St. Pete church hosts LGBTQ+ self-defense classes amidst hate-based violence

Rev. Andy Oliver of Allendale United Methodist Church, supports LGBTQ rights

An LGBTQ grassroots collective is hosting self-defense classes at a St. Petersburg church amidst rising violence and hostility to the community.

Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg prides itself on being inclusive and supportive to all. The church has married same-sex couples and openly advocated for social justice.

Now, they’ve partnered with LGBTQ+ Organization Found Family to host a self-defense class for their community. Reverend Andy Oliver says the need has never been stronger.

“It seems like every single day there is a new bill that comes out that is attacking marginalized communities, specifically the LGBTQ community, and transgender children. And that emboldens bullies to do harm,” Oliver tells WMNF.

According to the Florida Attorney General, hate crimes based on sexual orientation currently account for 22 percent of all hate crimes.

“To be a peacemaker, to be someone who is nonviolent, means to be trained in the ways of self-defense. If we look back at the civil rights movement, those people who were bold witnesses didn’t just step out in front of police officers with bullet clubs, they were trained in the art of resisting violence.”

The event is on March 18th at 11 am. You can find more info on the Found Family Collective Facebook page.



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