The Intimate Convictions conference has been an extraordinary event. Probably for the first time in Jamaica lesbian, gay and bisexual people spoke publicly in a forum as equals about the effect of anti-sodomy laws in the thirty-six countries of the commonwealth where sodomy is criminalised and the sixteen countries that also criminalise lesbians. Over the two days twenty presentations were made with people describing the relationship between their church’s teaching and the lived experience of LGBTI people. The universal conviction of the presentations was that homosexuality had to be decriminalised.
The opening day of the conference was remarkable – nineteen people spoke in the five sessions into which the day was divided. The keynote address delivered by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Dr John Holder, was a remarkable, well-researched, deeply historical and theological survey of the way in which we can understand the way in which what we now name homosexuality is, and isn’t, described in the Bible.
Intimate Conviction, the two-day international conference being held to examine the church and anti-sodomy laws across the Commonwealth opens today in Kingston, Jamaica. This conference, Intimate Conviction, is the first of its kind. It will provide an opportunity for a range of church positions to be heard, for global experiences to be shared, and to broaden the religious discourse around the repeal of laws affecting LGBTQI people.