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A New Year, A New Opportunity: Metropolitan Community Church Leaders Urge Faith Leaders to Address HIV and Crystal Meth Use Among LGBT Youth
Date:12/19/2007

rough the lens of their drug use.

Love is concerned, however, by the alarmist rhetoric about crystal meth. "It's really important to offer people accurate information, because a stream of dire warnings can make them feel that catastrophe is inevitable and that their day-to-day choices don't make any difference."

Both ministers are troubled by the inability of many support programs to handle the dual issue of drug use and sex. Many LGBTs are also unwilling to talk about those issues and are often unaware of the current impact of HIV/AIDS in their communities.

This worries Love, who is a recovering meth user himself, and who has been HIV+ for 7 years. "The most powerful experience I have is sitting in church and hearing someone say 'I don't know anyone who is HIV+.' I know their churches, so I know that isn't true -- it tells me that people have stopped talking and returned to the closet."

Amos agrees. "The return to the closet is real. None of the current members of my congregation are public about their HIV+ status. They're afraid of being stigmatized even in an inclusive faith community."

Amos sees MCC as uniquely poised to facilitate difficult conversations about sex and drugs. "The church has not traditionally been known as a place where you can honestly share your deepest questions and real-life experiences with sex, disease, or drug use," she says. "But MCC is reversing that trend by bringing these issues out of the closet without judgment or shame."

Amos and Love stress the need for faith communities and other organizations to take action -- especially by offering people the space and support they need to speak out and tell their stories.

Love says, "To create change, we have to learn how to talk and listen differently." At this turning of the New Year, they hope to encourage people to do just that.

Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is the world's largest and oldest Ch
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SOURCE Metropolitan Community Churches
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