Photo Credits: Los Amgeles Magazine
The First Congregational Church in Beloit, Wisconsin, has hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in order to provide LGBTQ people, who have been rejected by their biological families, a place to go during the holidays. The event is organized by the group Yellow Brick Road for the past three years and has also been organized this year. The idea of this event is to be a reminder that a family a person chooses is no less important than one that has been given to that person and that churches can actually play a role in promoting love and inclusivity instead of being a force for divisiveness.
“They can’t go home to their families because of who they choose to be so we give them a safe place to come have dinner and meet new people,” said Yellow Brick Road president Jen Schuler, as Patheos reports. “Having someone not accept you is really hard but when it’s someone as close as your family it’s much harder,” added Yellow Brick Road leader Marilyn Schuh. “We all deserve a place at a Thanksgiving table where we feel loved and accepted. Thanksgiving is about coming together and giving thanks for those people we love in our life. We couldn’t think of anyone else we would rather spend this day with than you!” reads the event’s description on Facebook, according to Patheos.
Events like these can be very helpful for LGBTQ people who are facing rejection and lack of support by their own families. Many studies show that lesbian, gay and bisexual adults are more likely to have attempted suicide, to have depression or to use drugs if they have experienced some form of rejection by a friend or family member in their youth. Also LGBTQ youth are at a much higher risk of becoming homeless because parents don’t want them to stay in the house with the family.
Yellow Brick Road seems to be on the right track with these Thanksgiving and other similar events which can help LGBTQ people feel connected and supported. Also it is great to see a church helping LGBTQ people instead of oppressing them and The First Congregational Church is spreading a message of inclusion together with Yellow Brick Road. Holidays are always very emotional and it can be hard for a person to be alone during holidays. Thanksgiving dinner events like this are making the holidays a lot less lonely for people who may have nowhere else to go.