Do well-meaning people know that by heeding the call of the uniformed bell ringers and dropping money into those red kettles, that they may be supporting homophobia and transphobia?  
Although the Salvation Army is the largest provider of drug and alcohol recovery services in the United States, and is no “fly-by-night” organization (it was founded in 1865 by a Methodist minister in London), it has come under attack from NYC’s Commission on Human Rights which filed a complaint at one of its substance abuse treatment centers because it discriminated against transgenders during its intake policies.
The complaints from last July charge the centers “with gender identity discrimination for refusing to accept transgender patients and for discriminatory housing policies, including assigning rooms based on a patient’s gender assigned at birth rather than their gender identity, subjecting to physical examinations, and forcing transgender patients into separate rooms.”  
The Salvation Army was blamed for the death of transgender Ms. Gale in Austin, Texas in 2008.  The Salvation Army’s national spokesman Lt. Col. Ron Busroe denies that the transgender woman was turned away from one of their shelters and subsequently died from exposure.  According to Busroe, The Salvation Army in Austin makes specific accommodations including separate bathrooms, for the transgender community.
While the Salvation Army doesn’t turn away homosexuals as its mission is to “preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination,” one journalist two decades ago was ordered to break up with his boyfriend if they, homeless, wanted to receive services at that time.
Later, the journalist received an apology. 
The Salvation Army doesn’t lobby at the federal level, and claims it, “with no litmus test,” provides equal benefits to same-sex and opposite-sex spouses of employees.
Although more recently, the Salvation Army’s website, it thinks, has made progress towards inclusion by removing links to conversion therapy sites or more commonly known as “ex-gay or “pray-the-gay away” centers. 
However, it still bans gay people from serving as members and it wouldn’t support Australia’s Safe Schools Anti-Bullying program.
While The Salvation Army attests that it stands against homophobia and wants to be an inclusive church community, where members of the LGBT community find welcome and the encouragement to develop their relationship with God, it follows the Supreme Court’s ruling on “ministerial exception” which affirms the right of churches to hire individuals for religious positions whose values are consistent with church doctrine.” 
The Salvation Army is an evangelical church and one of the church’s beliefs is that marriage should be limited to opposite-sex couples. How progressive is that belief?
Don’t be swayed by those cute Santa caps and bells!
Don’t be swayed by those cute Santa caps and bells!
When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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