This issue: Hello, my name is… Dignity Takes Its Message New Places More Than a Monologue Solidarity Sunday Chapter News Board Happenings DUSA Announcements Donate to Dignity Dateline Submission Guidelines Chapter Anniversaries
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Hello, my name is... By Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, DignityUSA
er, aught D , ic e f i W Cathol , t s i g o l A Psycho d, DUS o G f o Child ent Presid Hello, my name is Lourdes RodriguezNogues, and I am the newly elected President of DignityUSA. At the Convention in DC last July, I had the opportunity and the honor to address you and share with you the vision that Lewis and I share for the future of DignityUSA. Logan tells me that my remarks are on the website and appear on YouTube, so I gather that by now you all are familiar with what I said. No need to repeat myself. This October 15th to 17th the Board of DignityUSA will be meeting in Detroit, and together we will be fleshing out our vision by identifying priori-
ties and setting goals for the next two years. Lewis and I are excited about that, and are happy to be joined by visionary and hard working Board members and staff. In the coming issues of Dateline, we will have the opportunity to share with you those goals as the Board moves forward after our fall meeting. Today, however, I thought I would introduce myself to you in a different manner. I want to tell you a little more about my life journey and what has brought me to this moment in time, and to my passionate involvement with Dignity, in my local Boston chapter, and with DignityUSA. I was born in Cuba in the late 40’s, the oldest daughter of a middle class Catholic family. I went to Catholic school and was raised to be a responsible, good girl, who followed the rules and believed in God. I did all that, but I also asked a lot of questions, and as my mother liked to say, “You protest too much, (literal translation); you’d think you were a Protestant.” That spirit of “protesting” and asking hard questions has never left me. It has served me well on many occasions, but at times, it has gotten me into some trouble. I do not know what my life would had been like if history had not intervened. But it did, indeed. As a result of the arrival of Fidel Castro, my parents made the decision to leave Cuba. Many of you know that I left at the age of thirteen, with my ten year old brother, as an unaccompanied minor, and came to the U.S. under the auspices of Catholic Charities. That experience, too complex to go into here (will be glad to tell any of you more about it over a drink some day) had a profound effect on me. It definitely reinforced my “holy stubbornness,” made me independent and self reliant (almost to a fault), deepened my relationship with Jesus, gave me a new and firm understanding and commitment to (Continued on page 2)
DignityUSA Board of Directors Officers Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues - President Lewis Tanner - Vice President Paula Lavallee - Secretary Glenn Crane - Treasurer Directors Bill Baird Mark Clark Leo Egashira Jack Frielingsdorf Alice Knowles Honour Maddock Mark Matson Linda Pieczynski Victor Postemski Patricia Russell Tom Yates National Office DignityUSA PO Box 376 Medford, MA 02155-0004 Voice: 202-861-0017 or 800-877-8797 Fax: 781-397-0584 www.dignityusa.org [email protected]
Staff Marianne Duddy-Burke – Executive Director [email protected]
Voice: 617-669-7810 Peggy Burns – Operations Manager [email protected]
Dateline & QV: Quarterly Voice Publications Team Leo Egashira – Publications Committee Chair [email protected]
Laura Monroe – Editor [email protected]
Peggy Burns – Proofreader Paul Keaveney – Proofreader DignityUSA is a not-for-profit religious corporation organized under U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code 501(c)(3).
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speak about injustice, and helped me develop my ability to be outspoken and “in charge.” I eventually joined my parents and other younger siblings in Puerto Rico where I went to Catholic high school and college – fertile ground for my “protesting,” my high achievement drive, and my sense of responsibility to answer to the Gospel call. I even thought I would want to be a priest. Well, you know what happened to that idea! In 1977 I came to Boston to go to graduate school in Counseling Psychology, and all hell broke loose. Talk about a liberation. I came out, had my first “real” relationship with a woman, and found Dignity. I was never the same after that. I reinvented myself professionally and became a psychologist (I had been a high school teacher before that). I have been working as a psychotherapist almost 30 years now, and profoundly love what I do – a calling, really. As I serve as witness and companion to so many people in their life journeys (sometimes a very painful one), I realize that the sense of hope that I hold with and for so many is rooted in a trust and a belief in redemption, with a lower case r as well as an upper case R. There is definitely a connection between how I do my work and my spiritual self. I believe this has enriched my life and the lives of those I work with daily. In terms of my integration of my sexual orientation and my faith, I cannot say that I ever broke up with God, before or after my coming out. And in some ways, I initially did not break up with the Church either. My faith deepened as I grew up in other ways: personally, professionally, and sexually. And I continued to look for ways to express my faith in action and in community. That is when the Church failed me, and I began to see that there was no room for all of me, with no part of me in the closet, in a parish church under the “sanction” of the current “teachings.” Dignity/Boston became my home. In this community I have found a place where I can “protest” and find solidarity; I can be a leader and find compatriots; I can express my doubts and find comfort and challenge; I can be myself and experience the love of (Continued on page 3)
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God reflected in my friends. In Dignity/Boston I also met Diane, eventually realizing she would be the love of my life. Twenty years later that still holds true. It is because of what I found in my Dignity community, and because of the Catholic woman I have become there, that my commitment to the work of Dignity has deepened and has found roots. The hierarchical church did not have much to offer me, but the church that is Dignity does. Dignity has called me forth: Cuban, woman, stubborn protester, psychologist, lesbian, married woman, faithful, feminist, Red Sox fan. It has nurtured me and challenged me. And here I am. That is what Dignity does so well. It welcomes us in all of who we are, to be the church that Jesus envisioned; and fills us with the passion needed to be a powerful force for justice in today’s broken world. No more, no less. I am honored to serve as your President, and I am calling you forth to join together to continue to amplify the voice by sharing the truths of our faithful lives. Let the Spirit show us the way. Que Asi Sea.
Dignity Takes Its Message to New Places By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA P STO TO W HO LIES L BU
DignityUSA has recently been part of two new initiatives that have helped our message of Catholic support for LGBT people reach new audiences.
In August 2011, DignityUSA signed on as a plaintiff in a lawsuit that challenged a Missouri school district whose filtering software blocks the students’ access to educational information and resources geared to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community, but allows students to see antigay sites. The suit was filed by the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and ACLU of Eastern Missouri. Other plaintiffs include PFLAG, Campus Pride, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a student of the Camdenton R-III School District. The student, who has chosen to be anonymous in the lawsuit documents, claims that students believed to be LGBT are bullied at school, and that when she went to find anti-bullying information, the sites she wanted to visit were all blocked. Sam Sinnett, former DignityUSA President and a resident of St. Louis, MO, said he fully supported DignityUSA joining this lawsuit. “There are many, many LGBT Catholics in Missouri, and young people from a wide range of backgrounds who may not have easy access to positive information on gender and sexuality issues,” he said. “These young citizens and many others need the affirming perspective that DignityUSA brings. I see the lawsuit as our way of ministering to a lot of people in a state where DignityUSA doesn’t have an active Chapter anymore.” DignityUSA’s Board unanimously voted for the organization to become a plaintiff in the suit. They recognized that many students questioning their sexual or gender identity turn to the internet for information and support, and may feel safer doing this research at school than at home. The suit is currently under consideration in Federal District Court in Missouri. To learn more about ACLU’s Don’t Filter Me project and to follow the progress of the suit visit http://www.aclu.org/blog/ free-speech-lgbt-rights/aclu-sues-missouri-schooldistrict-illegally-censoring-lgbt-websites. Also in August, Equally Blessed, of which DignityUSA is a member, had a presence at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain. During this gathering of nearly one million young Catholics, Nicole Sotelo and Emily Jendzejec, who attended as representatives o (Continued on page 4)
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Call To Action’s 20/30 Team, brought outreach cards based on DignityUSA’s Solidarity Sunday program. Bearing a rainbow ribbon and a message of support for LGBT youth and young adults, the cards were distributed outside of all English-language catechesis sessions, and major World Youth Day events. Over the course of the event, Nicole and Emily distributed over 400 of the cards and had dozens of conversations with attendees. They also recorded video spots that are posted on Equally Blessed’s Facebook page, as well as on YouTube and other venues. For a sample and link to other videos visit http://www.facebook.com/ EquallyBlessed
More Than A Monologue By Jeff Stone, Dignity/New York Two Dignity/New York members were panelists, and more than a dozen others were in the audience, at the opening conference of the “More Than a Monologue” series on LGBT people and the Catholic Church sponsored by Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and Fairfield University. The four-part series seeks to address a broad range of issues involving LGBT people and the Church, from personal identity to work life, the youth suicide crisis, same-sex marriage, celibacy, and ministry. The inaugural conference, titled “Learning to Listen: Voices of Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church,” was held on September 16th at Fordham’s Manhattan campus. The talk from the day’s fifteen panelists, supplemented by emailed and tweeted questions from the audience and the faculty moderators, was lively, moving, and provocative. Noted theologians, ethicists, journalists, pastoral workers, priests, and LGBT Catholics from across the country spoke frankly about how sexual diversity, and the Church’s teaching and practice concerning it, have affected them, their families, and friends. New York and Boston chapter member and Boston College doctoral student John Falcone spoke about negotiating the sometimes difficult issues around being open in the workplace, especially in
Catholic institutions. Jamie Manson, another New York member and a prize-winning columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, maintained that closeted LGBT clergy and religious help perpetuate the insidious and tremendously damaging belief that a person cannot be both fully Catholic and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Other speakers whose names might be familiar to Dignity members included Hilary Howes, a transgender activist from Maryland, and Deb Word, a board member of Fortunate Families and the leadership team of the Memphis diocese’s LGBT ministry. Deb and her husband, who have a gay son, have taken ten homeless LGBT young people into their home over the past two years. Deb was also the subject of the “Dear bishop, I wear a rainbow ribbon” video released by DignityUSA last Advent. Rev. Bryan Massingale, an author and theologian at Marquette University, was a speaker at the congressional briefing on LGBT issues organized by Equally Blessed in Washington, D.C., this past spring. Detailed information about the “More Than a Monologue” series, video of past sessions, and free registration is available online at www.morethanamonologue.org.
Dignity/New York members attend the “More Than a Monologue” sponsored by Fordham University
October 9, 2011 A Project of DignityUSA Solidarity Sunday is a faith-based anti-violence initiative. Because we understood that contrary to popular belief, most Catholics are appalled by anti-gay attacks, DignityUSA initiated Solidarity Sunday in 1995 as a way of making our opposition to anti-gay violence visible.
gender. Civil rights are not special rights.
Solidarity Sunday is held every year on the Sunday before October 11 (National Coming Out Day).
I will speak out against any slander, debasement, lies or dehumanization of anyone, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgender, including when spoken by political or religious leaders. Violent speech leads to physical violence.
No Solidarity event happening in your community? Say the prayer and pledge below to take part in this special day in-spirit.
Solidarity Interfaith Prayer 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. We pray that all Your lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight children may experience justice, enjoy peace and spread Your love throughout the world. We pray in the name of God, who welcomes all to a holy circle of friendship. Amen.
Solidarity Pledge I pledge: I will work for civil and human rights for all people, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the trans-
I will seek to stop jokes and unkind language about anyone, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgender when spoken in my presence. Words that hurt and bigotry are not funny.
I will work to stop physical violence against anyone, including violence against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or the transgender. Violence against any person is violence against all people. For further Solidarity Sunday details please see www.dignityusa.org/solidarity.
Dignity/Philadelphia News Two Scholarships Awarded to Promising Students
Father Ron Hoskins presented the Chapter Service Award At our 38th Anniversary Mass, Father Ron Hoskins was presented the Chapter Service Award for his many years (over 20) as presider on Sundays, presider for memorial masses, presider on holydays, being on call at the last minute to preside on a Sunday, his role as chaplain including visiting the sick and caring for the spiritual needs of the members of the chapter, and his yearly service at the Calcutta House Christmas Parties. Father Ron has been a godsend for Dignity/ Philadelphia and the chapter is most fortunate to have been blessed with his presence throughout these years.
L to R: Vernard Lindsay, President of Dignity/ Philadelphia Joanne Collins, and Andrew Patnaude
Dignity/Philadelphia recently presented checks to the recipients of the Dignity/Philadelphia Scholarship Program. This program is designed to help self-proclaimed GLBT students with their financial needs while obtaining their formal education. The recipients were chosen by a committee based on their responses to questions and their plans to pay it forward. The goal of this program is to help students currently attaining their education with their financial needs, and instill in them the importance of helping those in the future. Through the generous support of donations from the community, we were able to provide more than one scholarship this year, one to Vernard Lindsay and one to Andrew Patnaude. If anyone is interested in supporting this program, donations can be made to the Dignity/ Philadelphia Educational Scholarship Program by identifying that on any donations. We thank the supporters of this program and we congratulate this year’s recipients.
L to R: Kevin Davies, Fr. Hoskins, Joanne Collins
Dignity/Washington News Dignity/Washington Goes to the Beach From September 16th through the 18th, twenty members of Dignity/Washington revived one of the chapter’s best annual social outings of past years: the Rehoboth Beach Weekend. On that Friday, Jake Hudson, Dignity/Washington’s Vice President, hosted everyone for a lovely opening reception at his beach home. Saturday’s rain and wind didn’t stop members from joining in the festivities of Rehoboth’s Gay Pride Day, culminating with Mass at one of the group’s (Continued on page 7)
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beach hotels that evening. The spirit of celebration continued after Mass with more socializing at one of the local bars, and a great pizza dinner. A Sunday morning brunch near the boardwalk was the perfect
Do you have Chapter News you’d like to share with other members of the Dignity community?
ending to this fabulous weekend. Special thanks to everyone who attended. Next year sun and surf for sure!
Send your chapter happenings to Laura Monroe ([email protected]
) or Leo Egashira ([email protected]
) for inclusion in an upcoming Dateline!
Dignity/San Antonio News Dignity/San Antonio Holds Prayer Vigil Dignity San Antonio is very grateful to the entire Dignity community for their support of our 35th Anniversary celebration. We would not have been able to share our celebration with the larger San Antonio community without you! We congratulate and honor each of you in your continued work in your communities. Dignity/San Antonio chapter member David Trevino worked long and hard to create the beautiful ad pictured left. We are proud of it and pray that it conveys a message of hope to all those who see it.
A copy of the ad placed in the San Antonio Express News on August 27, 2011
communication between the Board and the National Convention Committee which Bill chairs.
Board Happenings From the Directors of DignityUSA During the June 2011 Board of Directors Meeting, the Directors:
Approved the election results - Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues as President, Lewis Tanner as Vice President; Jack Frielingsdorf, Alice Knowles and Patricia Russell as Directors.
Approved Seattle as the host city for the 2015 DignityUSA Convention
Elected Paula Lavallee as the next DignityUSA Secretary beginning October 1, 2011
Elected Glenn Crane to continue as Treasurer for a full two year term beginning in October
Elected Mark Matson and Linda Pieczynski as Directors of DignityUSA
Filled the vacant member-elected director position with Tom Yates
Will designate a line item for board travel expenses of $10,000 in budget that begins October 1. Directors will not be required to pay for convention registration when they are on the board
Thanked Bill Welch for eight years of selfless service to DignityUSA as its editor of our flagship publications - Dateline and QV.
Thanked Gene Corpuz and Ramon Rodriguez for their years of service on the Board of Directors
Thanked the members and leaders of Dignity/ NoVA and Dignity/Washington for their two plus years effort to plan and execute DignityUSA's 2011 National Convention.
Over the summer, the Board has
Elected Bill Baird to the Board of Directors. By electing Bill to the board, it enhances the
Authorized a $5,000.00 donation made to help complete Taking a Chance on God, a film featuring the life of Fr. John McNeill.
Approved becoming a plaintiff to a federal lawsuit against a school district in rural Missouri that is barring their students accessing webbased information on LGBT issues and organizations. The lawsuit is being coordinated by the ACLU Don't Filter Me project.
Upcoming Board of Directors Meeting All are welcome to see the Board in action at our upcoming BOD meeting October 14-16 in Detroit. We will be meeting at the Double Tree Hotel-Detroit/ Dearborn. Please email [email protected]
for an agenda and to RSVP.
Mark Your Calendars: Call to Action Conference November 4-6 Call to Action is holding their national conference, Living the Gospel of Love, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from November 4-6. Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata, on behalf of Equally Blessed, will be holding a pre-conference discussion, What does “the Holy Family” look like in the 21st Century?”. DignityUSA will have a reception Friday night immediately following the keynote address. We will also be an exhibitor. If you would like to be involved, email [email protected]
We hope to see you there!
Do you work for an organization with a United Way Campaign? You can designate DignityUSA to receive your work-site contributions during the United Way Campaigns conducted at many workplaces throughout the Fall! Simply write-in Dignity, Inc. dba DignityUSA, P.O. Box 376, Medford, MA 02155 on the Employee Choice section of your form. If your local United Way requires our Federal Employer Identification Number or other information, please contact us at 800-877-8797 or [email protected]
Thank you for supporting DignityUSA.
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