In the early 1970s, several Adventist gay people independently began to look for other Adventists with whom they could discuss their feelings. One placed a single, small notice in the classified section of The Advocate, a national gay news magazine. It resulted in 37 responses from all areas of the United States and Canada; all were current or former Adventists.
Kinship was founded with a meeting in Palm Desert, California, as a result of an ad placed by two gay Adventist men. Within four months, Kinship had 75 members, a temporary chairperson, and four committees: membership, educational, social, and spiritual. The new group met twice a month. Kinship soon joined forces with an individual in northern California who had established a gay SDA pen-pal list throughout the United States, and another group that had been meeting informally in New York City since 1974.
The first annual Kampmeeting was held in Arizona. At Kinship’s request, two Adventist pastors and three seminary professors attended as official delegates of the General Conference. Thirty-five courageous members attended this historic meeting, breaking ground for the larger numbers that now attend with less apprehension.
Kinship won the lawsuit brought against it by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which sought to bar Kinship from using “Seventh-day Adventist” as part of its name. A California judge ruled in favor of Kinship, stating that there was no trademark infringement and allowing Kinship to continue using its official name. Read the Kinship News Release...
Carrol Grady, the author of My Son, Beloved Stranger (1995), started a support group for parents and families of gays and lesbians, which included a monthly newsletter and later an email group and the website Someone-to-Talk-To.
Kinship coordinated the publication of the book Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives. The book has been sold and distributed to numerous pastors, educators, and libraries. It triggered a one-sided conference on homosexuality at Andrews University in October 2009, to which no book editors or authors or even Kinship members were invited or asked to participate.
Groups of students at Adventist colleges and universities formed a network of official and unofficial gay-straight alliances to provide resources, programs, and support for LGBTIQ students. The Intercollegiate Adventist Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition (IAGC) was organized to bridge the gap between our Seventh-day Adventist faith-based institutions and the LGBTIQ students who attend them.
Straight allies Stephen Eyer and Daneen Akers, professional filmmakers, produced the documentary Seventh-Gay Adventists: A film about faith on the margins and began screenings in strategic locations across the United States and in other countries.
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International sponsored a conference in Nairobi, Kenya where Rena, George, and Professor Mugerwa from Uganda presented to over 200 Adventist pastors on how to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ members in their congregations. This launched a Kinship program to provide this training to all Kenyan pastors.
Kinship has a board of directors, regional coordinators, and chapter leaders in the United States and in other countries. At the time of this writing (2020) SDA Kinship has 3,616 registered members, including both LGBTIQ and straight allies, plus many more individuals who benefit from our website and resources.
Kinship’s goals for the future are reflected in its stated mission: to [provide] a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists around the world. This means reaching those rejected and sent away by the organized church with the news that a different view exists, a biblically sound view of love and acceptance.