Today, June 30, is Queer Youth of Faith Day!
Beloved Arise, a national organization dedicated to celebrating and empowering LGBTQ youth of faith, hosted a virtual day of prayer for LGBTQ youth on Queer Youth of Faith Day. This is an annual event that celebrates and champions LGBTQ youth from all faith backgrounds.
Beloved Arise exists as a multi-faith community. They celebrate and embrace queer youth and young adults from all faith traditions. Consequentially, the organization says it’s mission is to uplift and empower LGBTQ young people in all spiritual beliefs, identities, and expressions.
“We are [part of] a movement to fight for the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth. Particularly those who exist in the margins of their faith communities,” said Drew Young, the Beloved Arise out reach coordinator.
This is the fourth Queer Youth of Faith Day to to take place, since 2019.
Yesterday, NASDAQ and GLAAD celebrated Queer Youth of Faith Day with a digital billboard display in Times Square.
Queer youth of faith even joined Beloved Arise to ring the opening bell to kick of Queer Youth of Faith Day.
However, Beloved Arise made Queer Youth of Faith Day a part of the entire month of June.
Throughout the month of June, Beloved Arise aimed to inspire people to pray for LGBTQ youth by highlight stories of queer youth of faith on its Instagram account (@beloved_arise). On Queer Youth of Faith Day, the organization plans to hold calls to prayer throughout the day as well as host live conversations with queer youth of faith.
Furthermore, participants read from LGBTQ youth of faith like Jasmine McKenzie from Mobile, AL. McKenzie tells a story about how they found peace in Judaism and their relationship to their gender and sexuality.
She shares: “I have always gone to God and scripture for guidance in my life. He provided me with comfort through my depression; He was the one I prayed to about a test I was anxious about; He was the one I asked for guidance when I realized I had a crush on a girl…”
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People will read about Elliot Kozlowski who grew up atheist and later found a new religion.
“When I was younger I tried talking to God, but it never stuck. At first I thought my fascination with religion was academic, with occasional trial runs trying to contact the only God I knew of then, but soon I discovered the umbrella of Neopaganism. I don’t remember exactly how I found it, but I was quickly hit with the weight of a feeling I’d never felt before,” Kozlowski shares.
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“LGBTQ+ youth are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. They struggle with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and homelessness at significantly higher rates than their straight and cisgender peers. We believe every young life matters and deserves unconditional love,” Young said.
With this, Beloved Arise focused on bringing 1.8 million people together from across faith traditions to pray for queer youth. This goal comes as the Trevor Project estimates that 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. Dually alarming, at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
“Beloved Arise hopes naming this 1.8 million goal will bring attention to the precious lives behind these heartbreaking statistics and motivate people to pray for the safety, well-being, and flourishing of LGBTQ+ youth,” the press release said.
This year’s first prayer for LGBTQ youth includes three main intentions:
- Safety – May LGBTQ youth be protected from harm. May they live in peace, free from threats of violence and abuse. May those facing the harsh realities of homelessness find safety and shelter.
- Well-being – May LGBTQ youth who struggle with depression, anxiety, and self-harm find access to the services and support they need to get better.
- Flourishing – May LGBTQ youth find their path to wholeness and joy and live life to the fullest.
To learn more about Beloved Arise and the Youth Alliance, please visit www.belovedarise.org. Participants can also follow this link to sign-up to pray. The organization will share events they’ve planned throughout Queer Youth of Faith Day. The faith organization’s events start at 9 a.m. PST through 6 p.m. PST on Instagram.