Shelly’s Voice Advocacy responds to an incoming speaker at St. Luke Catholic Parish (Indianapolis, IN)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On behalf of Shelly’s Voice Advocacy, we are greatly disappointed in the recent choices made by schools and parishes in our Indiana community. Conversion therapy is never an okay practice to endorse or facilitate in any form. Inviting a speaker to your school or promoting that speaker sends a clear message of support for that practice to all that read it. Data from the Human Rights Campaign tells us that LGBTQ+ youth are 6 times more likely than their straight peers to report being severely depressed and are 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide. Practices like conversion therapy that invalidate and shame youth for being who they are exasperating these already heartbreaking statistics.
Religious identity has been used as a powerful tool to push forward bigotry in our state and nation over the past few years, but more importantly, It has been used as a tool to relinquish a need for accountability when promoting life-threatening narratives that bully already at-risk youth. We can not let this stand any longer, and we will not let hate like this run rampant in our community. The message of the Christian faith is one of love and joy and all deserve to find a safe place in religion without having to change a fundamental portion of their being. Personal interpretations of religious texts or personal religious beliefs do not give permission to not confront the harmful impacts of conversion therapy and absolutely do not give permission to promote it with no regard for how it will affect the youth of your community. ALL children deserve to feel safe in their school community and when schools promote the messages of conversion therapy that safety is ripped away.
LGBTQ+ children do not need to be “fixed” and yet narratives pushed by conversion therapy say otherwise. Any practice that names children a “Problem to be solved” is inherently flawed. This speaker will not just affect those who attend the parish of Saint Luke, but it tells ALL LGBTQ+ children that they are an issue and don’t deserve to take up space in our state. LGBTQ+ youth deserve to be loved for every part of who they are. LGBTQ+ youth are loved, LGBTQ+ youth deserve to take up space loudly and proudly, and LGBTQ+ youth do not need to be fixed. Live loudly. Live proudly. Know that there are people in your corner fighting for you and we will not stop fighting these bigoted practices. We see you, we love you, and we will fight for you.
The Shelly’s Voice Advocacy Team
*Shelly’s Voice has reached out to St. Luke for a meeting and has been redirected to the North Deanery’s Office of Youth Ministry.
*The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has announced that they are postponing the speaker and allowing time for discernment. Shelly’s Voice is still planning a rally for acceptance and will execute it in the event that they reschedule the speaker.
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