"I call on Pope Benedict to stop his anti-gay rhetoric, which fosters a climate in which parents abuse and abandon their LGBT children. All religious leaders who preach against the acceptance of LGBT people as equal members of society have created a world where far too many parents and families become unable to accept their LGBT children because of religious bias and intolerance. Thousands of LGBT teens have flocked to the Ali Forney Center from around the world after being reduced to utter destitution and homelessness because their parents rejected them."
"It is tragic that Pope Benedict has chosen Christmas, a time devoted to working towards peace on earth and goodwill among all people, to stridently escalate his vilification of LGBT people. And during a time when we might reflect on the preciousness of every child, Pope Benedict has spoken again and again in a manner that undermines the safety of LGBT youths."
Over the past week Pope Benedict has spoken aggressively against marriage equality, saying that it "threatens the essence of the human creature" and that it is a threat to world peace. Earlier this year, he said that marriage equality threatens human dignity and the future of humanity.
Recent studies by Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project at the University of San Francisco have documented that highly religious parents are significantly more likely to reject their LGBT children, and have also documented that LGBT teens who suffer family rejection face greatly escalated risk of homelessness, medical and mental health problems, and suicide, compared to LGBT teens whose families accept them. Approximately 80% of the youths who seek help from the Ali Forney Center report that they faced abuse in their homes directed at them for being LGBT, and most were driven from their homes by rejecting families. A recent report by the Center for American Progress estimated that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States.
The Ali Forney Center (AFC) is the largest organization in the United States dedicated to homeless LGBT youths. AFC provides housing and supportive services to over 1,000 LGBT youths per year.
(HuffPost Gay Voices, October 2012)
(Associated Press, March 2012)
(Daily News, October 2011)
(NPR, November 2011)
(Advocate, August 2011)
(Daily News, June 2011)
(Daily News, October 2009)