University group aims to “bridge” Christians with the LGBTQ+ community

Bridges Alliance members march in the OKC Pride parade. Photo provided.

by Eric Oliver
Guest Contributor

Traditionally, conservative Christian communities are unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ individuals. Oftentimes, individuals in these communities struggle to cope with their identity due to intense pressure from their faith and family, leading to anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies.

The founding directors of Bridges Alliance on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts (OCUSA) noticed a glaring need for support and community with the LBGTQ+ community on their campus.

Bridges Alliance is a relatively new organization that seeks to offer community, compassion and outreach. OCUSA is in Edmond, Okla.

The board of Bridges Alliance at OKC Pride. Photo provided.

These issues merge to a distinct niche of people with specific needs which Bridges was created to address. Bridges actively works both in and outside of the LGBTQ+ community to form meaningful relationships between the queer individuals and traditionally non-affirming social groups. One of the most powerful ways Bridges does this is by engaging in one-on-one conversations.

For many members of traditionally non-affirming circles, the “issue” of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is one with which they have never been confronted. Bridges enables a face-to-face conversation to take place in which the concept of being an LBGTQ+ person is humanized.

Broadly speaking, there are many organizations that deal with political advocacy on a much larger scale. However, there are very few organizations that specifically work with nonaccepting groups and seek to bring them together.

Many conservative Christian universities have filed for/received Title IX exemption, meaning they have legal protection to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students. These exemptions demonstrate a lack of understanding on the part of these universities.

A perceived dichotomy exists between the viewpoint of the university and LGBTQ+ students. The university wants to preserve their moral/ethical code and views LGBTQ+ students as a possible assault on those codes. LGBTQ+ students’ simply desire to participate and experience university life as a normal student.

This situation and lack of understanding is where Bridges has worked and continues to work to build personal relationships to foster more inclusive and understanding environments for LGBTQ+ individuals.

The leadership of Bridges Alliance would formally like to extend the olive branch, so to speak. For more information visit www.BridgesAlliance.org or email eric.oliver@bridgesalliance.org.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our efforts to help support individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. God bless.

Copyright The Gayly – September 26, 2017 @ 7:10 a.m. CDT.