Queer Activists Host Multi-Faith 'Day of Prayer' for LGBTQ+ Youth

Pray for LGBTQ+ Youth. National Day of Prayer for LGBTQ+ Youth 6.30.2023

In what has become a divided society, many of us see a clear, preconceived distinction between faith communities and LGBTQ+ communities. The fact of the matter, though, is that people are full of multitudes and can be part of many communities and connect with various identities at once.

In fact, one in five LGBTQ+ youth says that their spirituality is important to them. 

Yet — queer youth of faith are struggling. 

While many young LGBTQ+ people find community and connection to their faith, they also experience ostracization, shame, and bullying in their homes and social circles. 

In fact, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, religiosity has been associated with significantly higher rates of suicide attempts among gay, lesbian, and questioning youth.  

In instances where LGBTQ+ youth are sent to religious conversion therapy (harmful programs aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual and their gender identity to the one they were assigned at birth), suicide rates increase. 

A bar graph from the Trevor Project shows that LGBTQ youth who were subjected to conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide than those who were not.
Data from the Trevor Project's National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health illustrates the increase in suicide attempts for LGBTQ+ youth subjected to conversion therapy / Courtesy of The Trevor Project

In 2020, 27% of LGBTQ+ youth who attempted suicide were sent to conversion therapy, according to a national survey from the Trevor Project. 

The answer to these crises, of course, is not forcing young people to change to fit certain gender roles or expectations, but to create religious spaces and communities that are inclusive for all who seek a place there.

Beloved Arise is the first national organization for queer youth of faith, building relationships, offering support, and inspiring youth to embrace their truest selves. 

A multi-faith approach inclusive to a myriad of spiritual modalities, Beloved Arise has a variety of affirming resources for LGBTQ+ youth who identify as Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu. 

The organization also has programming like youth groups, ambassadorships, campus groups, mental health resources, and storytelling and essay contests.

One of its major initiatives is Queer Youth of Faith Day. This multi-faith national holiday occurs on June 30 to round out Pride Month and unite in prayer for the “safety, well-being, and flourishing” of LGBTQ+ youth.

Participants can sign up to pray (either with a group or on their own) and join in for a virtual program on June 30 to come together in prayer. 

The organization’s goal is to connect 1.8 million people for the event, which represents the estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth who will seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.

Sid High outside among trees
Sid High is a youth ambassador for Beloved Arise. Photo courtesy of Beloved Arise

“When you’re queer, it’s hard to be able to step into a church without worry of judgment from those around you,” Beloved Arise youth ambassador Sid High told Good Good Good. “Having a safe space to do so when so many of us are desperately seeking a space to belong is truly beautiful.” 

High, who is a transgender Christian, said Queer Youth Day of Faith is an opportunity to bring together other queer siblings of various faith backgrounds under the same mission: to spread love, regardless of one’s individual religious teachings.

“Being queer and religious are not mutually exclusive; they are a part of each of us,” another Beloved Arise youth ambassador, Sabrina Hodak, a bisexual Modern Orthodox Jew, said. 

Sabrina Hodak in front of a large tree
Sabrina Hodak is a youth ambassador for Beloved Arise. Photo courtesy of Beloved Arise

“We have a place in religion just as much as everyone else. We can’t choose who we love, but we can choose our faith, and people need to respect that, regardless of their understanding.” 

Regardless of the expansive communal experience of the day of prayer, each participant will likely connect to a personal meaning and spirituality completely unique to them. 

Jacob Feldan, a youth ambassador who identifies as a bisexual Jew, hopes to break narratives surrounding tradition and strengthen his faith.

Jacob Feldan smiles, one arm up on a cave wall.
Jacob Feldan is a youth ambassador for Beloved Arise. Photo courtesy of Beloved Arise

He said: “Queer Youth of Faith Day is an opportunity to engage with our whole selves, all aspects of our identities, and remind ourselves that we are all made in the divine image.”

Article Details

June 26, 2023 7:25 AM
A crowd of religious people and clergy supporting the LGBTQ+ community

Religious groups are protecting Pride events — upending the LGBTQ+ vs. faith narrative

More than 120 faith groups will fan out across 50 events this June to de-escalate extremist anti-LGBTQ+ protests from hate groups.
A photo collage of hands holding a plant in the soil, a building, a sign in support of LGBTQIA+ people and equal access to IVF, a construction site, and a sea lion underwater

Good News This Week: June 8, 2024 - Parks, Pride, & the Olympics

Your weekly roundup of the best good news worth celebrating...
A simple hand-drawn Pride month calendar

Ultimate Calendar of LGBTQ+ Pride & Awareness Days (2024)

Your simple guide to the hundreds of national and international LGBTQ+ pride days, weeks, and months.
Rainbow colored calendar for June's awareness month

June: Awareness Months & Holidays for Causes

The ultimate calendar of June’s awareness days, national months, and more...

Want to stay up-to-date on positive news?

The best email in your inbox.
Filled with the day’s best good news.