News from AllianceQ: February 2015

"The Open in Open & Affirming Saves Lives"

“I have been asked over and over again,” says Mark Johnston, Executive Director of GLAD’s Open & Affirming Ministry Program, “why does our church have to advertise its welcome. We know we welcome. Isn’t that enough?”

Dr. Johnston’s short answer: “The Open in Open & Affirming saves lives.”

Dr. Johnston notes that while equal rights gains for LGBT people are in the news more and more these days, this doesn’t translate to a safer environment for LGBT youth. In fact, an article in Rolling Stone Magazine a few months ago outlined the problem: Young people, gathering the courage to come out earlier because the media they watch portrays a safer world often discover that their parents (their conservative Christian parents, that is) are not supportive and often openly hostile.

Just this month in the news is a story that another young transgender person has committed suicide after struggling with the hostility of her parents’ Christian beliefs. Her suicide note included the statement “People say ‘it gets better’ but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.”

“Building a church where people of all gender expressions and sexual orientations are openly welcome is the work of saving lives. Being open about our welcome means these young people will know that there is a place for them to seek safety and hope,” Dr. Johnston explains.

Where is your church on its welcoming journey? GLAD has resources to help any church, conservative to the core or proudly O&A for years, to learn yet more about welcome and affirmation. Browse the GLAD website for Resources and Inspiration, and contact Dr. Johnston at mark@gladalliance.org anytime with a question or for a suggestion.