Largest Annual LGBT Christian Conference to Bring 1,500 LGBTs, Allies to Post-HERO Houston

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In the wake of Houston’s non-discrimination HERO ordinance being repealed—largely in part by outspoken conservative Christians—The Gay Christian Network is intensifying its efforts to change hearts and minds, especially in that region of the US.

For 14 years, The Gay Christian Network (GCN) has spoken out against the LGBT-vs.-Christian narrative. In the wake of Houston’s non-discrimination HERO ordinance being repealed—largely in part by outspoken conservative Christians—GCN is intensifying its efforts to change hearts and minds, especially in that region of the US. The ordinance was overturned just weeks before GCN’s conference, the largest annual LGBT Christian conference in the world, is scheduled to bring an estimated 1,500 LGBT Christians to Houston from January 7-10.

The organization has a strong reputation of changing the hearts and minds of Christians worldwide on LGBT issues. “A vital part of our work is countering the kind of misinformation that was used to smear LGBT people in Houston,” said Justin Lee, GCN’s executive director. “The unfortunate repeal of HERO is a stark reminder to all of us that this work is far from over. When we bring our life-changing conference to Houston in January, we’re going to use that opportunity to connect with as many local pastors, families, and Christian thought leaders as possible—to educate them about the truth of LGBT people’s lives and about their responsibility to stand up as Christians for those who too often have been treated as outcasts.”

The GCN conference has grown every year since its inception in 2005; in 2015, it doubled in size from approximately 700 attendees to approximately 1400, and it is on track for significant growth in 2016. This January, Lee said he is eager to bring the conference to Houston, where GCN can deliver healing and education to a city that has just been dealt an anti-LGBT blow.

Since 2001, GCN has focused its work in the places it sees the most need for support, encouragement, and education. “Whenever we see Christians buying into anti-LGBT messages, we know there is work for us to do to combat those messages with the truth. As heartbroken as we all are at the repeal of HERO, we know this means there is work for us in Houston this January,” said Lee. “We embrace that and welcome the opportunity to do what we do best. We invite LGBT-supportive Christians everywhere who want to make a difference to join us in Houston this January and help us show the world that Christians should be known for our love, not our hate.”

Over the past year, GCN has worked closely with its conference venue, the Hilton Americas and George R. Brown Convention Center, as well as the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a number of other local organizations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its attendees. “GCN is entirely committed to providing a safe, welcoming, and fulfilling environment for everyone who attends,” said Trey Weaver, GCN’s director of events. “The conference is known for its unbridled sense of community, support, and inclusion. In fact, our attendees have come to expect it, and 2016 is no different,” Weaver said.

While Houston’s conservative voters celebrate their victory, LGBT Christians are asking, “What’s next for us?” following such a decision. From changing laws to changing hearts, LGBT people are by-and-large ready to take the next step in building a more inclusive Church, as seen by the continual growth of GCN’s conference. The organization has anticipated that question and plans to offer answers and ways to move forward at the 2016 GCN Conference in post-HERO Houston.

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About The Gay Christian Network:
The Gay Christian Network is an interdenominational nonprofit organization educating and equipping Christians worldwide to support LGBT people and their loved ones. Founded in 2001, GCN offers an online community with nearly 30,000 members along with other videos, articles, and resources on its website at The GCN conference is the world's largest annual LGBT Christian event, drawing nearly 1400 people in 2015.

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Jamie Least
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