Salvation Army responds to claims about their history of discrimination toward LGBTQ community
MADISON, Wis. — The holiday season means bell ringers from the Salvation Army are out and about, requesting monetary donations.
But a viral post is causing controversy for some people deciding whether or not to donate.
The Salvation Army of Dane County directly addresses these claims on their website, saying, “Deceptive social media posts, forwarded emails, blogs, and rumors have been leading people to believe that The Salvation Army does not serve members of the LGBT+ community. These accusations are patently false. Discrimination is antithetical to The Salvation Army’s existence. We serve regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”
The staff at the local Salvation Army office did not want to make a statement on camera but said over the phone that the claims are false. They went on to say that the things in this post harm not only the reputation of The Salvation Army, but also members of the LGBTQ community who miss out on opportunities for help from people who are willing to provide it.
OutReach LGBT Community Center Executive Director Steve Starkey has been working with The Salvation Army for decades.
“When I first started working here a dozen years ago, the Salvation Army was not accepting transgender clients,” he said, but through years of conferences and workshops to train and educate their staff on the LGBTQ community, “They have changed their policies and now do accept transgender people.”
Starkey said OutReach and The Salvation Army of Dane County often partner together to help the homeless population and that he even recommends the local Salvation Army to his own LGBT clients.
“The local Salvation Army here in Dane County has been very responsive to the needs of LGBT people,” Starkey said.
While Starkey claims he hasn’t had any issues with The Salvation Army in Madison, he can only speak for the local chapter.
“I think that every Salvation Army chapter is different,” he said. “They each have their own leader and their own culture in that particular facility. There may be places that are more conservative or have different leadership where LGBT clients aren’t treated well or they are discriminated against.”
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