Monday, October 03, 2011

Speak Out for LGBT Youth

This morning, for the second year in the row, the Religious Institute, is calling on the nation’s clergy to speak out in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth at services near National Coming Out Day, which is October 11th. The recent suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14 year old gay youth who in the spring made his own It Gets Better video, demonstrates the sad urgency of this call to action, which remains as necessary as it was in the wake of multiple teen suicides in September 2010.

All of us have teens and young adults who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in our congregations, many who are suffering in silence and are at risk. One study found that 14% of teens in religious communities identify as something other than heterosexual. Almost nine in ten of them have not been open about their sexuality with clergy or other adult leaders in their faith communities.

Studies show that almost six in ten clergy from mainline denominations support the full inclusion and acceptance of LGBT persons, yet other studies have found that eight in ten of even the most progressive clergy don't have programs in their congregations to support LGBT youth.

We have known for more than thirty years that at least one third of all suicides to teens are to gay youth. Our young people are dying because we are not speaking out for them. Ask yourself honestly, do the LGBT youth in your faith community know that you welcome and support them? What have you done to make sure that these youth know they are loved and supported, to demonstrate that you understand that they, too, are God's children?

The Religious Institute has created new worship resources in support of National Coming Out Day. They include a responsive reading, prayers, a collect, a prayer litany and more, available at

Can you work with your local rabbi, minister, imam, or lay leaders to speak out for LGBT youth in the next few weeks? In this case, silence can equal death. Please help.

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