From Philadelphia to California

Mason and Crystal (left to right) teaching youth of the Child Leader Project in Riverside, California about the LGBTQ lexicon.

One week ago activists J Mason and Crystal Cheatham traveled to Des Moines, Iowa and Riverside, Los Angeles and La Mirada in California to host workshops on faith principles and the inclusivity of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) people. Coupled with support from local organizers and Soulforce, an organization committed to bringing religious and political freedom to LGBTQ people, the two facilitators were able to reach 5 Universities, 2 churches, and the youth of the Child Leader Project. During the week they led 8 workshops and 2 trainings, reaching a total of over 640 students, faculty, and church members. Thanks to the many donations that poured in during the week, the IDK was able to leave behind 30 Kits in Riverside, 15 of which stayed at the Child Leader Project. The work is not finished yet. Plans have already been set in motion to revisit Riverside and continue conversations that were started this month. The focus of this trip was to influence conservative churches in their ability to support LGBTQ members, as well as inspire closeted individuals to maintain their identities as LGBTQ and Christian. Both Mason and Crystal were able to tackle difficult questions, with folks leaving messages of hope after hearing their personal stories, in depth studies on homosexuality and the Bible, as well as traditional facts on LGBTQ identity in the US today. Those who heard either their messages of personal acceptance or attended the educational trainings, left the event with bright eyes. The following are a few of the many messages received:

“Thank you for sharing your gift with us in Riverside. Looking forward to following your growth.” -Mike

“Thanks again for taking the time to speak at our church. It probably took courage!” -Kelsy Jarboe

“This may be only the beginning of a long, hard struggle at Biola, but last night, all those LGBT students who are still living in silence found out that they are not alone. And that they can have a wonderful, vibrant relationship with God just as they are ;-);-) Keep up the righteous work!” -Don Mueller, Biola University

“Thanks again for sharing your story. What you and Mason are doing is really inspiring. It gives me hope for the future of Christianity in this country!” Melinda Smith, Hollywood SDA Church

“May God PROFOUNDLY bless you and the work you are doing.” -Kevin

Stay tuned for more stories from the road.

To find out how these two facilitators can visit your area contact Crystal@youridk.com. If you would like to further support this work donations can be made here.

-The Team of Your IDK

The Kit to Teen Campaign

The IDentity Kits are in and so far we have identified 3 youth in Pennsylvania and 15 youth in California who are in need of a Kit of their own. Those numbers are still growing. Kits are $20 a piece. With your help we can get these 18 youth this tool to help them assuage worries and fears about being gay, lesbian, trans, bi AND Christian. To find out more about each Kit click here.

What’s in a Kit?

  • Booklet: This is a community center in a book–answering tough questions about orientation, sexual identity, and tackling daunting questions like what does the Bible really say, how do I start coming out, and where can I find resources to help me long after I’ve read the book?
  • Cards: These game cards categorize the various parts of our identities. Play this game to spark conversation around parts of your identity that can empower you to be all you can be.
  • Sticker: To help you remember that your identity matters and you are not alone.

Donate $20 and help one more youth receive a Kit of their very own by clicking here or going to our Donate page.

Do you know of a teen who could use this resource? Help us get them a Kit by adding their name or your name to this confidential list by emailing it to Crystal@youridk or simply click here to fill out the form.

Sincerely,
The Team of Your IDK

The IDentity Kit Teams with Soulforce in California

ImageThe IDentity Kit is teaming with Soulforce, the nations leader on helping to reset and change descriminatory policies at Universities and Colleges. This month find both groups on a mini tour around Riverside, California teaching workshops on LGBTQ inclusion in faith based institutions. Thanks to the sponsorship of La Sierra’s PRISM and the University of Riverside the tour includes workshops at churches, community centers and a total of five Universities. Find out where you can catch facilitators Crystal Cheatham and J. Mase III at YourIDK.com/Calendar.

As an unofficial club at La Sierra, PRISM wants to put out the message that they will not stand for the hate that is currently withholding them from participating in full club status, and so have joined forces with UCR to introduce SLAM the Hate Night. This is a night of bold talent coming together to build community and local support for those who face marginalization and hate. Come celebrate your identity, learn more about sexuality, expression, gender and ask some important questions. It’s free and open to the public and will be held at UC Riverside from 6 to 10 pm, Saturday November 17. Performers will include Cheatham, J Mase III, national slam legend Regie Cabico, and the poet Emotions, with support from such voices as It Gets Better Campaign, LIfe Works LA, Queer Connection, Inland Empire Pride, and Gender Justice LA. Find out more about the event at the UCR website. Invite yourself to the Facebook.