The Dominican Republic and Caribbean Affirmation Mormons LGBT, Families and Friends Chapter -www.afirmaciondiminicana.org- will host its first International Conference in Santo Domingo on 18-20 of August on the current year. Several years ago, John Rodriguez, less-active, ex-missionary of the LDS Church and an openly gay leader in the LGBT+ community in the Dominican Republic had established a Mormon LGBT+ group in San Francisco de Macoris city, located in the northeast portion of the Isla Hispaniola, The Dominican Republic Affirmation Chapter; among this group is his brother Carlos Rodriguez, who is also gay, less-active and an ex-missionary.
John Rodriguez is the chapter’s President and they had accomplished many objectives, in order to grow the group and spread the word about Affirmation, which is now highly regarded by many Mormons LGBT+, allies and activist, who admire the work that the local Affirmation group has been carrying out. They had developed programs with their own resources to help several of their country’s sections; between them there are a program to help youth and young adults in crisis and vulnerability, “The Rainbow Ark Exchange Program”.
They had helped to various Venezuelan and Haitians immigrants LGBT+, which had arrived to Dominican Republic due the economic crisis in their country of origin. The Dominican Republic Affirmation had provided support, food, temporal accommodation and had helped various of Venezuelan and Haitians immigrants to find jobs. Also the Dominican chapter had being coordinating a foreign exchange program for hosting in their country many LGBT+ youth who are homeless, or at suicide risk. This program include young people from The United States, Latin American countries and the Caribbean. They provide temporal accommodation, work placements, and the possibility to attend the school, as well as provide psychological and legal counseling. They hope to relaunch their program “The Rainbow Ark Exchange” by the end of the year. The Dominican Republic Affirmation Chapter has two offices that maintain with their own resources, one of them in the north of the country, in San Francisco de Macoris city, and the other recently opened in the capital city of Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic’s Affirmation membership is very excited about the first International Conference this month, called “Where Love Is”. This theme is the most appropriate to express the message of Affirmation Mormons LGBT+, Families and Friends in the Dominican Republic, because there are so many Mormons and LGBT+ Christians who are looking for a place, or are feeling that they don’t belong to their families, or friends, or their Church anymore.
“Where There’s Love” is a conference originally planned for the LGBT+ Mormons and Christians community from Dominican Republic and The Caribbean. Members and allies from Cuba, Haiti and people from the other Dominican cities and provinces will attend, and we also expect to receive the official visit of the Affirmation International Leadership, including Adryan San Roman, vice-president senior of Affirmation; form President and recently hired Executive Director of Affirmation International, John Gustav-Wrathall and his distinguished husband Göran Gustav-Wrathall; and Randall Thacker, Coordinator of Affirmation’s International Operations, and member of the Board of Directors. We expect an attendance of 60 persons, who are interested in being part of Affirmation and to learn more about it. The event is planned with the purpose of getting the participants to learn about how to accept their sexuality and how to build bonds of trust, through speeches, discussions, and activities in order to improve their spiritual relationship with God and to understand His Love. More information about the conference in their website.
The meeting will take place in three strategic places of the Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo, the first city built by Christopher Columbus in the New World; and the center of the Dominican Republican’s LGBT+ district. This is a city full of history, religion, romanticism, and a lot of movement of people; it was declared World Heritage by the UNESCO.
You can read more of the Dominican Republic work here