National Coming Out Day: Inspired by Faith, Hope, Love and Belonging
October 11, 2013 by Michael Toumayan, Manager, Religion and Faith Program
This Friday as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day under the auspices of “Coming Out Still Matters,” many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals continue to struggle to reconcile their faith and sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a groundbreaking research among than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17, a mere 8 percent and 5 percent of LGBT youth are out at church and to their clergy respectively. What the findings tell us is that there is a stark disconnect between LGBT perception and the new reality where faith communities have taken a courageous, love-affirming stance. In fact, on Oct. 11 watch To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbé on your local PBS station as the segment examines the Welcoming Movement and will feature faith leaders like Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley and Rev. Dr. Christine Wiley who both sit on HRC’s Religion Council.
As religious institutions and faith leaders raise their voices for justice and inclusion, those LGBT folks, long closeted, are wondering if they might finally be open in their faith communities. You should not have to be forced to choose between who you are and your unbreakable bond to your faith.
Pope Francis, who made waves in the press recently for his comments on LGBT issues and earned admirations from President Obama to Joe Olsteen for his humility, said, “The church is the people of God on the journey through history,” adding “human self-understanding changes with time and so also human consciousness deepens.”
This evolution of thinking is grounded in your personhood in the likeliness of God and rightful place in the church. You are the inspiration and that is why your Coming Out Still Matters in your faith community! We want to hear your stories.
Living openly within a community of faith can be a challenging endeavor for LGBT members. The potential rewards, though, include the gifts of spiritual renewal, the joyful celebration of your unique self, and the opportunity to transform the hearts and minds of those around you. That’s why we’re launching our new guide Coming Home:To Faith, To Spirit, To Self in January 2014 to help you live an authentic life within your faith community.
Visit www.hrc.org/religion to stay tuned for the release.
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