not in Primary anymore

you are not alone: online resources and support groups for lds lgbtq/ssa people and their friends and family

by Hermia Lyly
    When I told my mother that I was queer, she didn’t know what to do. She had no idea who to talk to, or how to understand what I was going through. She told me often that she felt alone, because she didn’t want her friends to know that she had a queer daughter. It’s not that she was ashamed of me, it was just that she didn’t yet know how to deal with everything, and she didn’t want her friends to push or one way or the other, or to ask her difficult questions that she didn’t know how to answer.
    Unfortunately, my mother still hasn’t found many people that she can talk to. I have done my best to introduce her to support groups, but she is very reluctant. She is still afraid. It seems that she is afraid that every support group or online resource for LGBTQ/SSA Mormons has a secret agenda to push people away from the Church. For many months, I’ve wished that there was some kind of database of online resources and support groups for those of us who stand at the crossroads of the LGBTQ/SSA experience and the LDS experience. Since I haven’t been able to find such a database, I’ve decided to create one.
     Welcome to You Are Not Alone, a (soon to be) comprehensive online database of resources and support groups for LDS LGBTQ/SSA people and their friends and family members. Below, you will see a list of these resources, complete with a link to their website (when available) and a short paragraph describing the resource. As I discover new resources, I will add them to the list. If I have left out a resource that you’d like me to include, please give me the name of it in the comments section.
      Beneath the list of resources is a list of facts about the ways in which many of our LGBTQ/SSA youth are at risk. I have not included this list to make people feel guilty, or to bring a negative spirit to this post, but rather to galvanize people into helping these youth. If you think that it is no longer an issue to be a non-heterosexual youth among your peers at school, you are mistaken.

Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.

– Doctrine & Covenants 81:5


 

MormonsandGays.org

Mormons and Gays is an official website from the LDS Church.
From the website:
“This website is a collection of conversations; conversations with Church leaders, conversations with Church members who are attracted to people of the same sex, and conversations with the loved ones of gay spouses, children, or grandchildren who are dealing with the effects of same-sex attraction in their own lives [. . .] Those who speak from the heart on this website do not necessarily represent in every word or detail the policies or positions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but all of them speak with authenticity because they reflect what has happened in their own lives and the experiences of those they love. The Church leaders featured here reflect the sentiments and teachings of the highest Church authorities — the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.”

North Star
From the website:
“The mission of North Star is to provide a place of community for Latter-day Saints who experience homosexual attraction or gender identity incongruence, as well as their family, friends, and ecclesiastical leaders. North Star serves those who desire the spiritual and social support that strengthens faith, builds character, and empowers men and women to live in joy and harmony within their covenants, values, and beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

GaysandMormons.org
Designed especially for parents of LGBTQ/SSA children. GaysandMormons.org has a great list of resources for parents who feel clueless about LGBTQ/SSA issues.
From the website:
“This website was designed by LDS parents and professionals who are aware that when you first learn you have a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) child and need some very focused information, instead you are confronted with hundreds of pages of reading material, many hours of video recordings, and several websites, all representing a very wide range of perspectives and experiences.  It can be just too much. What you need is one simple, clear place to start.”

No More Strangers
From the website:
“No More Strangers: LGBT Mormon Forum is a blog by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Mormons, and our family and allies in and around the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are in different places in terms of our relationship with the LDS Church.  Some of us are active in the Church and fiercely committed to our testimony and to the Gospel. Some of us wrestle with doubt and/or faith. Some are firmly post-Mormon, though concerned about the state of affairs in LGBT Mormondom.  We bring with us expertise as teachers, scientists, writers, coaches, therapists, activists, theologians, and thinkers. We seek to address a range of topics, in diverse voices and styles [. . .]”

Affirmation
From the website:
“Affirmation supports LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their families, friends and Church leaders in seeking to live productive lives consistent with their faith or heritage. We provide a loving, inclusive community for all LGBTQ/SSA people, regardless of how they identify in their sexual orientation, gender identity, or faith. We encourage spirituality and empower LGBTQ/SSA Mormons to make valuable contributions within and outside of the Church. We organize local gatherings and international conferences, provide informational resources, and work for dialogue within the Church.

Mormons Building Bridges
From the website:
In accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Mormons Building Bridges is dedicated to conveying love and acceptance to same-sex attracted and LGBTQI individuals and asserts that all our brothers and sisters are inherently worthy of love and belonging in our homes, congregations, and communities. MBB supports specific initiatives that promote this mission.

(Gay) Mormon Guy
(Gay) Mormon Guy is a blog written by David Peterson.
From the website:
“(Gay) Mormon Guy is my blog about same-sex attraction and faithfully living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has a few purposes in my mind [. . .] Tohelp people find hope and peace in difficult trials – to be the resource I wish had been available in the darkest hours of my life [. . . ] To be a witness that living the gospel faithfully and completely, even with same-sex attraction, can bring real happiness and lasting joy. To increase understanding within the LDS and Christian community by explaining the moral, intellectual, and social dynamics surrounding same-sex attraction. To give me a place to work out my own problems and allow others to work through theirs.”


 

The Centers for Disease Control reports in that because of their sexual orientation:

-Eight of ten LGBT students had been verbally harassed at school;
-Four of ten had been physically harassed at school;
-Six of ten felt unsafe at school; and
-One of five had been the victim of a physical assault at school.

They also report–
-Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. The journal Pediatrics shows this number could be as high as 8 times.
-LGBT students (61.1%) were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation.
-LGBT students (over 25%) reported missing classes or days of school because of feeling unsafe in their school environment
The journal Pediatrics shows LGBT young adults who experienced high levels of rejection were
-Nearly 6 times as likely to have high levels of depression;
-More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide;
-More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs; and
-More than 3 times as likely to engage in unprotected sexual behaviors that put them at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

GLSEN’s National Climate Survey for 2011 highlights
-84.9% of students heard “gay” used in a negative way (e.g., “that’s so gay”) frequently or often at school, and 91.4% reported that they felt distressed because of this language.
-71.3% heard other homophobic remarks (e.g., “dyke” or “faggot”) frequently or often
-81% were verbally harassed (called names or threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 63.9% because of their gender expression.
-38.3% were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation, and 27.1% because of their gender expression.
-18.3% were physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked, injured with a weapon) in the past year because of their sexual orientation, and 12.4% because of their gender expression.
-29.8% of students skipped a class at least once in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
-31.8% missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
-Students who experienced higher levels of victimization because of their sexual orientation were three times as likely to have missed school in the past month than those who experienced lower levels (57.9% vs. 19.6%).
-Students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression had lower grade point averages than students who were less often harassed (2.9 vs. 3.2).
-Students who experienced higher levels of victimization in school because of their sexual orientation or gender expression were more than twice as likely to report that they did not plan to pursue any post-secondary education (e.g., college or trade school) than those who experienced lower levels (10.7% vs. 5.1%).

Sources:
Safe and Sound, an organization dedicated to helping homeless LGBT youth in Utah
http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm
Ryan C, Huebner D, Diaz RM, Sanchez J. Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics 2009; 123:346–352.
GLSEN 2011 National School Climate Survey 2011 -http://glsen.org/sites/default/files/2011%20National%20School%20Climate%20Survey%20Full%20Report.pdf
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3 Responses to “you are not alone: online resources and support groups for lds lgbtq/ssa people and their friends and family”

  1. Andrew

    http://familyproject.sfsu.edu is a wonderful resource for LGBT people and their families. Dr. Ryan is researching and producing materials specifically for religious families (LDS materials are completed and available) to educate parents and family of LGBT and inform them of the risks to their loved one when they aren’t accepted and to help these families adjust, cope, and grow together. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Family Acceptance Project!!

    Reply
  2. Dani

    Thank you such comprehensive information. I have some dear friends dealing with SSA issues, so these resources will be much appreciated.

    Reply

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