Dear Straight People: Kelvin’s Greenbelt rallying call to us all
One of the highlights of this year's Greenbelt festival at Boughton House in Northamptonshire, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, was Kelvin Holdsworth's talk 'Dear Straight People….' which you can read on his blog here. A heartfelt plea for our straight allies to draw alongside us and work together for change, Kelvin was challenging of those who profess to support us, but find themselves unable to stand up and be counted – to be visible and vocal allies of LGBT people in the church and beyond. Of course – that lukewarm response isn't the exclusive preserve of our straight friends – and nor does Kelvin suggest such in his talk – but it presents all of us with a challenge about how we move forward together, at this time of unprecedented opportunity.
As I stood listening to Kelvin I wondered, as I do every year at Greenbelt, how we can transform that enthusiastic support for LGBT inclusion into real action for change. Because Greenbelt has long been a place of real affirmation and support; successive speaker, including Gene Robinson, Peterson Toscano, Padraig O Tuama, John Bell, Mark Oakley, James Alison and this year for the first time, Ruth Hunt, have received a warm welcome and enthusiastic support. But how do we make this count when we all go home?
I want to challenge those of you who were at Greenbelt, those of you who've read Kelvin's talk, those of you who would like to be part of a growing movement for change – what are you going to do about it now, when the (metaphorical) tent has been packed away, and we've returned to ordinary life? Who are the Dear Straight People who we need on side?
What can you do to challenge one of the 'Dear Straight People'? To engage them in the work which lies ahead?
- Could you ask them to join LGCM, or support our work? Members give us our voice and our sense of purpose, and regular financial support is crucial for us in planning for the months and years ahead.
- Could you challange them to get visible? There are loads of ideas on our website for making your support, and your church's support, clear for everyone to see – make your commitment count.
- Could you encourage them to join our mailing list? It's a little thing, but it means that when we've an urgent need for help, support or action, we know who we can call on.
These are small steps, but taken together, they will make all the difference to our direction and speed of travel.
So – which Dear Straight Friend is waiting for you to invite them to be part of all we have hoped, plannned, dreamed and prayed for?