SA's Archbishop Desmond Tutu
With UFMCC's Rev. Troy D. Perry
A meeting of historic significance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities took place on Dec. 12 as two internationally recognized human rights activists met in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Rev. Troy D. Perry, moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, met with Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Johannesburg for a wide-ranging discussion of human rights issues. Others in attendance for this historic meeting included the archbishop's wife, Leah; Rev. Perry's spouse, Phillip DeBlieck; and the Rev. Andre Muller, UFMCC area coordinator for South Africa.
During the meeting, Rev. Perry expressed thanks to Archbishop Tutu for his work to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation in the new South African constitution. Perry shared how this accomplishment has helped to mobilize the American Gay Rights Movement in seeking protections from the United States Congress, including laws that would ensure basic rights to lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual citizens to work for a living without the fear of discrimination.
Both Archbishop Tutu and Reverend Perry discussed the roles that religion plays in the on-going debates around sexual orientation. Archbishop Tutu noted that religious fundamentalists have questioned the night of the government to add sexual orientation to the South African Constitution and want simple answers to life's hard questions. "Some people always try to take the Bible literally and legalistically," he said, adding "Quoting the Bible is not enough."
The Archbishop further stated, "Parents must love their children. It is a shame that fathers still teach their sons not to cry as though that would make them seem like a woman. Fathers teach their sons not to have real feelings. Every human being should rejoice and celebrate both our masculine and feminine sides."
Reverend Perry and Archbishop Tutu also reviewed a range of other human rights issues, including their common opposition to the death penalty.
Archbishop Tutu discussed his work as chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will conclude its work in June of 1998. At that time, Tutu will become a visiting professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Reverend Perry extended an invitation for Archbishop Tutu to address the 1999 General Conference and World Jubilee of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in Los Angeles, California, at which the denomination will dedicate its new $5 million UFMCC World Center complex. The archbishop indicated his residence in the US at that time makes it more likely that he might be able to accept the invitation.
The meeting finished with Reverend Perry assuring the Archbishop that he is surrounded with the prayers of all MCC members for continued good health after his recent bout with prostate cancer.
Gay Golden Globe Awards
There is an unprecedented number of lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender people and gay-inclusive storylines honored with Golden Globe nominations Dec. 18.
In & Out garnered a best musical or comic motion picture nomination, as did the film's star Kevin Kline and Joan Cusack. Also nominated was My Best Friend's Wedding, which features opening gay British actor Rupert Everett, nominated for best performance in a supporting role for his portrayal of a gay man. In the same category, Gregg Kinnear was nominated for his portrayal of a gay man in As Good As It Gets. That film also garnered nominations for best director (James L. Brooks), best drama motion picture and best screenplay. In the category of best actress in a comedy or musical, Joey Lauren Adams was nominated for her performance as a bisexual woman in Chasing Amy.
In TV, Ellen DeGeneres was nominated as best actress in a comedy series, along with supporting actors in television series with recurring GTLBT themes Vondie Curtis-Hall, Edward Hibbert, Jorja Fox, Paige Turco, Mitchell Anderson, Michael Boatman, Jane Sibbet and Jessica Hecht.
Of the 24 categories that awards are presented, gay characters, gay themed movies and gay actors total sixteen nomiations this year. Comparatively, last year's Golden Globe nominees numbered twelve.