This week marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the modern movement for LGBTQ rights. The commemoration of that moment in time, and the celebration of World Pride in New York City where the riots took place remind us of the progress made for equality and justice and all the work that still needed. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will take a look at the varying experiences of LGBTQ people around the world, who live with varying degrees of freedom and safety.

From Chechnya to the United States to Guatemala, extremism is on the rise and often targets those most vulnerable in society. In Europe, one of the most legislatively homophobic countries is Lithuania. Three years ago, 3,000 activists marched in the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, in celebration of Baltic Pride. This year, more than three times that many filled the streets of the city again. Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, will speak with Ray Kirstein, producer of State of Belief, to get a first-hand report of what happened at Baltic Pride this year.

This week, writer E. Jean Carroll told her harrowing story about being sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Her story is the next in a long and disturbing line of stories that make up the #MeToo movement. Thanks to the many women bravely coming forward to tell their stories, our country is shifting toward equality. #MeToo, the Women’s Marches, and recent organizing to protect reproductive rights are trends impacting both secular and religious culture in America. Diana Butler Bass, author, historian and leading voice within progressive Christianity, will join Welton this week to share how these cultural shifts are affecting and will continue to impact organized religion.

Last month, Welton was in Washington, D.C. and had the opportunity to sit down with Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. Sister Simone is best known for being the leader of the Nuns on the Bus, an effort to call attention to critical issues facing the country. This week, you’ll hear highlights from Welton’s conversation with Sister Simone as they discuss the current state of affairs in D.C. and what is on the horizon in the push for social justice.

This conversation is part of Whosoever You Love, our semi-monthly series affirming the worth and full value of LGBTQ persons within and beyond religion. This series, so important at a time when anti-LGBTQ sentiment is being stoked for nakedly partisan political purposes, is supported by the Arcus Foundation, dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Learn more about Arcus and its partners at ArcusFoundation.org. And see the full series of interviews at whosoeveryou.love.

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