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Group Advocates For LGBT Youth In Religious Homes

Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 25, 2017

It's being labeled an epidemic: alarmingly high suicide rates, homeless rates, and sex trafficking rates among LGBT youth, especially in religious homes. 

To try and change the trend, a group named Faith in America walked into the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention on Friday to share a message that LGBT youth are in danger. 

"400,000 kids are on the streets because they feel safer there than in their parent's home," Robert Hoffman, interim executive director and co-chair of Faith in America, said. 

According to statistics from Faith in America and the The Trevor Project, LGBT youth have been four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, and when they're in highly rejecting homes, including religious homes, they can be more than eight times as likely than other LGBT youth to attempt suicide. 

LGBT youth also make up more than 40 percent of homeless teens in America, and LGBT children and youth have been 70 times more likely to be victims of sex trafficking. 

"We want to get the LGBT off the sin list," Stan Mitchell, senior pastor at GracePointe Church, said. "We believe it is harming human beings." 

The group had asked to take part in the conference, specifically in a breakout session regarding how to deal with homosexuality when it comes to religion, but they were turned down. That's when the group decided to make their voices heard, both with prayer and song by singing "Amazing Grace" inside of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel where the conference was taking place. 

"We just wanted to remind them, folks like us who affirm the LGBT community follow the same Christ, and we sing out of the same hymnal," Mitchell said. 

Friday's group was filled with some who previously saw being gay as a sin, as well as those who struggled with their own journey. 

"As my faith and my own sexuality became a question for me, I experienced so much rejection from this community," Brandan Robertson, lead pastor at Mission Gathering Christian Church in San Diego, California, said. 

Robertson, an LGBT Christian pastor, has had firsthand experience on how tough gaining acceptance in a religious community can be, but he said he believes it's time to accept the LGBT community and treat them as equals, just as the church has done with other disenfranchised groups in the past. 

"I think that being here and having these conversations is so important because if we're not here doing it, then nobody's going to do it," Robertson said. 

Faith in America has attended conferences and visited schools across the country to spread their message, and they hope eventually all religions will accept the LGBT community.