“Our Spirit” helps LGBT youth

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Too often, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people think that they must choose to be queer or to be a person of faith. Through the web and film, Our Spirit is helping young people reconcile their faith with their sexuality, helping them understand that the two need not be mutually exclusive. Our Spirit was founded about a year ago as a web resource for youth who are hurt and confused by so-called “traditional” religious teachings about homosexuality.

The site is open to all youth—gay, straight, or other—who have questions about pretty much anything to do with relationships, sexuality, religion and so on. It includes extensive links and resources to organizations, help lines, movies, literature, friendly churches and denominations and lots of qualified, expert opinion letting kids know that it’s okay to be who and what they were born as—and they are worth loving just as they are.

Our Spirit's Robert Guthrie says it is a safe space where young people can get the info they need.

Our Spirit’s Robert Guthrie says it is a safe space where young people can get the info they need.

Prominent on the site’s home page is renowned Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, whose video provides a welcoming and endorsing message. “The church has gotten it wrong many times over history…we’ve been wrong for countless centuries about God’s attitude toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Our Spirit is a great place to hear God’s message of love for all of God’s children.”

Our Spirit director Robert Guthrie explains, “Our Spirit is a safe place where young people can get the information they need, information about love and God that many churches still choose to ignore. Our Spirit encourages young people to be their whole selves, let love be their whole story.”

Our Spirit is not proselytizing for any particular church or denomination or even for Christianity in general. No matter their faith, no matter their sexual orientation, on Our Spirit, young people can find and share stories to help them on their journey. Take Bryan, for instance. A pastor’s son, he shares, “Once I understood how misguided and unfair it is for Christians to use the Bible…against anyone, I was able to cast off that weight and love myself freely—and feel loved by the heavens, too.”

So far, over 5,000 people have visited the site. Mr. Guthrie comments, “We’ve heard from people all over the United States and the world, including someone who wrote, “I’m a Christian, gay high school student in Pakistan. Please pray for me.” The site is supported by private funders who want to help make life easier for LGBT youth. Some are people who remember what it was like growing up around conservative religion. Others are parents of LGBT children.

About Our Spirit’s future, Mr. Guthrie stated, “At the moment, our mission is to be an online resource to help youth feel good about themselves. We hope Our Spirit is a place that youth can get to from wherever they feel safest… their laptops or whatever their means of getting online. We are expanding the website to include commenting and building on-line community. Other organizations like The Trevor Project provide fantastic direct services. Our hope is that Our Spirit can be a sanctuary for youth on their journeys to loving and accepting themselves.”

For more information, to contribute or if you are a young person with questions you need help with, visit
www.ourspiritnow.org.

Spirit tells a story of love, because love is the whole story.

Too often, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people think that they must choose to be queer or to be a person of faith. Through the web and film, Our Spirit is helping young people reconcile their faith with their sexuality, helping them understand that the two need not be mutually exclusive. Our Spirit was founded about a year ago as a web resource for youth who are hurt and confused by so-called “traditional” religious teachings about homosexuality.