By: Shannon Ralph
You may not know it, but we are in the midst of “40 Days of Prayer, Fasting, and Repentance for Marriage.” The Family Foundation, an anti-gay advocacy group based in Virginia has launched the 40 Days initiative, encouraging people to pray and fast for 40 days—August 27th through October 5th—to counteract marriage equality.
As a rational, somewhat intelligent, fairly well-adjusted adult lesbian, I have the ability to laugh at initiatives such as these. To blow them off. To shake my head and wonder about the state of certain states. I am confident enough in who I am to not allow stunts such as these to affect my self-worth.
I have that luxury because I am an adult.
Initiatives such as these are particularly devastating to LGBT youth. We’ve all been there. Scared of what others will think. Craving acceptance. Wanting nothing more than to be valued and appreciated. Remember when you had yet to develop the ability to define your own self-worth? Remember when your identity as a GLBT person was new and fragile and scary as hell?
Initiatives such as the 40 Days of Prayer Fasting, and Repentance for Marriage tell young GLBT people that they are wrong. A problem. Broken. Less than.
So what can we as rational, somewhat intelligent, fairly well-adjusted GLBT adults—and our all-important allies—do? We can counteract exclusion and bigotry with inclusion and love.
Planting Peace is a progressive nonprofit pro-GLBT organization whose purpose is to spread peace in a hurting world. In response to The Family Foundation’s harmful initiative, Planting Peace is spearheading a fasting initiative of their own entitled “40 Days for the Trevor Project.” They are calling on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals and their allies to give up one meal and instead contribute the cost of that meal to the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project, a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.
“Every year young members of the LGBT community commit suicide, many of them because of the struggle they face from of a perception that society sees them as broken,” Aaron Jackson, President of Planting Peace, said in a recent statement to The Huffington Post. “The Family Foundation’s 40 Day Fast feeds into that notion, which is completely untrue and unacceptable.”
It’s about time that loud, damaging voices such as The Family Foundation’s be drowned out by acts of inclusion. Acts of love. Acts of peace in a hurting world.
For more information on the “40 Days for The Trevor Project” or to contribute the cost of one meal, head here.