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Catholic Church banishes human rights festival over LGBT performance

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A human rights arts festival was forced to move venues less than 72 hours before the premiere due to a complaint about LGBT performances.

The International Human Rights Art Festival was set to premiere at the Saint Mary’s Church in New York City, however less than three days before the opening, the Church retracted permission to use the venue.

New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan was responsible for the complaint, which left festival organisers scrambling to find a new venue at short notice.

Two of the shows in the festival attracted the complaints from the Archdiocese, ‘Accidental Trans Anthems’ and ‘Thank You for Coming Out.’

A church spokesperson told festival director Tom Block: “We cannot have this kind of work in the Catholic Church.”

The Catholic Church has had a difficult history with LGBT+ rights with Pope Francis declaring that the Church will never accept marriage equality, and supporting the use of gay ‘cure’ therapy.

In 2015, the Church went as far as to ban transgender people from being godparents. 

Kathleen Turner
Kathleen Turner, one of the performers at the festival (Photo: International Human Rights Festival / Facebook)

The Church did offer to host the arts festival again, provided that the two shows were removed from the programming.

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