FAITH & SEXUALITY
MONDAY 26 APRIL - 11:30AM
Faith and sexuality is still a taboo subject, the “elephant in the room”. In this religion and belief panel, the first of its kind, meet lesbians from various faith groups, sharing their experiences about living at this intersection. Chaired by Jayne Ozanne, who recently resigned from the government’s LGBT Panel, learn about how our panellists have been able to be their fully authentic selves in their faith communities and what this has meant to them and those around them.
MEET THE PANEL:
Jayne Ozanne - Director of the Ozanne Foundation
Jayne Ozanne is a prominent gay evangelical who works to ensure the full inclusion of all LGBTQ+ people of faith. She is Director of the Ozanne Foundation, which works with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender. Jayne was a member of the UK government’s LGBT Advisory Panel until her recent resignation in protest at the lack of progress towards a ban on so-called Conversion Therapy. As a Member of General Synod, Jayne led the debate on the dangers of Conversion Therapy within the Church of England in 2017, which resulted in them calling on the government to ban it. She remains actively engaged through her writings and broadcasts in helping the Church and government develop and promote an affirming, inclusive ethic towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Mandy Ford - Dean of Bristol,
Mandy is the Dean of Bristol, a role which combines leadership of the cathedral with a place on the Bishop’s staff as the senior priest in the diocese. She has been in a Civil Partnership with Anne, a former primary school teacher, for over ten years. Prior to taking up her current role, Mandy was Director of Discipleship and Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark with responsibility for the training and professional development of clergy. In this, and previous roles, Mandy has been involved in facilitating dialogue between those who hold differing understandings of human sexuality in the Church of England. Mandy studied theology in Oxford, and has a PhD in ethics and biblical interpretation.
Ruby Almeida - LGBT rights campaigner and media lecturer
Ruby is an LGBT rights campaigner and media lecturer, was born in Jodhpur, India. Reared in deep seated religious practice, Ruby identified as both strongly Catholic and Indian from an early age. Trained at the National Catholic Radio and Television Centre in North London, she formed her own video production company. She was a Senior Lecturer in Film and Broadcast at London Metropolitan University. Ruby works for Landings, a programme to support baptised and alienated Catholics who now wish to return to the Catholic church. She was Chair of Quest, a pastoral support group for LGBT Catholics in UK, for eight years and since 2015 is the Co-Chair of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. She set up Rainbow Catholics India, the first Catholic LGBT group in India, in October 2018.
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah - Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah graduated in Sociology from LSE (1977) and engaged in radical feminist activism, research, writing and editing before embarking on five-years rabbinic training at Leo Baeck College in London. Ordained by Rabbi Lionel Blue in 1989, Elli became the first lesbian rabbi to lead a mainstream congregation in the world. A member of the Liberal Judaism working party on same-sex relationships that created a liturgy for same-sex ceremonies published in December 2005 and went on to support the Equal Marriage campaign, Elli has been engaged in enabling LGBTQI+ inclusion at Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue since becoming the congregation’s rabbi in December 2000. Author of Trouble-Making Judaism (David Paul Books, 2012) and dozens of articles, and co-editor of Women Rabbis in the Pulpit with Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts (Kulmus Publications, 2015).
Rahni Kaur – Feminist Activist
Rahni Kaur is a Panjabi sikh. She has 3 decades of working to end violence against the women and girls sector. In her various roles, Rahni has worked as a frontline practitioner, counsellor, team leader, senior manager and CEO. She has been instrumental in leading the strategic direction, design and delivery of frontline services including refuge, advocacy, outreach, counselling and training provision for Black and minoritised women and girls. Rahni specialised in working with trafficked women and girls; HIV positive young people; addressing racial harassment across housing, education and employment; sexual violence; community development; women whose partners were in prison and homelessness. As a committed Black feminist activist Rahni has a long history of involvement in grassroots movements for change and focusing on human rights, equality and social justice.