After an exciting start in Houston in February 2011, MyOutSpirit.com is working with organizations in Austin, Texas, and around the country to launch "Bring Your Gay Teen to Church Day," June 25-26, 2011.
"We hope this interfaith event connecting LGBTQ teens with open-and-affirming faith communities will help prevent LGBTQ youth deaths by suicide," says MyOutSpirit.com founder, Clayton Gibson. "Thousands of churches, temples, synagogues and other spiritual communities are LGBTQ-affirming, and this event will help them get the word out. For once it's not about politics, not about equality. This time, it's about serving the spiritual needs of LGBTQ teens and their families."
As LGBTQ-affirming clergy,
People of faith, and
Parents, friends and family members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning youth,
We were all alarmed by the spike in LGBTQ youth deaths by suicide last fall. An April 2011 study found that roughly 20% of gay, lesbian and bisexual teens said they had made a suicide attempt, versus 4% of straight kids.
Young people who live in areas with a more negative cultural climate towards LGBTQ issues are at an increased risk. Some 70% of calls to The Trevor Project's suicide hotline come from the southern and central regions of the United States.
Two out of three Americans agree with us that gay people suffer discrimination and violence and die from suicide at least partly because of anti-gay messages coming out of churches and other places of worship. We wondered:
What can WE do to help prevent gay teen suicide?
We believe that LGBTQ-affirming spiritual guidance and community can help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning youth who are in crisis.
We know from personal experience that deep community and spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, mindfulness, forgiveness and yoga help human beings weather hard times. Bringing an LGBTQ teen to a certified welcoming church, synagogue, temple, sangha or other spiritual community can help empower them to "Make It Better" starting today.
That's why we invite your donation to support "Bring Your Gay Teen to Church Day."
We want to change the cultural mindset by making it common knowledge that many spiritual communities would love to welcome, support and inspire LGBTQ young people, without trying to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We can replace the incorrect assumption that LGBTQ people are "an abomination"
with our message that "God Loves Gays."