LGBT Discrimination: Debunking the Myth
Deceptive social media posts, forwarded emails, blogs, and rumors have been leading people to believe that The Salvation Army does not serve members of the LGBT community.
These accusations are patently false. Discrimination is antithetical to The Salvation Army’s existence. We serve regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
The Salvation Army does not discriminate in its employment practices, either. Although The Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian church whose officers are ordained ministers, one does not otherwise have to be a practicing Christian to work for us. We embrace employees of many different faiths and orientations.
False accusations of discrimination are an ugly byproduct of The Salvation Army being one of the largest charities in the world. Every so often, one of our thousands of employees or millions of volunteers will say or do something that runs counter to our beliefs. When these unfortunate events occur, untruths about The Salvation Army can follow.
Learn more at our national website, which includes video testimonies from members of the LGBT community.
Local example: Booth Brown House
To illustrate the facts above, consider Booth Brown House, a Salvation Army youth shelter and housing facility in St. Paul, Minn. Nearly 20 percent of the youth living there identify themselves as members of the LGBT community, along with several of the facility’s staff members, including program director Nicole Mills (pictured).
Mills, 35, has devoted her life to working with homeless youth. She started her career 16 years ago at a teen drop-in center in Minneapolis. She gets frustrated when she hears rumors that The Salvation Army discriminates. “My background is working with homeless youth and LGBT youth – I’m not going to work someplace that discriminates,” she said.
From Mills’ perspective, the rumors are detrimental to the homeless youth she serves, for two main reasons:
- The rumors scare LGBT youth in need of help. “When homeless youth need services they sometimes don’t come to us because they’ve heard The Salvation Army won’t accept them for who they are. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”
- The rumors persuade people not to give. “When people don’t give, the LGBT youth we serve don’t get that support. People need to understand the direct correlation between the red kettles and our services. Every single dollar that goes into a kettle stays local and goes directly to helping house people and feed people. We’re providing comprehensive services to LGBT youth and doing some of the best work in the Twin Cities.”
Booth Brown House operates exactly the same as thousands of other Salvation Army operation centers in 126 countries around the world. All of these facilities provide compassionate care to anyone in need, without discrimination.
No matter how hard we try, or how many examples we provide, there will still be people who continue to believe that The Salvation Army discriminates.
If you are one of these people, please do the one thing we tell all of our detractors: visit any Salvation Army location, anywhere, and see for yourself. Talk to the staff there. Pick up a volunteer shift. In doing so, you will quickly realize that the rumors are just that – rumors. You will discover people of every race, gender, ethnicity, and orientation, receiving critical services from an equally diverse group of loving staff and volunteers.