Plattsburgh church designated LGBTQ friendly - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Plattsburgh church designated LGBTQ friendly

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A church in Plattsburgh has earned an official designation as a welcoming congregation for the LGBTQ community.

Khriss Daly grew up a Roman Catholic and says she struggled to accept her sexual orientation for most of her life. She says the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Plattsburgh helped her be proud of who she is, and also connected with a faith-based community.  "Finally finding a place after coming out, to let me be who I want to be and accept me for who I am--was this church," she said.

The church has been supportive to the gay and transgender community for years.  Sunday they celebrated their official designation by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Welcoming Congregation. The church applied for the title last fall after proving they were inclusive to the LGBTQ community.  "Congregations go through workshops and self- study to really understand diversity present in the human community around sexuality and sexual orientation and gender, so that they can really say not just we say we want to be welcoming, but we know we are welcoming," said Evin Carvill-Ziemer, a staff member with the Association.

But not all churches support the gay and transgender community. The Westboro Baptist Church, one of the most well known anti-gay groups in the country, targeted Plattsburgh several times in the past. More than 10 years ago they protested churches who they accused of embracing the gay culture and the city's openly gay mayor at that time.   

"What happened in reaction to them coming was this coming together of people, and an understanding of the needs of a group that has been bullied," said Michelle Ouellette, the Membership Chair at the Plattsburgh church. 

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship now has an official certificate displaying their commitment, and their designation has also earned them a spot under the list of Welcoming Congregations on the Association's website. "Especially at this particular moment in our nation's history, it's very important to be a liberal religious voice in the North Country--that we are very clear about who we are here and what we can offer people," said Jessamyn Neuhaus, a member of the Welcoming Congregation Committee.

Putting their church on the map for the LGBTQ community. 

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