Faith, Diversity, and Sexual Orientation on Campus: A Conversation with Chris Stedman
The last several years have seen renewed interest in the issue of diversity on college campuses, with issues of interreligious understanding and LGBTQ inclusion at the forefront. What divisions persist along lines of religious or sexual orientation, and how can we move beyond tolerance to understanding?
Chris Stedman, author of Faitheist and Harvard LGBTQ activist, examined issues around respectfully engaging religious and sexual diversity. Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of bridging the chasm between atheists and the religious.
Chris Geidner, senior political reporter at BuzzFeed, moderated the discussion, beginning with a dialogue with Stedman about his work and current LGBTQ faith and atheist issues. Geidner has been covering the LGBTQ community's advances in public life over the past decade. Joining Stedman and Geidner were be Shiva Subbaraman, director of Georgetown's LGBTQ Center, and student participants.
Chris Stedman is an atheist working to foster positive and productive dialogue and collaborative action between faith communities and the nonreligious. He writes for Huffington Post Gay Voices, Huffington Post Religion, The Washington Post On Faith, Religion Dispatches, and Relevant.
He received his B.A. in Religion from Augsburg College and an M.A. in Religion from Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago, for which he was awarded the Billings Prize for Most Outstanding Scholastic Achievement.
Chris Geidner is the senior political reporter at BuzzFeed. Prior to joining BuzzFeed in 2012, Geidner had been the senior political editor at Washington, DC's Metro Weekly. Over the course of his time covering the national LGBT political and legal scene, he has been awarded the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Magazine Article and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media. Before moving to DC in 2009, Geidner had worked as an attorney in Ohio, at a private firm and for the State of Ohio.
Sivagami (Shiva) Subbaraman has been the director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown University since the center's launch in 2008. Since then she and her colleagues have worked to establish a range of programs and educational initiatives on campus. She has also helped develop policies and protocols to make the campus more inclusive. The LGBTQ Resource Center works with students, faculty, staff, and alumni, with a significant focus on re-engaging Hoya alums. Prior to coming to Georgetown, she worked as the associate director of the Office of LGBT Equity at the University of Maryland. She has presented at national conferences (ACPA, NASPA, JASPA, Expanding the Circle, Creating Change) on her experiences in doing LGBTQ work in a Catholic/Jesuit context, and she has been invited to campuses to consult and advise. She has received several awards for her work, including, most recently, an “Award for Intersectionality.” She is a scholar, writer, and sometime poet.