Affirmation Announces Site for Families with Gay Members

A support group for current and former gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Latter-day Saints, their families, friends and allies has just announced the creation of a new Web site to help families understand what to do next when a loved one, especially a child, comes out as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The goal of keepthemandlovethem.org, said Affirmation’s Executive Director David Melson, is to help keep families together.

“When a family member comes out, the short-term effects can be traumatic to other family members,” he said. “Like the Mormon Church, we believe our family is the most important thing in this world. We must keep our children close, love them and support them, and keep our families intact.”

Although the Web site is still under construction, it currently includes testimonies from gay youth about their coming out experiences, LDS parents of gay children, and gay men who have married women as well as articles on the Bible and homosexuality geared towards Latter-day Saints. It also has an in-progress FAQ for LDS youth which addresses such topics as whether gay and lesbian young adults should serve missions, and articles discussing the complex issues facing men whom the church pressures into marriage to “cure” their homosexuality.

“You may be angry, you may be hurt, you may be afraid when your child, or your parent, or your spouse says, “I’m gay,”” the Web site’s introduction reads. “Your loved one has likely already felt all of those and more. Though it may not feel like it to you, nothing has actually changed. You are the same parent you were before your child came out, or the same child, or the same spouse, and your gay family member’s only change is the freedom from carrying the secret of her or his orientation or gender identity.”

Affirmation said it hopes the Web site can be used not only to keep families together, but to help end the epidemic of gay and transgender youth homelessness.

“Homeless kids all over this country are sleeping in shelters or on the streets because of their family’s rejection when the families learn they are gay,” said Robert Moore, Director of Affirmation’s Young Adults Program. “I personally know dozens of homeless gay kids who have been forced to make desperate choices in order to survive.”

Melson added that he hopes the site can also be a tool that Affirmation and the LDS Church can both use to “produce real solutions to real problems” families with gay and transgender members face.

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