With a series of videos and an op-ed in The Huffington Post, New York City's Ali Forney Center is encouraging religious parents not to use their faith as a reason to reject their LGBT children.
"I need to ask my fellow Christians to wake up to the terrible fact that far too many LGBT youth are being abused and rejected in Christian homes," writes the Forney Center's executive director, Carl Siciliano. "Many conservative Christians are increasingly preoccupied with fighting against the equal treatment of LGBT people in our society. And no one suffers more harm from this fight and the intolerant climate it creates than the LGBT children of too many of these Christians."
Siciliano also led a video project documenting the real-life stories of LGBT youth who have been subjected to religious abuse and familial rejection, and published the videos on the Forney Center's website.
"The stories they tell of physical and verbal abuse and the destructive toll taken on their young selves are very hard to hear, but it is important that we listen," writes Siciliano. "We need to recognize that the condemnation of LGBT people in churches leads to the abuse and rejection of LGBT children in far too many Christian homes. As Christians, commanded to love one another, we need to demand that this climate of rejection stops. We need to educate our communities and our religious leaders about the terrible harm being done to LGBT youth in the name of God."
Watch a summary video below, and meet each youth in videos on the next page.