Okey dokey. It’s me again, reporting back with some resources that have been suggested this week. I have been totally blown away by the outpouring of positive response to A Letter to Queer Youth, which I did not expect and gives me a whole lot of hope. ‘Cause let me tell you, I definitely took my Prozac bright and early the morning after I posted it, in preparation for a long day of deleting hateful responses. But what actually happened was that I got no negative responses. Zero.Whoa!
According to my blog stats, that letter has received over 3,000 hits. Thank you all so much for e-mailing it, posting it, reblogging it, and sharing it on facebook and twitter. I’ve received some really powerful e-mails this week that have brought tears to my eyes and have made me realize how much we all need to be hearing and spreading this message. I hope and pray that it continues to get out to queer youth and adults who need to be told: YOU ARE GOD’S GOOD CREATION LOVED JUST AS YOU ARE WITH A LOVE THAT IS BEYOND ANYTHING ANY OF US CAN FATHOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Like the all caps and exclamation marks?)
I would like to encourage all of you to continue to research your local resources for queer youth and e-mail them to me. We have got to start resourcing our kids by finding places of safety and support for them. So please, please, please, look into it for me.
Okay, resources. Here’s what I’ve got so far. I tried to think of a snazzy name just for fun, but all I came up with was: If-You-Are-A-Queer-Youth-Looking-to-Connect-with-Some-Real-Cool-People-Who-Like-You-A-Lot-You-Should-Check-Out-These-People. So that acronym is IYAAQYLTCWSRCPWLYALYSCOTP. I think we should make t-shirts! Who’s with me!? No? Okay we’ll work on the acronym, but then can we make t-shirts?
* Rosmy – www.rosmy.org, located in Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia. They were originally The Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth, but when they expanded to Charlottesville they became just Rosmy. Their website states: Rosmy is here for all youth between the ages of 14 and 20 who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning their sexual orientation. The only source of support, education, advocacy and opportunities to promote adolescents healthy sexual and gender identity development. Rosmy prides itself on providing the right resources at the right time. Our youth driven programs are dedicated to helping youth be themselves by empowering them to guide the important discussions and develop the events and activities that best meet their needs in a safe and supportive way. Rosmy support hotline: 888-644-4390
* The Louisville Youth Group – It’s a long web address, so just click on this link: LYG. They are in Louisville, Kentucky. Their website states: LYG outreaches to LGBT youth thru our Youth Leadership and Adult Mentor Programs. Thru these programs, we offer a safe environment where the youth can socialize and interact with other LGBT youth. LYG works with the youth to help them build strong leadership and communication skills that will stay with them into adulthood. We have guest speakers on a wide range of topics including safe sex practices, college/career prep. personal finance, and physical fitness. LYG sponsors many events during the year. Some are social while others are motivational. We have an annual prom, holiday parties, and youth summer camp.
* The Ali Forney Center – http://www.aliforneycenter.org, located in New York, New York, offers housing and advocacy to homeless LGBT youth. Their website states: Tragically, as many as 25% of LGBT teens are rejected by their families, and many end up homeless on the streets. Homeless LGBT teens are more likely than straight homeless teens to be subjected to violence on the streets, and in the homeless shelter system. They suffer from inordinate rates of mental illness, trauma, HIV infection and substance abuse. AFC is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth. Our goal is to provide homeless LGBT youths, aged 16-24, with the support and services they need to escape the streets and begin to live healthy and independent lives. We offer an innovative continuum of services.
*True Colors Residence – http://intergenerational.org/truecolors.php, located in New York, New York. Also offers housing to LGBT youth. Their website states: True Colors Residence, a project of West End Intergenerational Residence and partners Cyndi Lauper and her manager Lisa Barbaris, is New York’s first permanent, supportive housing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
*Hetrick-Martin Institute – www.hmi.org, located in New York, New York. Their website states: The Hetrick-Martin Institute believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 12 and 24 and their families. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin seeks to foster healthy youth development. Hetrick-Martin’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models.
PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) – pflag.org website states: We, the parents, families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, celebrate diversity and envision a society that embraces everyone, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Only with respect, dignity and equality for all will we reach our full potential as human beings, individually and collectively. PFLAG welcomes the participation and support of all who share in, and hope to realize this vision. PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
The church denominations in the United States that ordain* openly queer clergy are: The Episcopal Church (Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States), The United Church of Christ (UCC), The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Presbyterian Church (USA), and Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). If you are in another country and know of denominations in your country that you would like added to the list, please let me know. Also, let me know if I left anyone out.
* to hold special office in the vocation of church ministry as pastors, ministers, bishops, elders, deacons, etc.
All of these denominations have special GLBT advocacy groups. Below are links to their websites, which include searchable databases of congregations all over the country that are particularly committed to GLBT support and equality.
The Episcopal Church – Integrity USA, www.integrityusa.org
The United Church of Christ – The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, www.ucccoalition.org
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – Lutherans Concerned / North America, www.lcna.org
The Presbyterian Church (USA) – More Light Presbyterians, www.mlp.org
Unitarian Universalist Association – www.uua.org
Additionally, I exchanged some e-mails with a really fun group of people – the GLADS (gays, lesbians, and dang straights) group at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston Salem, North Carolina. You can check them out on facebook by liking their page: GLADS at Saint Pauls Winston Salem They are looking into resources for GLBT youth. In the meantime, if you are in their area looking for support and fellowship, they are a good group of adults to connect with. If you are not in their area, connect with them online.
Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church of Houston, Texas is Houston’s largest queer community of faith. Their website is www.resurrectionmcc.org
That’s all of the resources I have for now. I’m looking into Jewish and Muslim groups that are open and affirming of the GLBT community. I’ve seen them out there, but I need a little more time for research.
I think my next blog post will be about how Christians, like me, interpret the Bible. I received several questions from GLBT folks wondering if the Bible is anti-gay. I – along with the majority of the mainline Christian denominations as well as a host of Bible scholars – say no, the Bible is not anti-gay.