Monday, December 11, 2006
SAFE launch: Address by Susan Tang
[Photo courtesy of Pelangi Pride Centre]

"I hope to bring to SAFE a religious perspective, not because I’m super-religious, but because sad to say, my Christian faith contributes one of the loudest and strongest voice of condemnation of LGBTQ people. To me, to accuse gay people of sin just because they love someone of the same sex, violates the very message of the Gospel, that of equality, justice and compassion, as well as God’s extravagant love for ALL people.

You do not need to be a Christian to understand what I am saying. All of us know that people are meant to live whole, honest and healthy lives out in the open, not in dark, musty closets.

So I am part of SAFE because I believe we owe it to our gay children, our gay brothers and sisters, our gay nieces and nephews, cousins, uncles and aunts even … to repent of OUR sins of homophobia and condemnation, which have driven them into closets of despair. We owe them a place of safety, acceptance and healing.

But these safe places can only come about if the larger family, the larger community, provides support and encouragement, and stays close and connected to their gay children, siblings or friends.

This is where SAFE comes in to help – to provide you resources and information, to give you the opportunity to hear stories of how others have dealt with issues similar to your own, and to help you strengthen your relationship with the gay loved ones in your life.

Back to the issue of faith, I want you to know that there ARE alternative Christian voices of support, empathy and acceptance. I am glad to acknowledge the presence of at least three “men of cloth” here today to show their support. And there are others. Many religious people have wrestled with the issue of homosexuality and have decided to change their attitudes. That it is not the gay person who must change, but that it is us, straight people, who need to change.

Finally, I want to say to all our SAFE supporters, thank you for your support today, go out and tell others about SAFE and help us focus on the REAL family – one that accepts and loves unconditionally and against all odds. "

- Susan Tang, founding member of SAFE