Please register your interest for upcoming seminars HERE
Calling all counsellors (youth, telephone, school) and social/health-care/youth/community/LGBTQ workers, pastors, church leaders, chaplains and mental health professionals.
#WalkingBetweenWorlds is a specifically designed training program. In one day you can get an insider and in-depth view into the complexities, conflicts and challenges for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people from faith backgrounds.
Understanding the LGBTQ faith person’s worldview and belief systems, as well as the unique personal and psychological obstacles they face, equips community workers and service providers to work more effectively with clients.
“Do I live a life of torment and accept that’s the price I have to pay. Is there a way in the middle? It’s doing my head in. It’s hard enough to be gay to begin with, let alone being a gay Christian. Many people outside the gay community don’t or won’t accept those of us that are Christians. They tend to ridicule, mock and judge us. When you’re a gay Christian, you’re not accepted in the straight community nor the gay community and even worse the church itself.”
LGBTQ people of faith experience two worlds, often intensely opposed to each other. They experience the usual issues of resolving their sexuality, coming out, finding their place in the community and learning to live authentically in a straight world. Often, however, they experience these with greater intensity and have additional issues to deal with. Research has shown that LGBTQ people from faith backgrounds are one of the highest risk groups in our community in several key areas including, anxiety, depression and suicidality.
The impacts of faith/sexuality conflict
- Intense cognitive dissonance because the acceptance or rejection of their sexuality has eternal consequences.
- Suicidality. Research shows this group has either thoughts of, or attempts to suicide more often than those from non-faith backgrounds.
- Mental health issues. The dissonance created by the perceived conflict of faith and sexuality causes anxiety, stress and depression.
- Self-destructive behaviours. When people leave religious backgrounds, they are often left with strong feelings of failure and shame.
- Obsessive behaviours and addictions. Unhealthy behaviours develop when people suppress or deny their sexual orientation.
- Trauma and grief. Extricating oneself from the religion can be traumatic and the loss of family, friends and faith devastating.
- Internalised homophobia. Even after coming out, years of negative conditioning and self-hatred continue to have an impact.
- Loss of purpose and self-esteem. The new gay identity, initially, may not be as profound as the previous Christian identity.
- Inability to connect. Leaving the church means the entire social network is lost and the new LGBTQ world can be difficult to negotiate.
- Higher risk of HIV & STI infection. People from church backgrounds rarely have access to safe-sex education.
- Discrimination. LGBTQ people of faith can experience discrimination not only from their churches but also within the LGBTQ community.
Who should attend?
- LGBTQ community workers
- Social workers
- Mental health professionals
- School counsellors
- Telephone counsellors
- LGBTQ liaison officers
- Church workers
- Healthcare workers
- Youth workers
- People interested in faith/sexuality
Learning outcomes include:
This practical training program provides an in-depth look into the world of LGBTQ people of faith by understanding their contexts, identifying their issues and giving you tools that will assist them on their journey.
- The complexities, various layers and how to separate issues of faith and sexuality
- Separate strategies to resolve belief system, sexual identity and scripture
- How to create non-judgmental, safe spaces for LGBTQ people of faith
- Identify specific issues faced by LGBTQ people of faith
- The do’s and don’t’s working with LGBTQ people of faith
- What additional support mechanisms are available
- ‘Closet hokey pokey’ – what is it and why it happens to LGBTQ people of faith
Anthony Venn-Brown was a popular preacher in the mega-churches of Australia. His bestselling autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning’ details his 22 years attempting to change his homosexuality through counselling, prayer, exorcisms, ‘ex-gay’ programs and 16 years of marriage.
Anthony is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI). Anthony has presented at conferences in Australia, USA, Asia and the UK and provided training for national and international organisations. Since 2000, Anthony has also worked extensively, one on one, with individuals seeking resolution of faith and/or their sexuality. Anthony is a respected community leader, was twice voted one of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians, winner of the ACON Health and Wellbeing Award and in 2020, Anthony was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the LGBTIQA+ community.