February 2003: this project is over, feedback has been handed off to the main United Church who have released a centrally-coordinated report.

From: Pictou United Church Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Youth Project

Date: January 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Noted Human Rights Advocate and Emeritus Professor at Mount Allison University, the Rev. Eldon Hay, will join with Pictou United Church's "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Youth Project" as they launch their new information pamphlet.

In 1997 The 36th General Council of the United Church passed a resolution, which requested all conferences of the United Church to

(a) urge all school boards in their jurisdiction to adopt policies placing the words ?sexual orientation? in the non-harassment policy and to have resources available to gay, lesbian and bisexual youth.

(b) urge all teachers unions to provide in ?service education on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues in order to promote tolerance.

In order to help with this task, the Division of Mission of Canada of the United Church commissioned a report examining the issues that these youth face. One of the most tragic issues identified by that report was the high rate of suicide and attempted suicide among gay, lesbian and bisexual youth.

The Pictou United Church was asked to be one of ten congregations to participate in a pilot program. Their task was to form a group and take some kind of positive action in our local community regarding bigotry and intolerance faced by gay, lesbian and bisexual youth in high schools.

Over the last number of months, a group composed of youth and adults, has been examining the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual youth in the Pictou area. Their desire was to do something positive and supportive in the face of the negativity and rejection many gay, lesbian and bisexual youth, and questioning youth face.

It was quickly apparent that one of the needs was information: Who can gay, lesbian, bisexual youth turn to? Where can youth ask questions about their sexuality in a safe and accepting environment? Where can gay, lesbian, bisexual youth find support and acceptance?

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Youth Project of Pictou United Church has produced a new pamphlet ?YOU ARE NOT ALONE?. This pamphlet lists places and people that gay, lesbian, bisexual youth and questioning youth can go to for help and information. This pamphlet will be launched in January 2002 and distributed to different schools, doctor?s offices, other churches, libraries, the Woman?s Center and Youth Center.

The Official Launch of this pamphlet will take place at Pictou United Church on January 27th, 2002. The special speaker at our 10:30am worship will be the Reverend Eldon Hay. Reverend Eldon Hay, is a minister of the United Church of Canada, scholar, emeritus professor at Mount Allison University, author, counselor and outspoken human rights activist. In Nov. 2001 Rev.Hay was awarded the 2001 Queen?s University Alumni Association Award in part for his work as a gay and lesbian advocate. The November 19th issue of MacLean??s Magazine also includes an article by Rev. Hay.

Pictou United Church is very honoured to welcome Rev. Hay to our morning worship service. Following worship there will be a time of refreshments, and an opportunity for further discussion with Rev. Hay.

For further information please contact Rev. Mary-Beth Moriarity at 485-8081.