Zoom Discussion recorded on Saturday, October 9th, 2021
Our guests include the following:
Angie McLachlan (They/Them) is queer and neuro-diverse; an artist by inclination, a priest with a broad interfaith calling and a contemplative at heart. Angie is the Founding Bishop of the Liberated Catholic Community for Independents. Having ‘Come Out’ in 1985 they have seen many changes within the community over the years and in the legal and social acceptance of LGBTQI+ rights in the UK.
Cath Brew (she/her) is an Australian artist who illustrates and educates about marginalized experiences for positive change – with a focus on identity, belonging, and expat life. She hosts Talk-Back Tuesday – a weekly Q&A on social media about LGBTQ+ issues. Cath’s advocacy work has also included LGBTQ+ diversity training for Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, presenting ‘Unlikely Connections: The Baptist and the Lesbian’, and most recently, her own podcast ‘Drawn to a Deeper Story’, where she explores ‘lives that challenge us and the difficult conversations around them.
- Company: Drawn to a Story
- Website: www.drawntoastory.com
- Social media: (this is where people will find my Talk-Back Tuesdays)
Sam Castaneda Holdren (he/him) – Columbia – Sam, a citizen of the US, first came to Colombia in 2013. For him, it was love at first sight. He wanted to share the magic he discovered there with other gay travelers. With that goal in mind, he founded OUT in Colombia. As an expert in sustainable tourism with a Master of Sustainability Leadership (currently finishing a specialized degree in sustainable tourism), Sam has laid the foundation for OUT in Colombia to be a leading sustainable tour operator in South America.
Michael Failla (he/him) – Michael is a retired chiropractor and co-founder and former CEO of Integrated Practice Solutions, a healthcare software company. He has passionately fought as a human and civil rights activist/organizer his entire life. Michael has organized and participated in marches, sit-ins, walk-outs, and protests for anti-war, civil and human rights, and the environment. Over the last 10 years, he has been involved with and helped dozens of LGBTQI refugees escape persecution in countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. Michael thinks of himself as a refugee concierge. When a gay person is threatened, he works to get them to safety in their home country. Next, he gets them to a third country to wait for asylum in a gay-friendly country, sometimes for years. Currently, Michael is participating in 15 active migration cases trying to get them to safety.
Ibrahim & Mahmoud (he/him for both) – Their story is one of nightmares. Both from Syria, Ibrahim and Mahmoud met in their mid-20s through a gay dating app. Even this simple activity was very dangerous for them both but they fell in love and knew they wanted to be together forever.
Facing the very real fear of being raped, tortured, imprisoned, or even murdered, they had no choice but to leave Syria and try to create a new life in the West. They escaped illegally over the Syrian Turkish border in September 2018 using smugglers. Three years later they are still in Istanbul waiting anxiously and fearfully for their chance of asylum. The waiting is brutal but at least they have each other.
Julie Roberts, Desperado LGBTQ Film Festival
Community activist. Theater director/teacher. Traveler. Chef of International Cuisines. Having retired last year, Julie finds herself busier than ever. She was Development Coordinator for Equality Arizona and joint developer of the OUT & UP scholarship for LGBTQ disadvantaged youth in the Maricopa County Community College system. As director/teacher she worked in Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Arizona, and Japan. Julie has lived in Turkey, Japan and traveled extensively worldwide and throughout the US. She has been on the Desperado team since its 3rd year and feels honored to be able to host these discussions.