Jasmine Beach-Ferrara: Public Lives, Public Faith

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara discusses how to advocate for LGBT rights in the south, a region that has long been dismissed as unwinnable. Introduction by Professor of Religion Mark Wallace.

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Each day, LGBT people in the South face a set of moral choices. Will we be defined by the fundamental truths of our lives or by state laws that regard us as a second-class citizen?

Growing numbers of people across the South are finding the courage to stand up to discriminatory state laws by taking public action. Since the WE DO Campaign launched two years ago, more than 80 LGBT couples have requested - and been denied - marriage licenses in their home towns across the South.  In the face of a legal system that denies our humanity and tells us we have no right to even approach the marriage license counter, these families are expressing powerful truths - we are human, we are equal, this is our home, and we have a fundamental right to marry. A public expression of identity and faith, these actions call for full equality for LGBT people under both state and federal law. Rev. Beach-Ferrara will weave together first hand stories of being on the road across the South with a broader strategic and ethical analysis of advocating for LGBT rights in a region that has long been dismissed as unwinnable.

Raised in North Carolina, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is a minister in the United Church of Christ. She is a graduate of Brown University and received a M.F.A. from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School. She has worked on LGBT rights campaigns since 2004 and has published a series of articles in The Democratic Strategist and The Huffington Post about strategy in the LGBT movement. She has been interviewed by media including MSNBC, The New York Times, and the BBC about LGBT rights in the South. She is a recipient of a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and her first collection of short stories, Damn Love, was published in May 2013.