Seventh-day Adventist Kinship, International, Inc. provides community and advocacy for LGBTIQ individuals with a Seventh-day Adventist connection, their families, and those who support them.
What Kinship Is
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship is a diverse, worldwide community of individuals who have participated in the Adventist community and have felt ostracized by church leaders, administrators, or members because of their sexual orientation or gender variation, their support for family or friends, or their convictions about equality and justice. Kinship welcomes and encourages straight allies to join us in showing that God loves all His children equally and unconditionally and we can love unconditionally too.
What Kinship is Not
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship is not a church or new theological system. Many Kinship members still worship in local Adventist churches on every continent, despite the fact that some of them must be silent about who they really are. In addition, members who are Adventist Christians represent all facets of the church’s theological spectrum and have learned to have vigorous, mutually respectful discussions about their beliefs. Others are no longer associated with Adventism at all, but members respect each others’ conscience and conformity is not required. Kinship is also not a change or reparative ministry designed to pressure members into suppressing or reshaping their sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, Kinship encourages members to form a healthy sense of self and harmoniously blend their identity, spirituality, and social relationships.
What Kinship Has Learned
Since we formed more than 30 years ago, we’ve come to know thousands of people around the world. We’ve learned from these people that gender, attraction, and love are not simplistic issues, and that each person needs to learn how to interact with others responsibly and with integrity. Kinship encourages and advocates for members’ freedom and responsibility to express themselves in ways they believe match the truth about themselves, their relationship with God, and their understanding of what God requires of them. Kinship provides a safe space for members to explore these questions, discuss research relevant to their situation, and live out the convictions they come to. We do not force members into specific conclusions about themselves or their relationships, and members respect one another’s views and privacy. Knowing that not every member is safe disclosing outside the organization, Kinship has a firm confidentiality policy to protect vulnerable members. Kinship also supports members’ decisions to be celibate or to form age-appropriate relationships; we’ve learned that these important and deeply personal decisions should not be mandated by anyone other than the individual(s) involved.
How You Can Get Involved
If you would like to help make a difference, encourage and learn with other people, and promote God's unconditional love for all His children, please join us as a member. If you would also like to support our work with members around the world with your resources or time, please contact us and we will coordinate the best opportunity for you.
More About Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International
For nearly 40 years, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International has worked worldwide with current and former Seventh-day Adventist lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people and their families, friends, and allies.For nearly 40 years, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International has worked worldwide with current and former Seventh-day Adventist lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people and their families, friends, and allies.
SDA Kinship members today are as diverse as the rest of the Adventist community is. What we share is the conviction that God loves all His children equally and unconditionally, no matter our gender identity or sexual orientation.* God created each of us with the healthy desire for companionship (e.g. Gen. 2:18), and He uses our social and intimate relationships to teach us what daily lives of love and self-sacrifice look like (e.g. Eph. 5:1-2; 1 Jn. 4:11-12; Col. 3:12-14; 1 Cor. 13).
From Colin Cook’s Quest Learning Center and Homosexuals Anonymous (1980) to today’s Coming Out Ministries, the Seventh-day Adventist church has subsidized or promoted reparative or change “therapy” and so-called “ex-gay” ministries that target vulnerable LGBTI people, same gender couples, and the congregations they participate in.
SDA Kinship members who’ve graduated from these ministries know their teachings and accounts of abuse, addiction, and “change” through spirituality or divine intervention. We also know these ministries’ outcomes all too well. We will never confuse destructive patterns of substance abuse, domestic violence, or sex addiction with a person’s underlying gender or sexual orientation, and we’re happy for those who, with therapy, have lessened their distress about who they are. Having picked up the pieces these ministries left behind, however, we also know that “interventions” based on treating non-heterosexual orientations as essentially sinful, deviant, or inferior have devastating psychological, relational, and spiritual impacts on youth and adults alike.
We appreciate the consensus of the American Medical Association (2003), National Association of Social Workers (2000), American Psychiatric Association (1998), American Psychological Association (1997), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (1993): non-heterosexual orientations are not in themselves a problem and so do not merit therapy, suppression, or change. These clinical professionals, medics, and scientists have learned from study what SDA Kinship members have learned from experience.
Because of God’s work in our lives and families, our knowledge of change organizations, and our experiences with thousands of LGBTI and heterosexual people since 1976, we encourage our members to accept their baseline orientation, and we affirm loving, committed same gender or mixed gender relationships for members who choose them. At a recent Kinship conference, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of one same gender couple—not because of their gender or orientation but because they’ve sustained a time-tested relationship of loyalty, mutual care, and healthy affection, and they’ve done this despite persistent demonization from their religious community.
We respect our members enough to honor their consciences about their faith and what they believe God requires of them in this life. Some have chosen committed relationships, some have built families with children, and others are celibate; all must be convinced in their own mind as the Lord leads them. Whatever our members and friends choose, we believe love is worth celebrating, and we support all of them as they grow in grace.
* Gender identity is a person's deeply felt psychological sense of whether or how they fit into cultural gender categories. This identification may or may not correspond to the person's designated sex at birth. (APA. 2011. “Definition of Terms” http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf)
Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of affectional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to men, women, or people of either gender. Heterosexual, gay and lesbian, bisexual orientations are three of the most common. (APA. 2008. “Sexual Orientation” http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx)