In a time when the religious right has regained considerable power through its alliance with President Trump, it could seem like there’s a bigger divide between LGBTQ rights and religion than there has been in years. But the prominence of religion-tinged fights over same-sex marriage, cakes, bathroom access, who is allowed in the military and other issues only tell part of today’s story of religion, sexuality and gender identity in America. In this workshop and panel, journalists who cover the intersection of faith and LGBTQ issues will join artists and activists to unpack how to fully and accurately cover the story of religion and LGBTQ America.
Panelists: Trish Bendix, Mitchell Gold, Jaweed Kaleem, Michael O’Loughlin
TRISH BENDIX, a past board member of GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, is currently managing editor of INTO. Her work has been published in outlets such as Vogue.com, Cosmopolitan, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Out, Slate and Buzzfeed. Among her many essays is a piece for the nonfiction anthology “Opposing Viewpoints: Celebrity Culture.” The former editor in chief of both AfterEllen.com and GO Magazine, Bendix is the winner of the NLGJA 2015 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year. A member of the Television Critics Association as well, she has spoken on panels at SXSW, Q-Me Con, BlogHer and Creating Change and to classes at the University of Western Washington and Columbia College Chicago.
MITCHELL GOLD, co-founder and Chair-man of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, is a different kind of man running a very different kind of business. In every aspect of his personal and business life, he strives to make a difference. Founded in 1989, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams based its manufacturing in Taylorsville, NC, with a modern factory, warehouse, and distribution center spanning close to one million square feet that supports the home furnishings brand’s retail, wholesale and contract/hospitality sectors. In addition to running a multi-million dollar enterprise, Mitchell has committed himself to educating the media and all citizens about the extreme harm to LGBT teens and adults from religious based bullying and bigotry. He believes deeply that we must all work to end the toxic teaching that “homosexuality is a sin” and has vast experience articulating that to evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, etc. At the company’s rural headquarters, Mitchell and business partner Bob Williams established a not-for-profit, education-based daycare center (first in the residential furniture industry) for employees and local community members and a health-conscious gourmet café run by the company’s corporate chef. The company also provides health fairs, an on-site nurse, and college scholarships for children of employees. Mitchell serves on the Board of Directors for The Tyler Clementi Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to ending online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. He also served on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for seven years. Everyone who knows Mitchell, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ equality, knows he wears his personal beliefs for all to see. Recently, he gave a powerful TEDx Talk encouraging others to take a stand against bullying. Watch “What’s Next? NO Bullying from Anyone” at https://www.mgbwhome.com/video-hub.html. Mitchell is also a published author. His first book, Let’s Get Comfortable: How to Furnish and Decorate a Welcoming Home, was co-authored with Bob and published in March 2007. In honor of the company’s 20th Anniversary, he and Bob published a second decorating book in 2009, The Comfortable Home. In 2014, Who We Are was released as a 25th Anniversary coffee table/business book. Mitchell is also the editor of Youth in Crisis: What Everyone Should Know about Growing Up Gay, published in 2011. Mitchell has been widely featured in the media, from CBS This Morning and CBS Sunday Morning to the Today show, New York Times, Time, Wall Street Journal, Library of Congress and Architectural Digest. Mitchell resides in North Carolina with his husband, Tim Gold, and their incredibly sweet Doberman, Zola. (Follow Zola on Instagram at @AmazingZola.)
JAWEED KALEEM is the national race and justice correspondent at the Los Angeles Times, where he writes about how race and ethnicity shape our evolving understanding of what it means to be American. He frequently reports on policing, civil rights, immigration, prisons and religion. Before joining the Times, Kaleem was the senior religion reporter at HuffPost for five years, where he wrote extensively on LGBT rights, the Roman Catholic Church, evangelical Christians, the Mormon church and Muslims. From 2007-11, he was a religion and general assignment reporter for the Miami Herald. He attended Emerson College in Boston and grew up in Northern Virginia.
MICHAEL J. O’LOUGHLIN is a Chicago-based religion journalist and author of “The Tweetable Pope: A Spiritual Revolution in 140 Characters.” He writes regularly about contemporary religion issues, including religion and politics, Catholic young adults, the role of religion in the public square and more. O’Loughlin writes for America magazine and he was previously a staff writer for The Boston Globe, where he wrote about the Catholic Church. He has also been published in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and The Advocate, and he has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NPR, The BBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News and MSNBC. He frequently gives talks on a range of Catholic issues and he is currently working on a project about the Catholic Church’s response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ’90s.