News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post:Seattle, WA - The only organization in the world to reach GLBT former and current students of religious educational institutions, HeartStrong, Inc., is seeking participants for its outreach project, the HeartStrong Network. "We are looking for everyone in our GLBT communities who has ever attended a religious educational institution," says Marc Adams, Executive Director and cofounder of HeartStrong, Inc. "All of us who share this history must join hands so we can help to empower those who are still struggling to survive. Those of us who have survived these institutions and who have come to love ourselves in spite of what they tried to do to us, must come together." "Students and alumni of any religious school, college or university are asked to respond," Adams continues. "This includes Catholic, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, Jewish, Presbyterian, Baptist, Pentecostal...this means everyone!" Those interested in participating in the HeartStrong Network project may register online at www.heartstrong.org Adams, an out gay fundamentalist Baptist preacher's son and former fundamentalist himself, knows personally the journey that many GLBT persons take when enrolled at religious educational institutions. "I attended these types of schools from 5th grade through high school graduation and I attended Jerry Falwell's Liberty University for 3 ½ years," Adams reflects. "The harsh disciplinary and anti-homosexual environments in the schools I attended were not even close to representing the horrors that others have undergone at many of these schools, colleges and universities." Adams and two others founded HeartStrong, Inc., in January of 1998. "We feel strongly that we were meant to begin this work of reaching out to struggling and suffering GLBT students at these schools," says Adams. "How could we turn our backs on the thousands of young people trapped emotionally and physically in these environments?" "I remember watching many of my friends being persecuted at Liberty University for homosexuality when I was a student there," Adams injects, "Each time one of my was forced out, I feared that someone would discover me. I never showed them the love and compassion they so desperately needed." It is those experiences and Adams discovery six years ago that no one was even attempting to focus on reaching students in these schools, that led them to form HeartStrong, Inc. It is now a not-for-profit corporation governed by a board of others who have attended religious schools.
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