Former Christian preacher and Freedom 2 b[e] co-convenor Anthony Venn-Brown has thanked SLGBA for its support for his November trip to the United States where he attended the 2009 Ex-Gay Survivors Conference in Palm Beach, Florida.
He also met with LGBT advocates and religious figures to assist the discussion of gay rights issues among evangelical and Pentecostal Christians.
Venn-Brown’s work began when he met with a megachurch pastor and his wife whom he knew before his 1991 resignation from the Pentecostal ministry. He took them on a tour of the San Francisco LGBT Centre, where he said they were impressed by the level of LGBT involvement in charitable works and social programs. Venn-Brown believes his dialogue has helped them move closer to acceptance of LGBT people and he plans to stay in touch in the hope of helping them take their congregation further down that path.
While in San Francisco, Venn-Brown also took part in the 35th anniversary celebrations of the Bay Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
In Florida, Venn-Brown met with leaders of groups that monitor the ‘ex-gay’ movement in the US and try to counter their message with correct information.
The following day Venn-Brown addressed the conference, sharing his story as a former Pentecostal preacher and ex-gay program survivor, and brought delegates up to date on Australian developments regarding the ex-gay movement.
In New York, Venn-Brown met with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s senior director of media programs and the director of its faith and values department, representatives of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Greenwich Village LGBT Centre, and the executive director of the Unitarian Universalist Church’s United Nations Office, Bruce Knotts.
In Los Angeles, Venn-Brown met Azariah Southworth, a Christian former television anchor whose music show, Remix, was cancelled after he came out a year ago despite a weekly audience of 200,000, and other gay figures in the Christian music industry.
Venn-Brown has since announced the theme for the Freedom 2 b[e] 2010 Mardi Gras will be ‘Celebrate the Survivors’.

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