggy Burns, who described the chapter this way:

Pink Smoke Over the Vatican: Where Are Women's Voices in the Catholic Church? By Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, Dignity Houston member, Community Organizer

By Christ Kohn, Dignity/San Antonio President We have had a busy fall at Dignity/San Antonio, as we continue to make efforts to build community among ourselves and to create ties with other supportive communities of faith.

By Art Stoebel The new year is a perfect opportunity to update you on the happenings of our chapter.

By Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, Dignity Houston member, Community Organizer Dignity/Houston is on a mission to raise awareness about the need for tolerance of sexual minorities both inside and outside the church. We had several community outreach events in November specifically aimed at raising consciousness about transgender issues, and increasing awareness as to the availability of LGBT-affirming spiritual resources in the Houston area.

By Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, DignityUSA President I sit to write this on Thanksgiving weekend, on the edge of Advent, and in anticipation of Christmas. What a rich time. My heart is thankful and pregnant with hopeful anticipation of what is to come. As a nation we have just gone through a time where classism, sexism, racism, and homophobia appeared to be themes of political ads, political pundits, and even political candidates. Polarization and personal attacks became headlines of the day. It was scary and disappointing to say the least. At the end of the day, however, fairness and equality won: The people of this country said NO to all forms of discrimination, in favor of continuing to build a society where more are included.

The 2012 Call To Action National Conference, the largest annual gathering of progressive Catholics, took place November 9-11 in Louisville, KY, just days after victories on all four state ballot measures regarding marriage equality. Many attendees sported “Catholics for Marriage Equality” t-shirts and buttons, and were enthusiastic about the votes. Whether they were from Michigan or Maryland, it felt like Catholics were taking ownership of these successes. It was amazing!

by Rick Lynch, Dignity/Washington Office Manager The Dignity/Washington and Dignity/Northern Virginia chapters raised $2,473 for the annual DC AIDS Walk, held Saturday, October 27, to benefit Whitman-Walker Health. This year’s team ran in memory of Jim DePersis, a long-time Dignity/Washington member who for many years organized the Dignity/Washington AIDS Walk Team. Special thanks go out to Allen Rose, former Dignity/Washington President, and David Lamdin of Dignity/Northern Virginia for their leadership in guiding this year’s efforts.

by Daniel Barutta, Dignity/Washington President On Saturday morning October 20, six Dignity/Washington members met for a 40-mile round trip bike ride to Mt. Vernon. For two of our riders it was the longest distance they had ever ridden. The bike path to Mt. Vernon winds down the Potomac River, skirting National Airport, Old Town Alexandria, and various picnic spots right on the riverbank. Adding to the beauty of that Saturday morning were a sunny, clear sky, and numerous trees dropping colorful autumn leaves. Once at Mt. Vernon, the group had lunch at the Mt. Vernon Visitor’s Center cafeteria. All in all it was a day of wonderful people, great exercise, and yes, a few sore muscles! The group hopes to keep on riding as long as our DC weather permits.

by Mark Hibschman, Dignity/Washington Board member Older homes are always a work in progress. That is certainly true of the fine old building that Dignity/Washington purchased some fifteen years ago and converted into the Dignity/Washington Center. Following a year of careful planning, the community’s Board approved the plan to completely gut and replace the Center’s serviceable yet worn (read: “tired and old”) kitchen. The transformation was paid for out of the Always Our Home Fund, created through special donations from Dignity/Washington members and their friends to be used for such purposes. Contractor John Woods delivered the new kitchen on time and on budget. Everyone is very happy with the results. Located on historic Barrack’s Row, the Dignity/Washington Center serves as the meeting place for many community activities, and is also used by a variety of other smaller nonprofit groups.

Equally Blessed asks Bishops to Abandon Misguided Appoach to LGBT Issues  Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic groups that work on behalf of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the church and the wider society released this statement on yesterday’s election. WASHINGTON, D. C., November 7—Like millions of other faithful Catholics, we watched with mounting excitement last night as election returns poured in from the four states in which marriage equality was on the ballot. By this morning we knew that Catholic voters and politicians had helped, in the words of the great abolitionist Theodore Parker, to bend the arc of history toward justice.

Dignity/Dayton member Dick Young and his spouse, Bob Butts, attended the "Nuns on the Bus" event in the Dayton area to show support for the Sisters. The Sisters recently concluded a multi-state tour during which they spoke at churches, fundraisers, and press conferences about the growing problems caused by poverty. They maintain, as the bishops do, that the US Congress is “further enriching the wealthiest Americans at the expense of struggling, impoverished Americans.” They promote the strengthening of the social safety net, including the Affordable Care Act. You can read more about their activities at:  www.nunsonthebus.org. 

By Lewis Speaks-Tanner, DignityUSA Vice President During a recent Sunday homily, I heard the opening sentences of the Vatican II document, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, also known as Gaudium et Spes. It begins with, “The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the Father’s kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity. That is why they cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.”

On Sunday, October 14, Gene Corpuz and Tim Earhart attended the Maryknoll Centennial celebration of 100 years of ministry of the Maryknoll Order in the U.S. as well as 85 years in Hawaii. Sister Joan Chatfield had invited Dignity/Honolulu to attend the special Mass and festivities because of her close relationship with the group.

Calling all leaders within DignityUSA to join the leadership conference call, Tuesday, November 15, 2012 at 9 PM EST! On the call, you will hear from DignityUSA President Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke, and a representative from the 2013 Convention Committee. The call comes 11 days after the Fall Board of Directors meeting. Leaders will have an opportunity to ask questions and give a short report on what is happening in their local community. For more information and conference call number and access code, contact Vice President Lewis Speaks-Tanner at [email protected] or Secretary Paula Lavallee at [email protected].

from the Rainbow History Project’s event program notes On Thursday, October 4, the Rainbow History Project honored fourteen “Community Pioneers” at an annual reception held at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, DC. Each year several tenacious and creative individuals are recognized for their instrumental roles in creating and sustaining important institutions in the DC LGBT community. The event provides an opportunity for the community to say thank you. Past honorees have included nationally known individuals such as Frank Kameny, Patsy Lynch, Deacon Maccubbin, Eva Freund and Jim Graham. Among this year’s honorees was Dignity/Washington’s own Robert (Bob) Miailovich.

Women-Church Convergence (W-CC) is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted organizations that raise a feminist voice and are committed to producing an ekklesia of women who are participative, egalitarian, and self-governing. DignityUSA has been a member of the Convergence almost since its founding in 1983. The Convergence generally does its work through email and conference call, but holds an annual in-person meeting early each Fall.

In ten short months, DignityUSA members from across the country will gather in Minneapolis to listen, learn, and explore the social justice teaching of the Catholic Church through an LGBT/Allied lens. Registration for the convention will open in January, the result of work that began in the fall of 2010, when Minneapolis was selected as the site of the 2013 DignityUSA Convention. Come and meet the people who have been working to bring this convention experience to you. With representation from chapters across the country, this convention is truly a national effort.

Dignity/Boston made a foray into the corporate world in celebration of National Coming Out Day. The chapter was invited to send representatives to speak at the Boston office of Ernst & Young (EY), a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. Ernst & Young is also known as one of the “Big Four”: the world’s four largest accounting firms. This was the company’s first such event, sponsored by their LGBT and allies group, Beyond.

by Rick Lynch, Dignity/Washington Member The Dignity/Washington community and its friends were saddened to learn of the untimely death on October 7 of Bill Line at his home in Washington, DC; he was 56 years old. Bill first joined Dignity/Washington in 1984 and had been a much-treasured member of the community throughout these many years. During his early years with our chapter, Bill served on the Board of Directors, and for much of the rest of his time he was a member of the Sunday Mass choir.

By Claudia Garza, Dignity/San Antonio Member Dignity/San Antonio recently held its chapter elections with the following results: President, Chris Kohn; Vice President, Meagan Mireles; Secretary,Teresa Mireles; Treasurer, Minverva Mendoza. Our three delegates are: Sylvia DelosSantos, Michael Torres, and Claudia Garza.

On Sunday, October 7, for the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Dignity/Washington held its annual Blessing of Pets at the end of Mass. Attendees were invited to bring their (well-behaved) pets, or photos of them. As in past years, dog owners dominated the event. However, vowing not to be outdone, some cat owners indicated that they planned to attend en masse next year. From a Blessing for the occasion: “God grant us Francis’ joy and confidence that we too may be effective agents of reconciliation of all creatures to God, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.”

Dignity/Honolulu was very busy during the month of October, beginning with the annual commemoration of Solidarity Sunday, the campaign instituted by DignityUSA in 1995 to combat violence (physical, emotional, and spiritual) committed against LGBT people.  This was held on October 7, the Sunday preceding National Coming Out Day.  Chapter members participated in a parish visitation in the morning, attending the 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. The rector, Father John Berger, acknowledged Dignity/Honolulu from the pulpit and stated that the group should visit the Cathedral more frequently. 

By Marty Grochala, Dignity/Chicago Member Dignity/Chicago ended its 40th Anniversary year with a history panel with current and past members sharing stories about their faith journey and the many changes experienced in church and society. The event took place on Sunday, October 21 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. at Broadway United Methodist Church in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

By John Prybot, Dignity/Boston Member Dignity/Boston participated in this year's Orgullo Latino celebration in Boston’s South End on Saturday, October 28, 2012. Rocco Pigneri and Steven Young represented Dignity/Boston at the "Family Day," an event programmed for Blackstone Community Center situated in the South End of Boston. Hearing about this, I offered to accompany them.

Solidly enjoyed by Dignity members and non-members earlier this year, QCF returns this October for a second season of monthly webshows. What is QCF? Live web-interviews with featured guests, with real-time questions and conversation from attendees, all from the comfort of our homes and computer screens. QCF explores with guests in an intimate way often not experienced in the conference room. Guests’ spirituality, faith and prophetic witness are among the topics probed.

By Marianne Duddy-Burke Marty Haugen’s All Are Welcome has become something of an anthem for LGBT Catholics, and for good reason. The conviction that our Church, our Eucharistic table, should be a place where everyone is honored and embraced has deep resonance in a community that has known exclusion and isolation. The hymn’s third verse is Let us build a house where prophets speak, And words are strong and true, Where all God's children dare to seek To dream God's reign anew.

By Leo N. Egashira, DignityUSA Board Member I wish to present some observations and thoughts about the Asian-Pacific Islander (API) presence in DignityUSA; these strictly personal musings should not be viewed as critiques, nor should they be viewed as prescriptive ideas.

By AW, member of Dignity/San Francisco I remember sometime back when the government started to push for 'affirmative action.’ At that time quotas were rampant everywhere. Each school, company, and business had to comply with 'affirmative action.' Schools had to make sure that a percentage of their population, students or employees, were minorities. Work places had even more pressure to comply with these requirements and a short time to do so, unless they were willing to pay fines or face other problems.

by Lacey Louwagie Some people tell stories about “always knowing” that they weren't straight. I didn't always know. Part of me really did want the vision that the culture told me I should want—love with a man, traditional marriage, and family. And in the end, that's what I got—sort of. The path wasn't as straightforward as it might seem. When I first realized I was bisexual, I was sixteen, in love with a man, and having dreams about women that … didn't seem totally straight.

Michael Torres is a member of Dignity/San Antonio.  Has your ethnicity enhanced or hindered your experience in the GLBT Catholic community? I believe it enhanced my experience because my ethnicity has a lot to do with where I came from, and it carries with it a special set of gifts, just like being gay and Catholic carries with it gifts. When I mention this to other people, they are in shock because they didn’t know that one can be gay and Catholic, but I assure them it is very possible.

by Christine Krause I look out at the still water on a cool morning Letting the sun cast its warmth on my shoulders Where the voices of others bolster my feelings of gratitude Of a God that loves without doubt, fear, or reproach I visit the winters of my life Where dark shadows have crept in Because life happens at its own bidding Not mine Out of those depths I see glimmers Smiles from friends Encouragement from fellow travelers God’s all encompassing grace

By Nickie Valdez, Dignity/San Antonio

By W. John, BinetUSA

Mostly, though, they told me about the people who make up Dignity/Integrity Rochester. They delighted in the couple who will celebrate their 25th anniversary in December by getting married. They congratulated a musician whose choir will be featured on a local radio show, and asked whether another would be playing dulcimer in the near future. They told me about treasured members of their community who come from other faith traditions.

The following is the homily given on July 28, 2012, during the funeral of Brother Richard Jonathan From the Gospel according to Saint John 1: “When Jesus saw Nathaniel coming towards him he said, ‘Here is a man in whom there is no guile.’”

Join Dignity/New York to celebrate 40 years of freedom, faith, and friendship at our 40th Anniversary liturgy and dinner. The celebrations begin with the Anniversary liturgy and social on Sunday night, October 28, at 7:30 pm in St. John's in the Village Church, corner of Waverly Place and West 11th Street, NYC.  

We are very pleased to announce that the “Rainbow History Project” has selected Bob Miailovich as a “Community Pioneer,” in recognition of his leadership and many years of service to the GLBT community, which of course includes his roles as a past President and current and former Treasurer of Dignity/Washington.  On Thursday, October 4, The Rainbow History Project will be honoring 14 “Community Pioneer

On Sunday morning, September 16, 25 Dignity/Detroit members, friends, and supporters participated in the 2012 Royal Oak AIDS Walk Detroit.  

The chief concerns of members of Dignity/Boston on a mid-September weekend were Gatorade, muscle strength, lung capacity, the weather, energy bars, and route maps. Nearly 40 members of the Chapter hit the roads and walkways of Massachusetts to raise funds and awareness, and to demonstrate the community’s commitment to two causes.

Integrity/Dignity Madison celebrated its 35th Anniversary on Pentecost Saturday, May 26, 2012.  This was a combined celebration, including Mary Magdala, women priests, I/D’s 35th Anniversary, and the one year anniversary of the passing of Joan Weiss, a Dignity/Madison member of many years. Over 80 people were in attendance. Rev. Alice Iaquinta was the presider and homilist at the Mass.  

By Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez. Dignity/Houston Community Organizer On August 4, three Dignity/Houston members attended the Equality Texas Project Training. On their website, the Equality Texas Foundation describes the Equality Project: "The Equality Project is a public education program on policy issues and their effect on Texas citizens. The Project also trains supporters of equality to establish relationships with their state representatives and senators, and to advocate for policy changes with their elected officials. The Project aims to engage the public in maintaining continuous conversations with their elected officials about public policy matters that directly impact their lives. It is these conversations about real people's lives that will ultimately motivate policy changes to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression."

By Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, Dignity/Houston Community Organizer Things are a’brewin’ over at Dignity/ Houston. We are planning a community screening of "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," tentatively scheduled for September 20 at 6:30 pm at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard, Room 106, Houston, TX 77006). We hope this community screening fosters critical thinking and dialogue on the important issues of gender and vocations for women in the Catholic Church.

By Gene Corpuz, Dignity/Honolulu Dignity/Honolulu held their annual Mary of Magdala liturgy on Sunday, July 22, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Honolulu.  This was one of the many Mary of Magdala events held around the country, promoted by the FutureChurch organization, which supports women’s contribution to the Church through prayer services, liturgies, and vigils.  The liturgy was well attended by 25 people, with a potluck supper following the liturgy in the parish hall.  

By Barbara Zeman Celebrating our 40th anniversary as an Inclusive, Roman Catholic faith community, Dignity/Chicago stepped out in style as we led the religious organizations in the Chicago Pride Parade on June 24th, 2012. We are proud to be Church. For over 40 years we have prayed together, played together and been family for one other. Delivering the homily at our 40th Anniversary Mass on May 20th , Dignity/USA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke said, "We became the first large Catholic group ever, not to surrender to hierarchical bullying. When the official Church did not respond in love, we ministered to one other.”

We may not actually hear those words at DignityUSA’s on-line auctions, but the excitement is just as intense. If you have taken part in any of these auctions in the past you know what I mean. The original auction concept started in Chicago in 2001 and has been a part of each convention since. In San Francisco we added the first DignityUSA on-line auction, which allowed non-convention goers to be part of the fun and excitement as well. Since then there have been five on-line auctions, either as part of a convention or a stand-alone events.

Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, Dignity/Houston, Community Organizer As Dignity/Houston's community organizer and youngest adult member, I had the privilege of joining the DignityUSA Board and the Dignity Young Adult Caucus (DYAC) for a fun-filled July weekend of collaborative strategic planning in Newark, New Jersey. Twenty-four of us represented a rich movement of LGBT Catholic and allied leaders across the nation in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are passionate about celebrating and preserving cherished Catholic traditions that exclude neither our sexual orientations nor our gender identities. At the meeting's end we had a clearer vision for best practices in starting young adult groups, planning future DYAC goals, preparing for the 2013 Minneapolis Convention, and building sturdy bridges between DYAC and the Board. 

By Jim Smith, Dignity/USA Program Manager The words of the song kept getting stuck in my throat as I sang during morning prayer at a conference I was attending a year ago. “O may our hearts and minds be open, fling the church doors open wide. May there be room enough for everyone inside, for in God there is a welcome, in God we all belong.  May that welcome be our song.” All these messages brought together with the poignant melody left me speechless. After the prayer ended, I lined up with a few others to thank the composer of the song (For All the Children), David Lohman, who just happened to be accompanying on piano that morning. Marianne Duddy-Burke was in that line, and would end up being my boss four months later.

A number of themes came together the weekend of July 20–22 as Dignity/San Diego celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Choosing to emphasize its ties with other local Catholic reform groups, Dignity/San Diego partnered with Call To Action of San Diego County (CTA–SD), San Diego Catholic Worker (SDCW), and Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) in several events over the weekend, the culmination of which was a festive Mass on Sunday evening celebrating Dignity’s 40th Anniversary and the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene.

Members and friends of Dignity/San Francisco established Catholics for Marriage Equality in California (CME) in June 2009. That first year we conducted rosary vigils at the cathedrals in San Francisco and Oakland, and co-organized a demonstration in Berkeley in response to the anti-gay activism of Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone.

DignityUSA Media Relations Director Jeff Stone is quoted in this story from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about similarities between Russia's Pussy Riot and Act Up's December 1989 protest at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Posted with permission from RFE/RL. http://www.rferl.org/content/before-pussy-riot-act-up-confronted-church-and-won/24668230.html

DignityUSA Prays for Productive Dialogue within Catholic Church  Boston, MA. August 10, 2012. As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) conclude their annual meeting, and their discernment about how to respond to the Vatican’s expression of concern about the organization, DignityUSA affirms its support for LCWR and its members.

The Spring session of Queer Catholic Faith webinar series has ended.  We present the recordings for those who missed any of the events.   The Spring guests were:

Equally Blessed: Sister Margaret Farley deserves honor, not censure Equally Blessed released the following statement in response to the criticism of Just Love, by Sister Margaret Farley, a Catholic theologian emeritus at Yale University released today by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: We are saddened, but not surprised that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has found fault with the valuable work of yet another female theologian. 

“These are exactly the type of young women needed in the Church today.” May 15, 2012. As Catholic organizations we congratulate the Girl Scouts on their 100th year anniversary and thank them for modeling the best of what girls can be: strong, bold, value-based young women. What a shame that Catholic officials cannot see these young women for the gift they are to the church and world.

Equally Blessed, a coalition of four faithful Catholic groups who work on behalf of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the church and wider society, released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s endorsement yesterday of marriage equality:  “In endorsing marriage equality, President Obama has risked a political confrontation with the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church by embracing the wisdom of the people in the Catholic pew, and we salute him for it.

Equally Blessed praises Vice President for supporting marriage equality May 7, 2012. Equally Blessed, a coalition of four faith Catholic groups who work on behalf of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the church and wider society, released the following statement in response to Vice President Joe Biden’s comment on marriage equality made yesterday on Meet the Press:

Equally Blessed cites National Organization for Marriage’s racially divisive tactics in letters to Dolan, Anderson  April 4--Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic justice organizations, today called on the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, to publicly disassociate themselves and their organizations from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

In the first session of a new vidoe-conference series called Queer Catholic Faith, sponsored by DignityUSA, noted National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson reflects on her spiritual roots, being part of a Church where she has experienced both rejection and profound hope, and the sacredness of the everyday. To view and hear this conversation, click here.

    Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, President of DignityUSA, appeared on CNN Espanol's news show Conclusiones to discuss the Pope's comments on marriage equality. The interview was highlighed on GLAAD's What To Watch Today blog. To see an excerpt of her interview, visit

March 10, 2012. DignityUSA and Dignity/Washington, DC today applauded the Archdiocese of Washington, DC for suspending Father Marcel Guarnizo from all ministry within the Archdiocese. In a letter to priests, Vicar General Barry C. Knestout cited “intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry” as the reason for the suspension. Father Guarnizo recently refused Communion to Barbara Johnson during her mother’s funeral because she is a lesbian.

DignityUSA, the Women of Dignity, and WATER, the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, are sponsoring Our Bodies/Our Spirits: Seasons of Catholic Lesbian Lives. This retreat and community-building gathering for women will be held May 4-6, 2012 at Techny Towers, in Techny, IL, just outside of Chicago. For more information and to register, please download the attached file or register online. Scholarships are available.

Equally Blessed praises O’Malley, says all God’s children must be treated with respect  MARCH 1—Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic groups that support equality for LGBT people in the church and wider society, released this statement today on the signing of marriage equality legislation in the state of Maryland: "We are deeply gratified that Governor Martin O’Malley has joined fellow Catholic governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Christine Gregoire of Washington in signing marriage equality legislation into law.

DignityUSA Executive Director was featured on the Washington Post On Faith Blog with the following column: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/lesbian-denied-catholic-communion-blessed-are-they-who-mourn/2012/02/29/gIQAsofriR_blog.html By Marianne Duddy Burke

February 29, 2012. Leaders of DignityUSA, the national organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics (LGBT) are deeply saddened, but not surprised, to hear of yet another gifted, well-loved, gay Catholic employee being fired for being in love. Upon learning that the music teacher, Al Fischer, was to be married in New York to Charlie Robin, his partner of 20 years, the St. Louis Archdiocese pressured leaders at St. Ann's Parish and School to fire him. 

February 28, 2012.A Gaithersburg, MD priest’s decision to deny Communion to a woman during her mother’s funeral because he heard she lived with another woman is being strongly condemned by DignityUSA, the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics. Father Marcel Guarnizo reportedly refused to give Barbara Johnson Communion and told her, in the Communion line, the reason for his decision. He also left the altar during Ms. Johnson's tribute to her mother and refused to attend the graveside service and deliver the final prayers.

Members of Equally Blessed, a Catholic Coalition seeking justice for LGBT people in our church and in society, sent the following letter to members of the Maryland House of Delegates on February 16, 2012.  Dear Delegate, As Catholics, we value our faith tradition that calls us to speak on behalf of the marginalized and create a church and a society in which all God’s children are welcomed. We are called to live together, ever keeping before us the charge to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God, as called for in Micah 6:8.

DignityUSA Board Member Leo Egashira and Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke are quoted in this article from The Stranger that explores Catholicism and marriage equality in the state of Washington. February 14, 2012 Features

Allen Rose, President of Dignity/Washington, DC, the largest Chapter of DignityUSA,  testified on the Maryland Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 on February 10, 2012. Below is a transcript of his testimony. Thank you, Chairman Vallario, Chairman Hammen and the members of your respective committees, for the opportunity to testify today in support of The Civil Marriage Protection Act of  2012.  This legislation is right and just.

ANOTHER CATHOLIC GOVERNOR SIGNS MARRIAGE EQUALITY INTO LAW Equally Blessed says Catholic teaching compels support of policies that advance common good Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic groups that support equality for LGBT people in the church and wider society, released this statement on the signing of marriage equality legislation in the state of Washington:

Catholics Play Prominent Role in Bill’s Passage Feb. 2, 2012. In the wake of the Washington State Senate’s vote endorsing same-sex marriage, DignityUSA applauds the leadership of Catholic legislators in getting one step closer to equality.

Hear DignityUSA Executive Director in a wide-ranging interview with Emmy Award winner Charlotte Robinson on OutTake Voices. http://voices.outtakeonline.com/2012/01/gay-catholic-leader-reacts-to-popes.html     In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost LGBT Catholic organization. Recent polls show high levels of support for LGBT people among Catholics yet the Pope and bishops continue to lead attacks on civil rights for gay people. In Pope Benedict’s 2012 outrageous New Year’s speech to diplomats from approximately 180 countries the Pope said policies allowing gay marriage “threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.” We talked to Marianne about being Catholic and issues facing our LGBT community.

DignityUSA members Frank O'Gorman and Paul Scarbrough, both of Connecticut, are prominently featured in a Rainbow Times article about the Hartford Archdiocese's development of a Courage Chapter as a "ministry" to LGBT Catholics. To read this very comprehensive piece, please click on the link below. The article is made available with permission. http://therainbowtimesmass.com/2012/01112012/ctabstinence.html  

Boston, MA.  January 11, 2012. Leaders of the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics are reaching out to fellow Catholics who are hurt and angered by Pope Benedict XVI’s latest attack on the LGBT community. In a New Year’s speech to diplomats from approximately 180 countries on the importance of children, the Pope said policies allowing same-sex marriage “threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”

Equally Blessed Job Opening Coordinator, Equally Blessed. Part-time, grant-funded position. 15-20 hours/week Background.  Equally Blessed is a coalition of four national Catholic organizations which work for justice and equality for LGBT people in church and society. We are seeking a part-time coordinator to manage the day-to-day work of the coalition, as well as to oversee special projects and initiatives as they arise.  At present, Equally Blessed is involved in communications work to amplify the voice of the majority of US Catholics who support justice and equality for LGBT people, as well as education and advocacy projects consistent with our mission.  Coalition partners meet via conference call at least once a month; we also meet in person about five times a year.

DignityUSA leaders from Washington State joined Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke in sending a letter of congratulations to Governor Chris Gregoire to thank her for leading efforts to expand marriage equality to Washington. Below is the text of the letter. January 5, 2012 The Honorable Christine Gregoire Office of the Governor 416 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Suite 200 PO Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98504-0002 Dear Governor Gregoire,

January 6, 2012 Chris Pett, President of Dignity/Chicago, the advocacy organization for LGBT Catholics welcomed today’s apology from Cardinal Francis George for his remarks fearing that the annual Pride Parade could morph into a Ku Klux Klan-like anti-Catholic rally.  Said Pett, “a core element in our Catholic faith is the sacrament of reconciliation by which we admit our wrongs, seek and are given forgiveness. We welcome this apology from Cardinal George. As we know him as our bishop, we know that it is sincere and that he will work to avoid making such damaging and hurtful remarks in the future.” “We also invite a dialogue with the Cardinal, so that he might better understand and love the LGBT community in all its facets, especially those in his own Catholic Church who continue to be alienated by Church teaching that regards LGBT people as less than ‘wonderfully made’ children of God.”  “We encourage the Cardinal to open his arms to our community and listen to the truth in our lives and the joy we take in our faith.” Dignity/Chicago is a chapter of Dignity/USA, and shares its mission to work for respect and justice for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in the Catholic Church and the world.

Equally Blessed hails laity's willingness to move beyond bishops' "insensitive and uniformed" teaching   WASHINGTON, D. C., November 8, 2011--The majority of American Catholics disagree with the teachings of their bishops on sexual issues so often that it is a wonder that the news media continues to speak of the Catholic Church’s position on a given issue when what they really mean is the position of the Catholic hierarchy.

Boston, MA. Nov. 2, 2011.  Leaders of DignityUSA, the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics and supporters, condemned the Boston Pilot’s publication of Daniel Avila’s column “Some Fundamental Questions on Same-Sex Attraction.”

For the second year, DignityUSA is a national co-sponsor of Spirit Day. Celebrated on October 20, Spirit Day is  a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and a way to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day was started in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. Millions of people and organizations participate by wearing purple, the color that symbolizes Spirit in the Rainbow Flag.

DignityUSA and our Equally Blessed partners recently wrote to President Obama, expressing support for his decision not to support DOMA in federal court, as well as other Administration actions that affirm LGBT equality. The letter highlights the fact that the President's actions are in line with the beliefs of the majority of American Catholics, who increasingly support LGBT people and families.

From Water to Wine: Lesbian/Gay Catholics and Relationships, New Ways Ministry's Seventh National Symposium, will be held March 15-17, 2012, in Baltimore, Maryland. Major speakers: Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Luke Timothy Johnson, Patricia Beattie Jung, Richard Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson will facilitate a pre-symposium retreat day.

                An advertisement in the August 27, 2011 El Paso Times can do tremendous spiritual damage to Catholics who read it, according to a national Catholic support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual , and transgender (LGBT) people and their families.                   “This ad contained language that many people will find hurtful and alienating,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “It does not represent the spirit of love and inclusion that Jesus taught, and that most people in our Church strive to live out.  

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA As you read this, over 300 DignityUSA members and friends will be gathering in Washington, D.C. for our 20th Biennial Convention. As we have done every two years throughout DignityUSA‘s history, we will celebrate our identity as LGBT Catholics and supporters, learn from invited speakers and from one another, and affirm our giftedness in the context of worship that reflects our place in our Church. This year, for the first time, a number of same-sex Catholic couples will use the trip to our convention as an opportunity to have their marriages legally recognized by the civil authorities of the District, where marriage equality has been in effect for more than a year. These couples have been together between 26 and 41 years, and it will be a thrill to celebrate with them.

By Peggy Burns, DignityUSA Operations Manager As Operations Manager, I get many phone calls and emails, some asking for information about the organization or looking for affirming churches in their area, others sending surveys, and some wrong numbers looking for pet food products. Recently, one phone call really made an impact and I would like to share it with you. Ruth called asking if I knew of a priest who would say the funeral mass for her mother’s partner. Ruth is Jewish and the dying woman a Catholic. She had asked a priest to say the mass, but he refused because her mom and partner were lesbians in a committed relationship. Ruth had no idea where to turn to for help. She found our number and thought she would give us a try.

Alderman James Cappleman and Partner Richard Thale to receive John Michie Award Originally printed in the Windy City Times FROM A NEWS RELEASE Dignity/Chicago will celebrate the thirty-ninth anniversary of its founding in 1972, and its ongoing ministry to the GLBT communities, family and friends with an anniversary Mass at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 at Dignity/Chicago, 3338 N. Broadway. Dignity/Chicago's annual John Michie Award for community service will be presented to newly elected Alderman James Cappleman and his partner Richard Thale in recognition of their service in the Uptown neighborhood.

From Echo Magazine: http://www.echomag.com/news10.cfm         Local LGBT Catholic group finds hope in national survey By Glenn Gullickson Members of a local LGBT Catholic organization say that the results of a national survey show that the leadership of the church is out of touch with its members on gay issues.

Research shows Catholics are more accepting of the LGBT community than the general population DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer [email protected] In March, the Public Religion Research Institute released a comprehensive study on the attitude of Catholics on rights for gays and lesbians, and the results were clear: American Catholics are more supportive of civil rights for the LGBT community than the general population.

April 11, 2011. Boston, MA. Today’s New York Times carried a full-page ad from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights that claimed to defend the Catholic Church against a variety of perceived attacks. In reality, the ad is a proactive attempt to shape media coverage of the upcoming trial of a Philadelphia priest and two other men charged with raping a child.

By Mark Matson, President, DignityUSA

Part-time Contract Position (15-20 hours/week) Reports to: Executive Director Responsibilities Under the direction of the Executive Director DignityUSA’s Program Manager is responsible for helping to implement programs that support the organization’s mission and strategic plan. This position is grant-funded, and continued employment is dependent upon availability of funds. Specific job functions include:

DignityUSA joined other supporters of women's ordination at a Vatican Embassy Vigil to support Rev. Roy Bourgeois March 30, 2011 -- The leadership of the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics deplored the threat to dismiss Father Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood if he does not recant his support for women's ordination in the Catholic Church.

Washington, DC— In an historic convening on Capitol Hill today, prominent Catholics and a leading researcher discussed the strong support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals among Catholic laity. The event was organized to raise awareness among policymakers as they consider legislation that impacts the LGBT community by Equally Blessed, a coalition of Roman Catholic organizations that supports LGBT equality, and supported by the Arcus Foundation.

Bishops’ opposition to fair housing practices contradicts Gospel, group says WASHINGTON, D. C. March 30, 2011—Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Roman Catholic organizations that support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families both in the church and in civil society, released a statement today, lamenting the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ opposition to new fair housing rules that would bar groups that receive federal funds from discriminating against gays, lesbians or transgender persons in housing programs.

March 20, 2011—San Antonio, TX. Dignity/San Antonio, an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and our supporters, is shocked by the hateful and discriminatory remarks made by Bexar County Democratic party chair Dan Ramos, in a March 11 interview with the San Antonio Current.

Coalition asks bishops to realize they can learn from LGBT Christians   March 18, 2011—Earlier this week, two Catholic bishops dismissed a booklet on marriage equality by a member of the Equally Blessed coalition, saying that its author was not authorized to “speak on behalf of the Catholic Church.” Today, faithful U.S. Catholics spoke for themselves, supporting the legalization of same-gender marriage by a 60-38 margin in a new poll commissioned by ABC News and The Washington Post.

Boston, MA, March 16, 2011. DignityUSA has issued a statement supporting the author of a booklet on marriage equality who has come under criticism from two members of the US Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.

Nominations for DignityUSA’s National Board of Directors are now open. The April 1, 2013 nomination due date is weeks away. However, just like Easter and spring, it will be here before you know it, presenting you with an opportunity to become a candidate to serve DignityUSA on the National Board. If you are contemplating becoming more involved in the governance of the organization at the national level, please give serious thought to running for DignityUSA’s Board of Directors. This election cycle, the membership of DignityUSA will elect a President and Vice President (running together as a gender-parity slate) and three Directors-at-Large. Officers and directors serve a two-year term.

Catholic laypeople lead fight for fairness  MOUNT RANIER, MD, February 24, 2011—The Equally Blessed coalition salutes the members of the Maryland State Senate who today passed legislation that will end centuries of discrimination against same-sex couples and their families. We urge the state’s House of Delegates to pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act and send it to Governor Martin O’Malley for his signature.

Equally Blessed applauds Governor Quinn’s integrity despite Church pressure   CHICAGO, IL, January 31, 2011—When Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB1716) bill into law this afternoon, Illinois families came much closer to fairness under state law, said Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholics working for civil and religious equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

January 31, 2011 Dear Archbishop Chulikatt: We write today as faithful Catholics who are deeply troubled by the violence and hatred being perpetrated on gay and lesbian people in Uganda. Just this week, activist David Kato was murdered brutally after a magazine published his photograph and a caption urging that he be killed.

Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Roman Catholic organizations that support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families both in the church and in civil society, today called upon the Diocese of Colorado Springs to reconsider its decision to offer a 12-step program for LGBT Catholics in which participants are asked to state that they are “defective.”

by Rachel Guido deVries December 12, 2010, St. Lucy’s Church, Syracuse NY Father Jim asked me to give the homily today, and to talk a little about bullying, and especially the bullying our youth endure. In this third week of Advent, we are coming closer to the anniversary of Christ’s birth, and, hopefully, we are beginning too to feel the excitement of Christ coming into our lives, through the Eucharist, through our Faith, and through all the messages of our loving God. So it seems to me a particularly good time to think about the way we share that joy. Finding ways to bring an end to bullying is one of the ways we can do that.

To help make the pre-Christmas season of Advent a time of hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, a coalition of progressive Catholic organizations has organized a massive campaign of wearing rainbow ribbons to church as a way of showing solidarity and support for young people who may be the victims of bullying or may be contemplating suicide.

Members and supporters of Dignity/San Antonio held a prayer vigil outside the Cathedral Saturday, November 20, in advance of the installation of the new Archbishop. Nearly 100 people gathered to express sadness over the Chapter's expulsion from the parish where they hade been meeting, and to call for dialogue with the incoming Archbishop. A local TV station's coverage demonstrates support from those worshiping inside the Cathedral.

The leaders of Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholics working for justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, have issued a statement expressing deep concern over the outcome of the election of new leaders for the US Catholic Bishops Conference.

This Advent season, join the progressive Catholic movement in wearing a rainbow ribbon to church as a public symbol of justice and solidarity with our LGBT youth in this time of increased awareness about youth suicides. Do you feel called to do more for our youth? Here are some other ways you can make a difference:

October 22, 2010-Boston, MA.--DignityUSA, the nation's largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and our supporters, is shocked and saddened by the actions of San Antonio Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu, who ordered a local parish to stop hosting a weekly Mass for gay and transgender Catholics and their families. The letter, dated October 13, 2010, ordered the liturgies to end as of October 18, 2010.

October 6, 2010--Equally Blessed stands with Minnesota Catholics who are taking their support for equality into Mass by wearing a rainbow ribbon or pin. About two dozen people who wore these symbols to a Mass recently celebrated by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt were denied Communion by the Archbishop.

WASHINGTON, DC., September 29, 2010—Four longstanding Catholic organizations announced today that they have formed Equally Blessed, a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society.

A video Conference and Fundraising event for DignityUSA, its chapters, members, family and friends Participating Chapters Who: DignityUSA members and chapters, friends and family

As the centennial of Mother Teresa's birth is marked on August 26, 2010, DignityUSA wishes to clarify its position on the Empire State Building controversy.

By Jack Cloninger and Al Levy On Sunday evening, August 15, 2010, Dignity/Palm Beach gathered in the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church for our bimonthly Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. We were very privileged to have a guest con-celebrant, John J. McNeill, world renowned author and theologian, and one of the founders of Dignity/New York during the first year of Dignity’s existence. John wrote The Church and the Homosexual, a groundbreaking book of prodigious scholarship that debunked the Church’s anti LGBT moral theology and gave hope, direction, and self-respect to a generation of LGBT Catholics. John visited our chapter to give a talk on his latest work: Sex as God Intended. In addition to members and friends of Dignity/Palm Beach, several members of Integrity, the Episcopal Church’s outreach to LGBT folks, joined us for both the Mass and the talk.

By Linda Pieczynski, Member, DignityUSA Board of Directors “The best year ever” is how David Clohessy, National Director of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), described the child protection movement at its annual SNAP conference held July 30-August 1, 2010, in Chicago, Illinois. In 2010, the child abuse scandal arrived on the doorstep of the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI personally implicated in the coverup. “SNAP has been faithful to its mission: protecting the vulnerable and healing the wounded”, said Clohessy.

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors will meet Friday through Sunday, October 1-3, 2010, at the Millenium Hotel, 200 South 4th Street, St Louis, MO 63102, (314) 241-9500. The Board meets Friday evening for about 3 hours; Saturday 9:00 a.m. until about 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, beginning with a liturgy, the Board wraps up its work in a 3-hour session ending at 12:00 noon.

The DignityUSA Convention 2011 in Washington DC is shaping up to be a fabulous 4th of July weekend of celebration and substance. There is a lot to celebrate. We’ll be in the nation’s capital on the eve of one of the truly spectacular 4th of July fireworks displays. What’s more, we’ll be in one of the growing number of jurisdictions in the United States where gay and lesbian couples can be legally married (more about that below).

By Mark Matson, President, DignityUSA DignityUSA’s Board of Directors has issued an invitation to all Chapters and Affiliates to send a leadership representative to a rare summit of national and local leaders to discern future strategy. The Leadership Summit will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct 1-2, 2010, in St. Louis, MO at the Millennium Hotel. The event begins early Friday evening.

Dear Members and Friends of the Catholic GLBT Community, I am a sociologist, teaching at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Central Minnesota. As a committed Catholic, I have long been interested in Catholic identity and how Catholic organizations serve their target populations and advance their specific missions while maintaining their legitimacy within the larger Catholic community. My current research focuses on organizations engaged in ministry and outreach to the Catholic GLBT community. I am interested in better understanding how organizations can improve the dialog about GLBT issues within the Catholic community at this time of increasing polarization within both our society and our Church.

DignityUSA joined 26 other Catholic organizations around the globe in expressing outrage at the Vatican’s including the “attempted ordination of women” among the “delicta graviora," or most serious of crimes against Church law. This puts ordination of women on par with clergy sex-abuse.

Twenty-seven Catholic organizations from around the globe issue statement denouncing the oppression of women and the inadequate response to child sex crimes Yesterday, the Vatican issued a clarification of its canonical procedures for how dioceses should handle priests who sexually abuse children. As part of the statement, they have added that the "attempted ordination of a woman" has now been added to the list of "delicta graviora," or most serious crimes in church law, alongside the sexual abuse of minors.

A Joint Statement from the leaders of Call To Action, Fortunate Families, DignityUSA, and New Ways Ministry Denver – June 21, 2010 - Toni Talarico was fired by Catholic officials despite a sterling record of 28 years of teaching religion at a Catholic parish in Denver.  She was fired because she happens to be a lesbian.  And, although Toni was fired in January of this year, the story is now coming to light after months of wrangling over her accrued benefits. 

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA Just as LGBTQ Pride activities were ramping up in Boston during June 2010, our archdiocesan newspaper, The Boston Pilot, printed one of the most egregious articles I’ve seen in many a year. Written by one of the paper’s regular columnists, the piece began by stating the author’s belief that same-sex couples could not actually be “real” parents; they may have children in their custody, but the lack of biological connection with at least one parent was seen as an insurmountable obstacle to parenthood. The author then offered three reasons that children of same-sex parents posed a danger to Catholic schools. First, having children observe teachers and other school officials being polite and respectful to a lesbian or gay couple would give “scandal.” Second, the writer questioned the gay/lesbian parents’ motivation for involvement in classroom and extracurricular activities. Finally, it was stated that children living with gay couples would likely bring obscene or pornographic material to class.

DignityUSA member electronic ballots, as well as chapter and member alternative paper ballots, must be returned by the July 6, 2010, deadline. Colored paper ballots were mailed to each chapter. If you have not already returned them, please check chapter office or home residence mail boxes or trays.

What to do with all that great art work you have but no place to display it? Or that crystal bowl Aunt Sarah gave you that doesn’t match any of your modern decor? Or how about that timeshare you bought ten years ago and you just don’t want to schlep there anymore? We have the solution to these and many other items you no longer use. Donate them to DignityUSA’s summer online auction. You will share those treasures with someone else, get a tax deduction, and help DignityUSA raise some cash. What a great way to do re-gifting!

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors will meet Friday through Sunday, July 9–11, 2010, at the Embassy Suites Columbus-Airport Hotel, 2886 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219. (614-536- 0500). The Board meets Friday evening for about 3 hours; Saturday 9:00 a.m. until about 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, beginning with a liturgy, the Board wraps up its work in a 3-hour session ending at 12:00 noon. DignityUSA members desiring to see a copy of the agenda please contact Lewis Tanner ([email protected]).

On Sunday, May 23, 2010, Dignity/Honolulu celebrated its 34th Anniversary with a special Mass and potluck supper at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Honolulu, their weekly liturgy site. The theme “Victory” was proclaimed by Tim Earhart, Chapter President, congratulating the chapter for achieving 34 years of ministry to the Catholic LGBT community in Hawaii, and also for the passage of the civil unions bill by the Hawaii State Legislature. The community is awaiting the Governor’s action on the bill. Editor’s note: Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has until July 6, 2010, to decide how to respond to the bill.

Call To Action 2010 National Conference November 5-7, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The June 4, 2010 issue of "The Pilot", *the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston*, contains an article on the “danger” of allowing children of same-sex couples to attend Catholic schools. The offensive and irresponsible language of this article have no place in a Catholic paper. We urge you to write or call the Pilot’s leadership, (phone: (617) 746-5889 ext. 5) and demand an apology for this article, request that they run a piece supportive of enrolling gay and lesbian couples’ children, and also to let them know that Michael Pakaluk should no longer be provided a platform for his consistently hateful writings. Marianne Duddy-Burke would appreciate getting copies of any letters. You can send them to her at [email protected]. In the Boston Globe, Marianne Duddy-Burke was quoted as saying,   “I think this is an absolutely appalling piece. I think it’s incredibly irresponsible for a Catholic newspaper to allow such hateful and insupportable claims to be made in their paper.’’ Sue O'Connell, co-Publisher of Bay Windows, New England's largest LGBT newspaper, stated "What he wrote is vile. That it was published by The Pilot is hurtful to all children." Since the article appeared, controversy has been building and the story is breaking in Boston-area TV stations. On June 9th, the Pilot's editor, Antonio M. Enrique, issued this statement in response to building criticism, saying, "The tone of the piece was strong and we apologize if anyone felt offended by it....Mr. Pakaluk’s column, as is the case with other opinion pieces, does not necessarily represent a specific position or endorsement of The Pilot or the Archdiocese."   WBZ Talk Radio in Boston has these audio clips with Marianne Duddy-Burke and Michael Pakaluk discussing the column's implications, and WCVB (The Boston Channel) featured Marianne Duddy-Burke and her partner Becky discussing the column's reception in this clip from 9 June news.

Hello DignityUSA members! My name is Lauren Frances Price, and I am interning for you this summer. I am currently a junior at Boston University, where I am studying English and International Relations. The reasons I am pursuing these fields relate to why I want to work with Dignity. I am studying International Relations because I want to work in non-profits, mostly in economic development fields, and I'm studying English because, quite simply, it is what I love. Dignity appeals to me for several reasons.First of all, I am inspired by your efforts to affect change and gain recognition and acknowledgement. Beyond basic justice, I am also emotionally connected to this struggle, as my mother is a member of the gay Catholic community. I am so excited to be working for you and with you for an effort in which I believe and that means so much to me. I hope that my rational and thoughtful approach, balanced with my passionate beliefs, will help me, help you, and support the mission of DignityUSA. During her internship, Lauren will assist DignityUSA in developing and implementing our social media strategy, expand our media contact list to include relevant blogs, and help with outreach to partner organizations. Lauren will receive a small stipend for successful completion of her summer internship. If you would like to contribute to this stipend, please click here to make a donation. Please put "Intern stipend" in the "Notes" block. Thank you for your support!

by John McNeill There was and continues to be a profound connection between misogyny and homophobia in our culture. Misogyny is defined as a fear and hatred of women. It manifests itself psychologically in the repression of everything in the psyche that is tradition- ally connected with the feminine. Among other things, this includes all emotions, feelings of compassion, all spiritual feelings, all dependency, and all need of community. In the future I would prefer to refer to misogyny with the word “feminaphobia.”

by John McNeill It should be evident to all that the paternalistic hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has lost contact with the Spirit of God and is no longer its instrument. The clergy sexual-abuse crisis, the effort of the hierarchy to cover that up, and the attitude in the hierarchy that their primary objective is not to convey the message of Christ but to do anything to protect their own power, prestige, and wealth has made their very existence idolatrous. The hierarchy as presently constituted is the exact opposite to the movement based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus announced at the Last Supper.

DignityUSA Leads Coalition in Expressing Grief, Concern Over Ejection of Children From Catholic School Because They Have Lesbian Parents Boston, MA, March 12, 2010–In a full-page ad set to run in this Sunday’s Denver Post and Boulder Daily Camera, DignityUSA and three other national Catholic organizations committed to equality for gay and lesbian people in the church express concern and grief over a recent decision by the Denver Archdiocese to bar the children of a lesbian couple from reenrolling in the Sacred Heart of Jesus School, a prekindergarten-8 school in Boulder. The ad reads in part, “It’s hurtful to see the Catholic Church rejecting gay people. But rejecting children because their parents are gay? That hurt can last a lifetime.” Call To Action, New Ways Ministry and Fortunate Families joined DigintyUSA’s efforts to send a message to Colorado’s Catholic leaders that actions like this do great harm to families and society.

Leaders of DignityUSA join Catholic families in Boulder, Colorado in expressing extreme disappointment that the young child of lesbian parents has become the Archdiocese's latest target in its attacks on gay, lesbian, and transgender people. The child has been barred from returning to Sacred Heart of Jesus School because of her parents' sexual orientation. "The Archdiocese of Denver has acted very unjustly in singling out this child for exclusion," said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke. "Until every students' parents are tested on Catholic teaching, this action by Catholic officials cannot be understood as anything other than discrimination on the back of a child. At a tender age, this child has learned that Catholic officials are willing to inflict pain on children and families. The public is learning that the Catholic hierarchy is willing to place this on the shoulders of children-and then defend such heartlessness by saying they are just following the rules and that Catholics are being persecuted for their beliefs. "The Archdiocese has chosen to selectively enforce Catholic rules about families while trampling on core Catholic values of compassion, equality, and love. This is tragic for the family involved, and for all who turn to Church officials for moral guidance," added Duddy-Burke.

DignityUSA was requested to participate in a seminal and hastily organized gathering of Catholic LGBT advocates in Washington, DC on January 30 and 31, 2010. I represented DignityUSA in lieu of Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke, who was unable to clear her calendar on short notice. I was joined by Board members Mark Clark and Tom Yates, both of Dignity/Washington. Ray Panas, President of Dignity/Washington was also present. The meeting was convened by Phil Attey, a Washington attorney, and Rev. Dr. Joe Palacios, a Jesuit priest from Los Angeles currently on the faculty at Georgetown University. The purpose of the meeting was to address the increasing role of the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops and state Bishops’ conferences on LGBT political issues, and to coordinate efforts to shift Catholic public opinion and voter behaviors.We joined the following individuals and organizations.

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors will meet at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel, 220 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, (215) 735-6000, Friday through Sunday, April 16-18, 2010. We encourage DignityUSA members to see the board in action. You need not spend the entire weekend with us. The board meets for about 3 hours Friday night. Work resumes by 9 a.m. on Saturday and goes through the day until about 6 p.m. Sunday, the Board wraps up its work in a 3-hour session ending at 12 noon. DignityUSA members wishing to see the agenda, can contact Lewis Tanner ([email protected]).

By Stephen McDonnell, M.Div., M.S.W., CAC-II  Trauma Specialist, Psychotherapist, Addictions Counselor & former Roman Catholic parish priest This pamphlet is designed to identify issues and resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered survivors who have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests, bishops and religious brothers and sisters and to act as a beginning and guide for healing that abuse.

by Patricia Beattie Jung The contemporary debate about same sex marriage has created a wonderful opportunity for all Christians – whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or straight – to think about why we celebrate marriage. Only when we are clear about what it is that Christian couples do when they marry can we address the question of whether the church should continue to bless only heterosexual partnerships. Ultimately all decisions about the form(s) marriage should take hinge decisively on foundational judgments about the purpose(s) of marriage. For Christians, such normative claims about the purpose(s) of marriage are deeply embedded in our faith convictions about God’s designs for and work in the world. So at bottom our question is really quite clear: from a Christian theological perspective, what is marriage for?

It began innocuously enough when the incoming priest at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center at Drake University noticed a piece of paper on a copy machine in the parish office. On it was a counselor's authorization of hormone therapy for a transgendered person about to undergo a sex change. On a letterhead that included the center's name and address. What came quickly after is changing a community: Rest of the story can be found in the Des Moines Register

At its last meeting this fall, DignityUSA’s National Board decided to begin raising funds to help defray the cost of traveling for our Board members. As many of you might know, due to the financial stress DignityUSA has experienced in the past few years, we have been asking our National Board members to pay for their own expenses when we meet in person, three times a year. Depending on where the Board member lives and where the meeting is taking place, the cost of airfare, hotel, meals, and incidentals can easily run over $1,000 per trip.

DignityUSA is forming two new volunteer committees: Transgendered Committee and Technology Committee. Transgender Committee A volunteer Transgender Committee within DignityUSA is in the formation stage as we close out 2009. It is the fruition of the Transgender programming during DignityUSA’s 40th Anniversary Convention in July 2009 in San Francisco.

Leaders of the US’s largest group of gay Catholics expressed surprise and satisfaction at the release of a Vatican statement that opposed the use of the death penalty and other severe violations of the human rights of gay people. They noted that the statement was particularly welcome in light of an effort by the government of Uganda to pass a law imposing the death penalty for being gay, and the reported impending execution of twelve gay men in Iran.At the UN last week, the Vatican’s Permanent Observer issued a statement that said, in part,

By Mark Matson, President of DignityUSAAt the October 2009 DignityUSA Board Meeting held in Minneapolis, the DignityUSA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a reworded Mission Statement that is more inclusive, more reflective of reality, and more forward-thinking than the former Mission Statement.

By Daniel HelminiakDignityUSA is probably stronger than ever. The superb work of a paid staff and talented Board has given Dignity the stability, efficiency, and competence to be a powerful voice for change. Yet one uncertainty continues to becloud the organization: there is no consensus on what its work should be. Thus, Dignity’s impact is scattered, fragmented, and diluted.

DignityUSA once again joins with individuals and organizations across the globe to mark World AIDS Day. Today, we recall the 24 million individuals throughout the world whose lives have been cut short by this disease, and we reflect on the people left behind--orphaned children, beloved partners, bereft parents, siblings, family and friends.

Place Your Bid. Whether you're looking for something unique for yourself, searching for a gift for a special someone, or looking to add a little adventure to your life, you're sure to find something in our auction catalog. Every bid helps support our cause.

At its annual fall meeting from November 16 19, 2009, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is expected to review a new pastoral letter pertaining to marriage. In a statement to the bishops, Catholic reform leaders call upon them to create a pastoral that addresses the real needs of Catholics in the United States:

 Nov. 18, 2009--During their annual meeting this week in Baltimore, the US Catholic Bishops reviewed a preliminary version of a study they commissioned on the reasons for clergy sexual abuse. The study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice researchers found that being gay had no correlation to the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the U.S. Catholic Church for decades.  

Just in time for your fabulous Holiday shopping The Fall Fling opens for bidding on November 21, 2009 at 8:00 AM EST Time.

By Fredrikka Joy Maxwell, a DignityUSA member from Nashville, Tennessee Do you know that more than 434 tramsgender people have been killed around the world so far this year, and those are just the ones we know about? That's according to the website www.Transgenderdor.org which keeps track of such statistics. All those people will be memorialized at the Tramsgender Day of Remembrance as celebrated in local communities on or about November 20, 2009.

Creator God, It took me far too long to get it, but my eyes and ears are wide open now. I get it now. My difference is not a curse, it is my richest blessing. You must delight in ironies — the last shall be first; the meek shall inherit the earth, and so forth. In my early years, all I wanted was to fit in. But I was made different from most around me. Only You really know how often I wondered what I had done to deserve this intrinsic difference. My Church called it “evil”. My friends called it “queer”. My parents called it nothing at all. They didn’t even want to think about it. See? See how I used to think about my sexuality as an “it”? I think it is called “disassociation”. “It” was the source of so much pain growing up. How could I have known then what a gift my sexuality would be? A different gift? An unusual gift? A rare gift? A priceless gift? Your gift?

Sunday October 11, 2009, was the most glorious day imaginable. Temperatures right around 70 degrees, a light breeze, a perfect blend of sun and clouds, even a rainbow overhead in the early afternoon. As many people said, it was clear that God was smiling on the National Equality March for LGBTQ Rights. Early doubts about the feasibility of the March and Rally disappeared as bus after bus pulled alongside the march route and discharged their passengers.

It took much too long, more than a decade. And it came at too great a price: the brutal killings of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. are just two among the thousands of crimes motivated by hate and bigotry.

Editor's Note:  John McNeill recently received the Bridge Builder Award from New Ways Ministry.  Bishop Tom Gumbleton presented John with the award.  The following is his acceptance speech:   I want to express my gratitude to Jeannine Gramick, SL., Frank DeBernardo and the Board and Staff of New Ways Ministry for honoring me with the Bridge Builder Award.   Let us pause for a moment of silent prayer and invite the Holy Spirit to be with us here in this room and touch our heats with God’s love!  

DignityUSA is once again providing a group discount for members and friends who will attend Call To Action's (CTA) National Conference in Milwaukee, WI, November 6-8, 2009. The conference, entitled Everyone at the Table: Rejoicing as the People of God features keynote addresses by Roy Bourgeois, MM, Dianne Bergant, CSA, and Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. To obtain the DignityUS Group discount registration rate of $160, complete the CTA conference registration form, and mail it, along with your payment to:

Below is a statement from DignityUSA's Board of Directors:

Ballots on two proposed amendments to DignityUSA's bylaws were mailed to all members in July. Responses must be postmarked or faxed by August 31, 2009. Mail ballots to DignityUSA - Elections Committee P.O. Box 376 Medford, MA 02155 or fax them to 781-397-0584.

DignityUSA, the nation's largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, as well as families, friends, and allies, expresses condolences to the family of Senator Edward Kennedy, and honors the late Senator as a Catholic voice for equality and justice. The group noted his work for racial and gender equality, living wages, immigration reform, people with physical and mental disabilities and many other issues.

Address at DignityUSA Membership Meeting July 3, 2009 Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director It is my proud duty to give you, DignityUSA’s members the “state of the organization” report as we mark our 40th Anniversary.

(Keynote Speech by Mary Hunt at the Dignity Convention, San Francisco, July 3, 2009)  As a member of DignityUSA, let me begin by offering thanks to Marianne Duddy-Burke for marvelous leadership. You and your family are models of the goodness and the generativity that comes with love. You show us what faithful and fabulous look like!

My great grandparents immigrated to this country from Ireland and from Sweden. I’ve been particularly thinking of the ones from Sweden. It wasn’t too long after they settled in Minnesota that they decided to set out for a new promised land: Southern California.

If you went to DignityUSA's 2009 Convention in San Francisco, we want to hear from you.   Please take our survey and let us know what you think.  Click here for the survey.

I had planned to devote this reflection to an unabashed celebration of DignityUSA’s many accomplishments over our 40-year history. Just as I opened a file to begin writing, my phone rang. The caller was a 50-something woman from a small city in the Northeast, who told me she has been part of Courage (an organization promoting chastity as the only option for Catholic lesbian and gay people) for years.

DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and our friends and families, expressed profound disappointment with California’s Supreme Court decision that upheld Proposition 8’s ban on marriage between gay and lesbian couples. However, the group noted that the Court’s allowing the 18,000-plus same-sex marriages that occurred before the ban took effect to stand was a sign of hope.

by John J. McNeill, (Lethe Press; ISBN: 978-1-59021-042-0; $20.00) Reviewed by Jeff Stone, Dignity/New York To many of us in DignityUSA, John McNeill is a familiar and beloved figure. Yet because he is so well-known to us, it is possible to lose sight of the vast scope of the achievements and gifts of this prophet in our own land. In 1970, John published the first theological articles defending homosexuality from a Catholic perspective, which became the basis for Dignity’s original Statement of Position and Purpose. In 1972, he cofounded Dignity/New York. In 1976, he published the groundbreaking book The Church and the Homosexual, which brought his subject into the international spotlight for the first time. Over the next two decades, John followed with Taking a Chance on God; Freedom, Glorious Freedom and his autobiography, Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair.

Let me tell you about the Parc55 Hotel — site of our 2009 convention! I just spent a weekend there for our April Board meeting. I took Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from the San Francisco Airport to the Powell Street Station, San Francisco …about a 30-minute ride. BART was a pleasure to ride. It reminded me of Washington, DC’s METRO. When you come out of the Powell Street Station, the Parc 55 Hotel is looming above you! The Hotel has just been renovated from top to bottom. The hotel room was spacious, although storage is scarce.

Posed and compiled by Leo N. Egashira, Publications Committee Chair Fr. Geoffrey Farrow, who was fired from his Fresno, CA parish after preaching against California Proposition 8 last October, has agreed to deliver the homily during the Eucharistic liturgy at our DignityUSA Convention 2009. He will also be participating in a newly-added pre-convention forum on Marriage Equality, which will be held on Thursday, July 2, 2009.

A scholarship took me from my native Denver to the nation’s capital to start college. I will never forget my first August day in Washington, D.C. It was 98 degrees with 97% humidity. I had never experienced heat like that. I had spent the previous 18 years of my life living in a white,working class suburb of semi-arid Denver, Colorado. “Hot” there seemed downright comfortable compared to the sultry hot of D.C. I landed at National Airport after nightfall. I remember the sights from the taxi. Long blocks of houses all attached to each other. I had never seen that.

The DignityUSA Board of Directors met in San Francisco, the host city for Convention 2009, from Friday, March 27 to Sunday, March 29. The meeting was held in the convention venue, the Parc 55 Hotel, in the heart of the vibrant city. Strategic Plan: The Board approved a 5-year strategic plan in October 2008. Six months later, the progress and status in five major priorities were discussed:

The next chapter leaders call will be Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at 9:00 p.m. EDT (6:00 p.m. PDT). The call in number is (269) 320-8400 with access code of 890836#. Please RSVP to Secretary Lewis Tanner at [email protected] and let him know if you CAN or CANNOT make the call. You can listen to the last call (March 9, 2009) by dialing (269) 320- 8499 with access code 890836#.

Leaders of DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and Call To Action—three groups that support gay rights in the Catholic Church—spoke out to condemn the Pope’s comments that implied that using condoms could increase the incidents of HIV/AIDS.

With 60 daytime temperatures in Denver the weekend of January 28, 2008 to February 1, 2009, you’d expect that most people would be outside enjoying the promise of spring. However, over 2,500 people spent those glorious days in hotel meeting rooms, immersed in skill-building sessions designed to help them take their place as leaders of the LGBTQ movement in the years to come.

The R. Scott Hitt Foundation is offering funding for qualified candidates who want to be leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement. You and the pro-LGBT organization that you choose can apply to receive funding for your post-graduate internship position while you build your resume and gain valuable skills towards becoming a leader of the future.

The San Francisco Convention Committee met with Tom Streeper of the DignityUSA Board of Directors in San Francisco, on the weekend of January 9, 2009. Tom attended the Convention Liturgy Committee meeting on Saturday the 10th, as well as the Core Committee meeting on Sunday the 11th, before attending the Chapter’s Sunday Liturgy.

The LA Times broke the story today that there is a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger Mahony and his response to the sexual abuse of children by clergy. Call To Action is grateful that the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles is taking seriously the crimes of this bishop who harbored and transferred pedophile priests, protecting the sexual abusers rather than the children suffering the abuse.  

TransFaith Online announces new spirituality track and Interfaith Trans-Clergy Roundtable to be held at Philadelphia TransHealth Conference (June 11-13, 2009; http://www.transfaithonline.org/transhealth/).

Boston, MA. DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and Call To Action-three Catholic organizations that support gay equality-will hold vigils in five cities across the nation on Wednesday, Dec 10, to protest Vatican opposition to a United Nations resolution that would decriminalize homosexuality. In more than 80 countries, gay people can still be imprisoned or even executed.

Groups Say Vatican's Stance Amounts to Condoning Anti-Gay Violence Boston, MA-Leaders of the Catholic groups DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and Call To Action, spoke out today to condemn the Vatican's opposition to a proposed U.N. declaration that would lessen against the discrimination against of lesbian, gay and bisexual people worldwide. The U.N. proposal, which is sponsored by France and backed by 27 European Union nations, seeks to end the practice of criminalizing and punishing people for their sexual orientation.

DignityUSA is proud to join the Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund & Leadership Institute, PFLAG, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, National Black Justice Coalition, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Freedom to Marry, BiNet USA, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Equality Federation, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National Coalition for LGBT Health, LGBT Community Center of NY, International Federation of Black Prides, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, and Family Equality Coalition to present:

By Shari Miller, Vice-President, Dignity/Denver Dignity/Denver held its Third Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Liturgy on Sunday, November 16th, 2008. This moving event originally came about because one of our members knew someone on the list who was being memorialized. That person was a 24-year old Hispanic woman who was murdered with a shotgun inside her own apartment. She was a gentle soul murdered because she was gender-variant.

By Gary Kayler, Dignity/Indianapolis, Requiescat in Pace Recently, Lewis Tanner, DignityUSA Secretary, and I were discussing DignityUSA’s Convention 2009 in San Francisco next summer. He asked me to write a few words about it and why I never miss a convention. Like the rest of you, I haven’t received the latest information about details. However, with registration come some free meals, a dinner-dance and loads of fun. Here are some suggestions:

By Bart Coyle, Dignity/Sarasota Moving to Florida eight years ago was supposed to be the beginning of the retirement phase of my partner’s and my life. That didn’t happen. Right from the “get go” my partner got involved with and became president of the GLBT Bowling League, the Chairman of Sarasota Pride Fest and a board member of the ALSO Out Youth program. I became a part-time volunteer at Bethesda House, a food bank for Persons Living with AIDS. I was one of the founders of Dignity/Sarasota and subsequently the President of the Board for the first four years. I later became Dignity’s representative to the Gulf Coast Affirming Interfaith Network (GAIN). GAIN conducts two interfaith services every year: World AIDS Day and a service that opens Sarasota’s Pride Fest season. I never understood retired people who say they have less time now than they did when they were working, I fully understand that now.

As many of you probably recall, when I was first approached about taking on the role of DignityUSA President, I had many concerns. The organization was facing enormous financial and leadership challenges, membership was declining, and it was unclear what Dignity’s role should be. I questioned whether I was the person best suited to lead our organization’s response to these challenges, and was unsure about the level of commitment remaining among our members.

DignityUSA urges all of our members and friends to join the nationwide simultaneous rallies/protests against the passage of California's Proposition 8, which will take away the right for same-gender couples to marry. Events are being held in every state of the nation at 1:30 PM Eastern Time, 12:30 PM Central Time, 11:30 AM Mountain Time, 10:30 AM Pacific Time, and 8:30 AM in Hawaii on Saturday, November 15. For a list of events in your area, please visit http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/?t=anon

To the Dignity community:From time to time, member chapters of Dignity have requested copies of the new DignityUSA logo for use in publications, advertisements, T-shirts, and their own websites. DignityUSA is pleased to make them available for such uses. Below you will find information about using the DignityUSA logo, as well as several options for downloading it to your computer.

Last week's passage of Arizona's Proposition 102, Proposition 8 in California, and Proposition 2 in Florida amending these states' constitutions to prevent same-gender marriage was profoundly disappointing to all who believe in fairness and equality. However, I firmly believe that this represents a temporary setback in the ongoing work to ensure justice for all families, and want to point to some of the signs of hope which can serve as building blocks for future successes.

Today, as the U.S. bishops begin their meeting in Baltimore, we express our dismay regarding the bishops' use of significant resources - including $200,000 toward Proposition 8 in California - to block same-gender couples from access to the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. We are opposed to ballot initiatives against same-gender marriage because this takes the dangerous path of putting the fundamental civil rights of a class of U.S. citizens up for a vote.

By Monica, a member of DignityUSA in Dallas/Ft. Worth area, winner of DignityUSA’s Retreat Scholarship On July 24, 2008, a group of young adults from Call To Action (CTA) landed in New Orleans to spend three days reflecting and rediscovering “home.” This CTA Next Generation retreat entitled, “FINDING HOME IN A BROKEN WORLD: A Retreat on Environmental Racism for Seekers of Spirituality and Justice,” gave each of us a bit of rope to hold onto in the blizzard of apathy, neglect and injustice we find swirling around us today.

By Deb Myers and Nickie Valdez, Co-Chairs, Couples Ministry Committee

The DignityUSA Biennial Convention will be held next year at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco CA, from July 2nd through the 5th 2009. Over 400 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, as well as our families and friends, are expected to attend.

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors met July 25-27, 2008, in Denver at the Hampton Inn & Suites Denver-Downtown. The weekend started early for most of the board who traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday, July 25th. DignityUSA President Mark Matson wanted board members to see some of what makes his home state a natural wonder. Those who went into the mountains did see God’s majesty — rock formations, varying weather, unique flora and brave bicyclists who made it up those peaks.

The Parc 55 Hotel, located in the city’s financial district and next to the Union Square shopping area and theater districts, will serve as the convention site. Handy public transportation is available. The Convention Committee has secured room rates of $119 per night for single/double, plus $20 each for the 3rd and 4th person (plus room tax). Kids under 12 are free.

Developed by DignityUSA with the assistance of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Early in July 2008, Operations Manager Peggy Burns opened an email from the Director of Religious Education at a California parish. The woman was seeking assis- tance for a mother and son, members of her parish, who were going on retreat together. The son had recently come out as transgender.

Plan your 2009 summer vacation with DignityUSA! DignityUSA Convention July 2-5, 2009 Parc Fifty Five Hotel, Union Square, San Francisco   Join us in 2009 as we return to San Francisco for DignityUSA's 19th biennial Convention where we will celebrate 40 years of ministry to the LGBT Catholic community.

When I started Dignity [in 1969], in the eyes of the world it was probably a very small thing. However, in the microcosm of my own life, it was a monumental gamble. The fact is that we are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.  I think that is what Dignity is all about. Teaching people to dare to be themselves, to risk being open to love, to dare to open their hearts and let the world peek in.

Begun in 1969& in San Diego under the leadership of Fr. Patrick Nidorf, OSA, first as a counseling group and then a support group in Los Angeles, DignityUSA has been a national organization since 1973.

Theme We Are All One in the Spirit Dates September 4-7, 1981 Co-chairs Ann Butchartl/Joseph Tozzi Major Speakers Ginny Apuzzo, Gregory Baum, John McNeill, SJ Registration Fee $75 Site Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel Registrations

 ThemeDignity International ConventionDatesSeptember 2 to 5, 1977Major SpeakersGregory Baum, Barbara Gittings, and Patricia Nell WarrenRegistration Fee$46SiteBismarck HotelRegistrations430Membership4,000Chapters70National Officers elected

 ThemeEnactment of our Statement of Position and PurposeDatesAugust 29 to September 1, 1975Major Speakers

Theme "The Spirit is Calling Us" Dates August 31 to September 3, 1973 Major Speaker Father John J. McNeill, S.J. Special Guest Father Patrick Nidorf O.S.A. Registration Fee $7.50 Site Holiday Inn, 1755 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, California

Am I Blue? Coming Out From the Silence. Ed. Marion Dane. 1994. Annie On My Mind. Nancy Garden. Harper Colins, 1992. Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay and Lesbian History for High School and College Students. Kevin Jennings, editor.  Alyson Publications, 1994. Being Different: Lambda Youths Speak Out. Larry D. Brimmmer. Grolier, 1995. Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out. Ed. Loraine Hutchins & Lani Kaahumahu.  1991.

Below are some recommended books about religion and homosexuality:Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair: My Spiritual Journey. John McNeill. Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.Can Homophobia Be Cured? Wrestling with Questions that Challenge the Church. Bruce Hilton, Abington Press, 1992.Coming Out to God: Prayers for Lesbians and Gay Men, Their Families and Friends. Chris Glaser. Westminster John Knox Press, 1991.

How have you felt when people have shouted "Dyke!" or "Faggot!" at you or someone you know? You do what you have to do to survive, right? Either retreat in secrecy and fear or throw it back in their faces. With that kind of name calling, you just know they wouldn't understand. At the heart of both reactions is a longing to fit in. 

Blessed are you, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight sister or brother—you are a unique and glorious reflection of God's astounding creativity and love!Blessed are you when you dare to bring the truth of who you are into loving relationship with others—you heal and strengthen the body of Christ!Blessed are you who challenge stereotypes and caricatures—you bring light to the world!Blessed are you who speak out against religious hypocrisy—you help to birth justice and peace!

Faith-Based:“Truth, Love, Faith, and Homosexuality” by Sam Sinnett, President of DignityUSAScientific: “Statement on Sexual Orientation and Conversion Therapies”by Mark Pope, Ed.D., Division of Counseling & Family Therapy, University ofMissouri – St. Louis, MO Related article:

It is very important to identify yourself as a Catholic who supports marriage equality. Talk a little about the role faith plays in your life. If official Church teachings on homosexuality have influenced your beliefs at any time, be honest about that. Talk about why this issue is important to you. Be honest and specific about your relationship to marriage equality.

Solidarity Sunday began in 1995 when the Board of Directors of DignityUSA recognized that 70–80% of American Catholics supported equal rights for gays and lesbians. It was decided to invite these people to join in solidarity with us and to work with us to end verbal and physical abuse.

Initiatives to deny or rescind basic civil rights have been on ballots in many states. Hate crimes legislation: Only 15 states and the District of Columbia include sexual orientation in their hate crimes statutes.

Some comments we have received...

Please substitute for the word "God" the most appropriate to your faith tradition. God, You are the Creator and Lover of all. You wish us to live in solidarity with each other and to rejoice in our diversity.

I pledge: I will work for civil and human rights for all people, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and intersex. Civil rights are not special rights. I will seek to stop jokes and unkind language about anyone, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, queers and intersex when spoken in my presence. Words that hurt and bigotry are not funny.

Schedule a candlelight service of remembrance for those affected by HIV/AIDS.Have a service of healing for those living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers.Observe a moment of silence during worship for those who have died of AIDS.During liturgy pray for people infected with HIV, those living with AIDS, and family and friends who are affected by HIV/AIDS.Distribute HIV/AIDS Fact sheets and red ribbons for the Sunday before World AIDS Day.Invite those living with HIV/AIDS to share their stories.Have Chapter members become involved wit

Key leaders from America's religious, academic and media communities gathered at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta from November 8-11, 1998, for the first Convocation on AIDS and Religion in America.

In 1985 DignityUSA established a "day of fasting and prayer for HIV/AIDS to be observed on the first Sunday of Lent and that each Chapter is requested to hold an appropriate service on that day in memory of all those who have died of AIDS and to provide comfort and encouragement to the partners, families and friends of these people and all other concerned individuals." (HOD Resolution # 20)

Integrating Leather Sexuality with Christian Spirituality An affiliate of DignityUSA

Boston, MA —Leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, as well as their families and allies, expressed outrage at the Vatican’s order of immediate excommunication of women ordained to the priesthood, as well as the bishops who ordained them.

Monday, June 16, 2008 — DignityUSA Vice President Lourdes Rodgriguez-Nogues is scheduled to appear on CNN en Espanol’s show Encuentro tonight in a live segment during the 6:00 PM hour, Eastern time. She will discuss the beginning of marriage for same-gender couples in California from the perspective of having been married in Massachusetts four years ago this week.

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We will speak the truth of our lives as the Spirit inspires us. All the People of God and the institutional Church must hear our Voice. Through DignityUSA, the Voice of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Catholics will be heard! You can amplify and empower this Voice with your membership in and support for DignityUSA. Does joining cost me anything? All members are asked to support DignityUSA with dues of $50 annually.

We believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual and intersex Catholics in our diversity are members of Christ's mystical body, numbered among the People of God. We have an inherent dignity because God created us, Christ died for us, and the Holy Spirit sanctified us in Baptism, making us temples of the Spirit, and channels through which God's love becomes visible.

DignityUSA’s weekly electronic spiritual and liturgical resource for our members and potential members. More…

Pues para nosotros la gente católica de ambiente, DignidadEEUU significará el ministerio mas antiguo, inclusive y progresivo integrado por catolicós de ambiente: lesbianas, hombres gay, bisexuales y transgeneros, nuestras familias, y los que nos apoyan.

DignityUSA works for respect and justice for people of all sexual orientations, genders, and gender identities—especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons—in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy, and support. (DignityUSA Mission Statement) In local chapters across the United States, we worship openly with other LGBTQI and supportive Catholics, socialize, share personal and spiritual concerns, and work together on educational and justice issues.

Please join us in this litany. Our response will be, Loving God, hear us.Loving God, we come today to pray for the peoples of the world, Your world, whose lives are touched by the words and actions of Pope Benedict XVI. We especially lift up to you all people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and those who have been touched by HIV/AIDS. And so we pray…

Remarks made at demonstration at the United Nations during Pope Benedict XVI’s Pastoral Visit to the United States By Lourdes Rodríguez-Nogués Vice-President, DignityUSAWhen I came out to my mother, the first question she asked me was:“What about God?”I think that what she really was asking was:         “Do you still love God?”         “Does God still love you?”         “Can you go to Mass? Would you?”         “Is God going to reject you?”         “Are you going to abandon God?”

By Marianne Duddy-Burke Executive Director, DignityUSA As Catholics, we believe that all people throughout the world are beloved daughters and sons of one loving God. All of us are sisters and brothers. And we share an even deeper bond with members of the Catholic Church, as we are joined by a common Baptism, and through our sharing of the Eucharist. It is in this spirit that we come today, to call on Pope Benedict XVI to honor his responsibility to the people of his flock, and to the people of the world.

Group Will Call on Pope to End Anti-Gay Campaign, Celebrate Advances Made by Gay Catholics Boston, MA—DignityUSA will sponsor a series of public events and witnesses during Pope Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to the United States April 15-20. Events will be held in both Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Lectionaries DignityUSA does not endorse any of these products but provides this information for your benefit. All sources are listed alphabetically. Officially approved for the U.S. The bishops have approved a new translation for the lectionary. Catholic Book Publishing Company 77 West End Road, Totowa, NJ 07512-1405 (973) 890-2400 Years A, B, C in one book: Cloth Bound Pulpit edition 8 1/2 x 11"

Hymnals from GIA Publications Hymnals from Oregon Catholic Press Other Hymnals

Vision Dignity is a spirit filled community recognized for outstanding quality liturgies that nourish and sustain its members to live the Gospel admonition to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, support the grieving and lonely, and welcome the stranger.

Recipe A (thick, wheat flavor) 1.5 cups white flour 0.5 tsp. baking soda 1.5 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. molasses 0.5 tsp. salt 1 cup buttermilk 0.5 cup whole wheat flour  

Welcome to the home page of the DignityUSA Committee on Worship & Liturgy. This website has been established to provide Dignity Chapters with a resource of information on all matters concerning Worship & Liturgy. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Dignity-Integrity/Rochester Responds to New York Roman Catholic Bishops’ Opposition to Same-sex Marriage Bill Rochester NY—In the midst of Rochester’s annual celebration of Pride, it is particularly frustrating that the Roman Catholic Bishops of New York State have tried to negate the source of our pride yet again.  A few weeks ago they published an article in every Sunday bulletin in the diocese, “Catholics decry same-sex bill” (Catholic Courier, July

March 16, 2007 –  DignityUSA President Sam Sinnett sharply criticized the decision of Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis to forbid the celebration of Mass at an upcoming conference on homosexuality and Catholicism sponsored by New Ways Ministry, an organization that seeks to build bridges between the Catholic Church and the gay and lesbian community.  According to conference organizers, about half of the more than 500 registered conference attendees are priests or nuns, while the rest are mainly Catholic lay people involved in professional ministry or the parents of gay,

Dear DignityUSA Members and Donors, We have three (3) important and timely announcements to share with you. DignityUSA Announces New Office Location Saturday, January 20, 2007: "Annie's Mailbox", (formerly Dear Ann Landers) Sunday, February 4, 2007: DignityUSA National Membership Meeting in Dayton OH 1. DignityUSA Announces New Office Location with New Contact Information

The leaders of DignityUSA reacted sadly to the impending removal of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit from active ministry. DignityUSA President Sam Sinnett stated: “Bishop Gumbleton has been one of the most powerful—and now nearly unique—voices for justice and inclusion in our Church for many years, particularly on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse by clergy, the poor, women in the Church, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In addition, he has been a tireless advocate for peace in Iraq and elsewhere.

  “By the grace of God I am what I am, and God's grace to me has not been without effect.” (I Corinthians 15:10)

  Washington, DC – DignityUSA finds the proposed document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” to be deeply flawed. Therefore, DignityUSA has joined with some other members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) to ask the bishops not to approve any such guidelines without further consultation with the faithful – especially those LGBT Catholics who are most affected.

An expected set of “pastoral guidelines” scheduled for review by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at its annual Fall meeting in Baltimore begins with an erroneous understanding of what it means to be homosexual, Catholic reform leaders say in a letter to U.S. Catholic bishops.

Today the New Jersey Supreme Court held that committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process. DignityUSA is proud to have been an "Amici" signatory to an Amicus Brief on behalf of the successful seven same-sex couples.

  In conjunction with our allies in the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, DignityUSA issued the following statement about the United States Catholic bishops' proposed guidelines, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care":

Washington, DC – Debra Weill has stepped down from the position of DignityUSA executive director effective October 8, 2006, upon mutual agreement with the DignityUSA board of directors, announced Sam Sinnett, president of DignityUSA.“We are grateful for Debbie’s service to DignityUSA and her commitment to the goals of equality and inclusion for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Catholics in the church and society,” said Sinnett.

Vatican communique claims the growing acceptance of gays and lesbians threatens the human desire for peaceful coexistence

 Washington State Gay Catholics to continue working for Marriage Equality despite disappointing State Supreme Court ruling

Washington, DC — DignityUSA is pleased to announce the results of the recent national election. The directors elected to the national board are:Leo Egashira (Seattle, WA)Joe Gallagher (Dayton, OH)Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues (Boston, MA), andMario Torrigino (San Francisco, CA).They will begin their two year term on October 1, 2006. Also beginning two year terms in October are board-elected directors Lewis Tanner (New York, NY) and Tom Yates (Washington, DC).

Boston, MA and Washington DC—The leaders of Dignity/Boston and DignityUSA, groups representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and allies, spoke out against pressure brought by Catholic leaders forcing an end to the involvement of Catholic Charities of Boston in adoption.

President of DignityUSADuring February, 2006 we are seeing billboards along St. Louis, MO highways advertising the "Love Won Out" conference sponsored by Focus on the Family and Exodus International, two related Christian organizations. The signs show a man saying: "I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How."It is vitally important to present an alternative Christian faith perspective. My Catholic faith tradition and many other religious traditions teach that faith is not contrary to reason or scientific knowledge, but in harmony with them.

By John McNeill February, 2006 The Vatican in its recent instruction barring gays from the seminary has given a vicious collective slap in the face, not only to gay priests and seminarians, but to every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered person on the face of the earth.  The instruction from Pope Benedict calls homosexual orientation an “objective disorder” and any sexual actions that flow from that orientation are contrary to the divine will and profoundly sinful. Note that this judgment applies not only to seminarians and clergy struggling to live in accordance with their vow of chastity, but to all gay men and lesbian women. Any effort by a gay person to reach out for human sexual love, no matter what the circumstances, is judged as evil. Scripture says that if anyone loves, they know God, because God is love. The Vatican says that if gay people enter into a human sexual love relation they know evil and will separate themselves from the love of God.

Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical letter asks Church to extend true charity to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendersWashington, DC — DignityUSA applauds Pope Benedict’s vision of universal love and calls on the Church to extend God’s love and enlightened competent charitable service to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

Calls on Seminaries to Continue to Welcome Gay Students

October 31, 2005:   For the first time in each of their histories, Soulforce Inc., DignityUSA, and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) are co-sponsoring a Global Week of Prayer, November 6-12, calling all members and allies to prayer as an effort to restore religious equality.

Gay Catholic Group DignityUSA Condemns New Vatican Inspection of U.S. Seminaries for Homosexuality

Gay Catholic Group DignityUSA and California Chapters call upon Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Protection Act

Call on Church Leaders to Welcome Homosexual Families into the ChurchMontreal, Quebec – Organized gay and lesbian Catholics in the United States and Canada applaud the government of Canada in legalizing same-sex marriage after much debate and bitter opposition from the Canadian Catholic Bishops and the Vatican.

Call on Catholic Leaders to Welcome their Families into the Church

Several Priests Who Signed 2003 Statement in Support of Gays Are No Longer In Active Ministry

Calls on Americans to Consider Value of Same-Sex Marriages to All of Society

Non-Profit Executive Brings Expertise from PFLAG and Community Centers

Dear Sister and Brother members of DignityUSA,It was good to be on the sidewalks of downtown Chicago yesterday in front of the Fairmont Hotel with the Chicago area Coalition of Concerned Catholics formed by members of Call to Action (CTA), Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), CTA Chicagoland, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Dignity/Chicago, and the task force on accountability from several parishes during the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting of our American bishops.

Dear members of DignityUSA:As the members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gather in Chicago this week, I am proud to stand with our allies in “Call to Action” (CTA) and participate in their activities as a representative of DignityUSA and a member of CTA. CTA has planned an open discussion on the range of critical issues facing our church and will be demonstrating outside the bishops’ meeting site demanding the resignations of those bishops who covered up sexual abuse of children by priests.

Following is a major media article featuring DignityUSA and some of our faith-filled Catholic members. It is a marvelous example of how DignityUSA reaches out to the 60,000,000+ Catholics here in the United States who make up the People of God — the real Church — and to other religious citizens of our country. We are given a high platform to counter-balance what the Vatican and our own US Bishops say about GLBT Catholics and our issues. Ingrained beliefs and prejudice inevitably fall to the wayside when faced with the truth of our lives. If we do not speak who will.

Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Catholics Reaffirms its MissionWashington, DC — The leadership of DignityUSA, the organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Catholics reacted with dismay to today's election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the new Pope.

DignityUSA President Sam Sinnett and Mary Hunt of WATER were interviewed on Friday, April 8 by KDVS 90.3 FM radio in Davis, California. This segment of the program "Speaking in Tongues" dealt with the death of Pope John Paul II. Error text Note: Interview begins part of the way into the audio clip.)

Holds Pontiff in Prayer But Notes Serious Injustices Against Gay People During His PapacyWashington, DC – The leadership of DignityUSA, the organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Catholics, marked the death of Pope John Paul II with prayer and reflection and called on DignityUSA members and Catholics everywhere to hold the Pope and the Church in prayer during this time of momentous change.

  More than 600 people from all walks of life met on the evening of March 21 at the LGBT Center in San Diego to lend support to the McCusker family in light of the recent tragic decision of Bishop Robert Brom to deny a funeral Mass for John McCusker in a Catholic Church (see original press release…). A number of television networks were in attendance for the special meeting.

Washington, DC – The leadership of DignityUSA is calling on Bishop Robert Brom of the Diocese of San Diego, California, to apologize to the family of John McCusker, a local gay business owner and community activist, as well as to the GLBT community in San Diego for turning the untimely death of John into a chance to twist church law and wrongfully denying him a Mass of Christian Burial.

DignityUSA, the foremost organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Catholics along with our families, friends, straight allies, and other supportive people of faith, and Dignity/Seattle, the local chapter, are urging Washington Supreme Court Justices to uphold King County and Thurston County Court rulings last year which declared that denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage violates the state Constitution

As legislatures meet across the country and address the issue of civil rights protections for GLBT people and our re