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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A San Francisco State project that aims to improve acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth has created a new handbook to help reconcile the teachings of the Mormon Church with the needs of an LGBT adolescent.
The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University issued the text as part of its goal to decrease health-related risks for LGBT youth such as suicide, substance abuse, HIV and homelessness.
The decade-old project was founded with the idea of examining how acceptance influences the overall health of LGBT youth. According to the organization, family acceptance greatly improves overall health outcomes for gay youth. As a result, the project has worked to provide parents with the tools they need to prevent LGBT children from feeling rejected and isolated.
Project director Caitlin Ryan co-authored the Mormon targeted pamphlet, entitled “Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children,” with former Mormon bishop and UCLA professor Robert Rees.
The guide combines statistical evidence on the need for acceptance with Mormon scripture and advice from church officials. The goal is crate an environment where LGBT youth can feel comfortable with their sexuality without the need to abandon the faith, family or friends.
The Mormon Church is not alone in teaching that homosexuality is a sin, but the faith is the first to be targeted by the project with a guide because the faith is so strongly intertwined with family life. Members of the faith were targeted for criticism in 2008 for supporting California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage .
The document, along with non-religious pamphlets in English, Spanish and Chinese are available for download at http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications.
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