New York, NY, August 22, 2011 — The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced that progressive Christian magazine Sojourners will publish a full-page ad in its September/October issue highlighting the disproportionate rates of homelessness facing LGBT youth.
GLAAD created the ad with the Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest organization serving homeless LGBT youth, after the magazine rejected print advertisements from the LGBT Christian congregational welcoming campaign, Believe Out Loud. In response to public outcry about the decision, Sojourners President and founder, Jim Wallis, stated that while he supports LGBT-inclusion in places of worship, Sojourners is meant to address issues of "poverty, racial justice, stewardship of the creation, and the defense of life and peace."
GLAAD contacted Sojourners regarding its advertising and editorial policies. When representatives reiterated that Sojourners is committed to issues including poverty and homelessness, GLAAD discussed how LGBT people are deeply affected by those issues. GLAAD successfully advocated for the inclusion of a full-page ad spotlighting facts about homelessness among LGBT youth. Additionally, Sojourners agreed to run a series of blog posts about LGBT youth and homelessness.
"Engaging faith communities with messages that encourage parents to support their gay and transgender children is a crucial step in reducing the number of LGBT youth left homeless by unwelcoming families," said GLAAD's Director of Religion, Faith & Values Ross Murray. "By running this ad, Sojourners is sending a strong message to millions of Christians that all children — gay and straight — deserve to be loved."
"The Ali Forney Center has been overwhelmed with thousands of LGBT youth seeking help after being discarded by their families," said Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, Carl Siciliano. "Far too many of these youths described being rejected because of their parents' religious beliefs. We hope to help the Christian community understand the terrible sufferings LGBT youth endure through homelessness, and how family rejection endangers their lives. No child should be forced to survive alone on the streets."
GLAAD's Religion, Faith & Values Program works to elevate LGBT-affirming voices of faith in mainstream, regional and community media. For more information, visit www.glaad.org/programs/faith.