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Putting the T back in LGBT

April 10, 2010

Julie and Jo, her partner of 37 years. They have three married sons and four grandsons.

Putting the T back in LGBT
Dr. Julie Nemecek
Sunday April 18, 2010
10 a.m. Sermon followed by soup and salad lunch
12 noon Presentation
Plymouth UCC
4010 Kalamazoo Ave. SE

You don’t have to attend the worship service in order to participate in the presentation.

On Sunday, April 18, Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek will deliver the sermon at Grand Rapids’ Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and share an hour long presentation following the service, Putting the T back in LGBT.

An ordained Baptist minister and Presbyterian Church elder, Nemecek served at an inner city Chicago church for 20 years before taking a position as a professor with a Christian university. A transexual, Nemecek lost her job there in 2007 when she took medical steps to find “congruency between her mind and her body.” The university labeled those steps as “unchristian behavior.”

GRIID spoke with Nemecek Friday morning; she explained why she brings her message to churches. “Some of the strongest resistance to equality as far as legislation and city ordinances comes from religious groups. It’s very important that there are voices from the faith community that can respond,” she said. “The research shows 80% of the general public support equality for LGBTQ people in employment or housing. Among conservative Christians, there is a flip flop, only 20%–but they are so vocal.”

When asked how members of the West Michigan community can support LGBTQ rights, reduce intolerance and erase the hate, Nemecek responded, “It’s important for straight allies to be willing to speak up. Silence is the greatest asset of those that would deny equality to LGBTQ people. Edmund Burke said, ‘All it will take for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.’ There are a lot of good people who believe equality for all Americans is important, especially when it is not a choice or a lifestyle, but who you are. Accepting people for who they are and making your voice known is the greatest thing that can happen.”

Nemecek also encourages straight people to join groups such as PFLAG to show their support. Plymouth UCC shows it support by openly and fully welcoming gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons into its congregation. Its Open and Affirming Committee helps church and community members to understand and be involved in GLBT issues and formerly hosted a transgender support group.

Dr. Nemecek serves on the boards of Michigan Equality, Soulforce, Michigan Fairness Forum, and PFLAG Jackson as well as the advisory board of Trans Youth Family Allies (TYFA).

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