For the past several years, IAM has partnered with the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch to host a Human Sexuality and Gender Diversity workshop. This past March, IAM continued this tradition, facilitating the day and a half long workshop with students in the Masters in Divinity and Masters in Gender, Religion and Health Programmes. Conducted online due to COVID-19, the workshop formed part of IAM’s work to sensitise future clergy and scholars in gender, sexuality and religion to make faith communities inclusive and affirming for LGBTIQ+ people.
After the sessions, IAM spoke with participants and co-convenors to better understand how the workshops shape their learning and what they take away from the sessions:
Prof. Juliana Claassens speaks about how IAM contributes to open students’ minds to the diversity of sexuality and gender diversity through dialogue.
Jayson Gribble, a student in the Masters in Divinity Programme, talks about the intersection of a ministry of presence, power and masculinity in changing the hearts and minds of faith communities.
Brendina Mbaya, a Master’s student in the Gender, Religion and Health Programme, reflects on the importance of intersectional feminism as a black cisgender woman in the conversation around LGBTIQ+ sexualities and gender identities.
“IAM has been a powerful partner to have. They are so skilled at creating spaces for dialogue, very much focused on intersectionality. It’s such a collaborative learning and teaching experience,” said Professor Claassens. “Students respond well to [the workshop], they really grow in their learning and vocabulary in terms of gender and sexuality…when they get to the practical components, which is the workshop style of IAM, they learn a whole new skill set: how to frame the conversation on gender.”