Petition 60841

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Reducing Harm for LGBTQ Children and Youth (60841-CB-R9999-G)

Add New Resolution as Follows:

WHEREAS, research indicates that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens who experience high levels of rejection at home are more likely to attempt suicide, are at higher risk for depression, are more likely to use illegal drugs, and are more likely to be at high risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases; and

WHEREAS, as many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, many of whom are on the streets either because their families shut them out of their homes or because they feel unsafe and/or unwanted in their family home; and

WHEREAS, according to the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church, “We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons”(¶ 161 F); and

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has affirmed its commitment to be in ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, and points out that “an individual confronting his or her own minority sexual orientation and/or that of a close family member, friend, or associate often experiences isolation, confusion, and fear when he or she needs information, guidance, and support, and we recognize that teens dealing with questions about sexual orientation are at a greater risk for suicide” (#2041, 2012 Book of Resolutions); and

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has also affirmed its opposition to homophobia and heterosexism, and its opposition to “all forms of violence or discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual practice, or sexual orientation” (#2042, 2012 Book of Resolutions); and

WHEREAS, while our church holds diverse opinions regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, we share a commitment to do no harm, to do all the good we can, and to love God; and

WHEREAS, it is not necessary for parents to agree with their children in order to demonstrate love,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United Methodist Church seeks to educate families about how to respond with love to their youth whose sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression may not conform to their family’s expectations. This response includes affirming the value and sacred worth of their youth, maintaining safe spaces and not severing ties with their youth, and demonstrating respect for their youth; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, where possible, United Methodist Churches will work with local schools to encourage and support educational opportunities, best practices for creating safe spaces, policies for reducing bullying, and to support youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who question their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Rationale

Although there are diverse opinions about theology and polity in the UMC, notably regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, we are committed to doing no harm and doing all the good we can through reducing homelessness, risk, and harm to children and youth.

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