By Francesca Norsen Tate

First Unitarian Church hosts a forum on ending violence against gay people.

Taking place on Saturday, Feb. 15, the event is titled “Battered Pride in Brooklyn:  A Public Anti-Violence Forum for the LGBTQ Community and their Allies.” It will be held at the First Unitarian Chapel (at street level), to the immediate right of the main sanctuary.)

Now that same-sex marriage has become legal in 18 States, more than one third of all Americans  have a level of gay rights that seemed impossible 25 years ago. And yet with all this progress, violence against the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer) community are dramatically up to an all-time high, especially in places like Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Brooklyn –places that one would think would be the most progressive. Organizers say that this “dirty secret” must now be talked about so we can take action.

The First Unitarian’s Weaving the Fabric of Diversity Committee is hosting this public forum to provide a safe space for people who have experienced or fear anti- LGBTQ violence. Anti-Violence advocates and professional and in this field will speak and offer suggestions for what Allies of this community can do to help both on a personal level and on a community level.

Speakers include, as of press time, Robert Lopez, program associate in community organizing and public advocacy for the New York City Anti-Violence Project;

Melissa Sklarz, President of Stonewall Democrats of New York City, the largest LGBT Democratic club in New York. The forum runs from 2-5 p.m.

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