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 is Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown University. She has worked extensively across differing communities and groups, and to weave LGBTQ into the larger tapestry of the Georgetown Community. Before coming to Georgetown University, she worked as Associate Director at the office of LGBT Equity and as Assistant Director at the Office of Human Relations programs at the University of Maryland. Additionally, she has taught at Macalester College, Drake University, and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Her areas of research interests are US women of color literature, culture, and feminist theories. An active feminist, Subbaraman is on the board of several feminist community organizations. Additionally, she regularly gives talks at national conferences and is a member of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the Modern Languages Association.