“Mom, isn’t it amazing that in every “body” is an entire universe of life?”
– Ben Wood in “Changing the Message”*
Believe Out Loud sat down with LGBT activist and author Julie Wood to discuss how the loss of her son, Ben, to suicide in 2013 led her to dedicate her life to LGBT advocacy in faith communities. In this moving conversation, Julie talks about the need for healing and shares advice for parents and youth struggling to reconcile faith with sexuality. Julie’s message of love and kindness is especially important as her own denomination, the United Methodist Church, is considering to split into two parts over questions of same-sex marriage and queer clergy in the church.
We hope you enjoy this conversation and share it widely.
*Quote taken from Julie Wood’s book “Changing the Message,” available here.
If you are struggling, please know you are never alone and you are loved. If you need immediate help, please call the Trevor Project hotline at 1-866-488-7386.
Here is a list of some of our favorite LGBT mental health resources. They include LGBT-centered counseling, online communities and spaces to learn.
- Talk Space: This platform features thousands of licensed therapists who will provide guidance and support, and you can contact your therapist using a laptop or smartphone. The conversation will be synced across devices, so you can access help wherever you are. On Talk Space, messages can be sent 24 hours a day and the therapist will respond one or two times per day.
- Pride Counseling: Focused on providing counseling for the LGBT community, Pride Counseling will match youth with a licensed therapist. They provide support for identity and mental health issues in a safe space. It’s possible to message a counselor 24 hours a day as well as schedule counseling sessions.
- Better Help: Better Help has a large network of licensed counselors, and you can reach a counselor through messaging, chat, phone or video. For LTGB youth seeking online counseling, Better Help has affordable and convenient counseling services.
- Amwell: Providing LGBT-focused counseling, Amwell offers face-to-face online therapy either on your computer or using a mobile app. Most sessions last around 45 minutes and must be scheduled in advance.
- The Trevor Project: Offering a wealth of information to LGBT youth and allies, the Trevor Support Center answers frequently asked questions on topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation. You’ll also find the coming out handbook andresources for trans youth.
- The Gay Straight Alliance: From training youth leaders, supporting LGBT youth organizers, and supporting LGBT youth development, the Gay Straight Alliance Network unites teenagers across the country.
- It Gets Better Project: For inspiring stories from LGBT youth, the It Gets Better Project provides uplifting video stories created by LGBT youth around the world.
- Trevor Space: This international community is the world’s largest social networking site for LGBT youth. On Trevor Space you can create a custom profile, join a discussion forum and connect with people who are going through similar experiences.
- Gender Spectrum: This is an inclusive space for all LGBT youth. From resources and online consulting to online groups for teens and family members, they provide a community rooted in understanding and inclusion.
- Empty Closets: This online community offers a forum where you can join a chat, start a discussion and find additional resources. Empty Closets will provide support to youth as they explore their sexual orientation.
- AVEN: The AVEN community promotes thoughtful and honest conversations about asexuality and welcomes members who identity as sexual or asexual. AVEN allows you to connect with other youth through forums.
To find an affirming church near you, visit our Welcoming Church Map here.
On behalf of the entire Believe Out Loud community:
thank you, Julie, for all that you do!