Is Habitat for Humanity gay-friendly?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 25, 2014 7:29 AM GMT
    My Obamacare should be kicking in next weekend ( icon_razz.gif ), and now that I'm getting settled in the Des Moines area I'm trying to find optimal ways to spend my Saturdays. For a lot of reasons, I am hoping to try volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, but my experience with churches and faith-based organizations in the central US makes me a little nervous of the fact that H4H is an FBO as well.

    Their website doesn't say either way (they specifically mention other major categories of diversity, but not sexual orientation), which to my paranoid mind suggests they could be avoiding the subject for a reason:

    http://www.gdmhabitat.org/faq/#a-faithbased-foundation

    My broader readings in the past have suggested that H4H just avoids the issue in general, so my thought is I'll ultimately want to just sign up and ask in person while I'm signing the waivers, but if anyone else has any relevant experience or knowledge it would be most welcome.
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    Oct 25, 2014 1:11 PM GMT
    Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter have been active in H4H for 30 years. H4H isn't political.

    However if you believe in the liberal progressive principle of inclusion as an overwhelming majority of liberals do, you'll have a problem since liberal inclusion only includes other liberals and discriminates against all others.

    H4H does build houses for people who believe in God, people who believe in protecting unborn babies and people who believe in America.

    H4H also builds houses for women who kill babies, drug addicts and habitual welfare recipients.

    H4H builds houses, they don't care about the politics of the recipient.

    The younger President George Bush has donated his artwork and also does work for H4H.
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    Oct 25, 2014 1:20 PM GMT
    Why even bring it up? If this is something where you feel that you can help people then just do it. Don't make an issue out of your sexuality unless they do first.
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    Oct 25, 2014 1:36 PM GMT
    I hadn't really thought to look into Carter's stance; that was a good idea.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/24/jimmy-carter-gay-rights_n_5878250.htmlSo if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine," Carter said. "If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Jimmy_Carteropposes all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and believes there should be equal protection under the law for people who differ in sexual orientation


    So Carter thinks it would be swell if churches didn't discriminate against gay people, but also believes in their right to do so.

    Which is basically my original question: Does Habitat for Humanity exercise this "right"?

    If nobody knows, I'll ask when I get there. If there are policies excluding gay people from applying for assistance or if they are handing out ex-gay fliers and praying that one of the couple's nephews will come back from jeebus camp straight, I'll just plan to cut my losses and leave. I don't see why I should have to pretend not to be gay (and/or to support anti-gay causes) just to help people.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 25, 2014 3:13 PM GMT
    HABITAT FOR HUMANITY IS GAY FRIENDLY.

    Google search "Habitat for Human gay friendly" to see for yourself.

    My company which has a 100% HRC rating is a major sponsor of H4H.
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    Oct 25, 2014 4:13 PM GMT
    This post looks like some needless guilt-tripping in search of an issue. I donate to H4H regularly, in two states, and have never experienced anything remotely rude, let alone, "homophobic" from them, or anyone else who accepts my donations in exchange for a tax-deduction receipt.
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    Oct 25, 2014 5:59 PM GMT
    MGINSD saidThis post looks like some needless guilt-tripping in search of an issue.


    Could not care less.

    MGINSD saidI donate to H4H regularly, in two states, and have never experienced anything remotely rude, let alone, "homophobic" from them, or anyone else who accepts my donations in exchange for a tax-deduction receipt.


    Extremely helpful.

    I appreciate the helpful part. The first part was, to use your own word, "needless".
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    Oct 25, 2014 6:02 PM GMT
    Determinate saidHABITAT FOR HUMANITY IS GAY FRIENDLY.

    Google search "Habitat for Human gay friendly" to see for yourself.

    My company which has a 100% HRC rating is a major sponsor of H4H.


    I did the searching, and found nothing bad, but no official statements of even welcoming volunteers of diverse sexual orientations from H4H, which is why I bothered asking.

    Knowing that a company who screens its charitable participation carefully does help a lot; thank you for the information.
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    Oct 25, 2014 6:05 PM GMT
    So to recap, the RJ polls are in:

    Habitat for Humanity is good *AND* gay-friendly.

    I am a monster for wanting to know in advance if I would be welcome there.
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    Oct 25, 2014 6:10 PM GMT
    I'm aware of Carter's views, a friend worked directly for him for many years and I've been to the Carter Center. Though I've never met the man, I'd be comfortable with him. He does so much good work in the world.

    I was not aware of Habitat's policies in particular concerning us so I think the question excellent. I do believe in helping others but I would always be real uncomfortable to learn if I was putting effort into a group that discriminated against LGBT.

    Good that you are doing your due diligence on this.
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    Oct 25, 2014 6:26 PM GMT
    Every H4H chapter runs itself, and is totally independent from a a national organization. Each chapter raises its own money, builds its own buildings, and sets its own policies. So there is the possibility of a wide variation among chapters as to how they solicit and treat volunteers.
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    Oct 25, 2014 6:33 PM GMT

    Even if they are not gay-friendly, what better way to change their minds
    than by offering to help others while being openly gay?
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    Oct 25, 2014 6:53 PM GMT
    HydesOut2 said
    Even if they are not gay-friendly, what better way to change their minds
    than by offering to help others while being openly gay?


    I think that's somewhat valid. Certainly I think it is important for gay people to be out in the world. I suppose I could argue either side of that as I think I understand the sentiment but I think that personally I'd come down on the side that I'd see as maybe a stronger logic which follows:

    True that the world would benefit by directly engaging where we might not be wanted.

    So a gay person might want to play Jesus to the religious and suffer on the cross there.

    But also true that they have eyes, so they can see us helping anywhere help is needed. They might even wonder, why are they helping there and not here?

    But I think what tips the scale for me is that help is a limited resource. So should I help people who are trying to hurt LGBT. Or should I help LGBT who are hurt by them.

    You could argue to that helping the symptom as opposed to fixing what's causing the pain.

    So should I volunteer to help build houses for a group which might (just as example, not saying relates to this) discriminate against providing those services to LGBT? Or would I better the world by using that time and effort to help directly LGBT discriminated against.

    Should my money go into a habitat not offered to LGBT or should my money go into a habitat which provides shelter to LGBT youth kicked out of their homes?

    That for me tips the scale of this argument.

    Sometimes, you have to let people learn on their own. You can not learn for them.
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    Oct 25, 2014 7:08 PM GMT
    yetanotherphil said
    Determinate saidHABITAT FOR HUMANITY IS GAY FRIENDLY.

    Google search "Habitat for Human gay friendly" to see for yourself.

    My company which has a 100% HRC rating is a major sponsor of H4H.


    I did the searching, and found nothing bad, but no official statements of even welcoming volunteers of diverse sexual orientations from H4H, which is why I bothered asking.

    Knowing that a company who screens its charitable participation carefully does help a lot; thank you for the information.


    I suppose that's important if you like or expect to be patronized or pandered to, but I reject that as condescending. In fact, if a business trots out any of that "welcoming" PC crap, I generally will avoid doing business w/ it. I like the approach taken by T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor, which should set angry fingers a-googling, but I'll make it easier for you w/ this excerpt from his Wiki-bio:

    "In 1996, Rodgers made headlines when Sister Doris Gormley, the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, sent him a form letter encouraging him to hire women and minorities on the Cypress board. He replied with a long letter defending a pure meritocracy in terms of hiring practices. In 1999, he wrote an editorial in the San Jose Mercury News denouncing Jesse Jackson's attack on Cypress Semiconductor on what Jackson claimed was discriminatory hiring practices. ... He is a supporter of several charities, including Second Harvest Food Bank, and served as an alumni trustee on the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2012."
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    Oct 25, 2014 7:24 PM GMT
    I really do appreciate the encouragement, so I'll clarify a little bit of my ultimate (though not so much the originating) motivation.

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I come from a background of intense religious and political anti-gay rhetoric. As I haven't so much mentioned, I come from several HUGE families. There is no way that "coming out" will ever have a finite end for me; there will always be more people to talk to, more people to explain it to, more people to possibly have to defend myself and my friends to.

    For the first time in my life, I find myself in an area where gay people are not universally distrusted. This is ENTIRELY new territory for me full of entirely new opportunities. And I don't want to waste them digging myself any deeper into the hole of "who can I tell, and who can't I tell?". Every time I think that way, I dig my own "coming out" hole deeper and do the gay community harm.

    So this is about establishing a contributing place for myself as an openly gay man in a community of caring people. I am not just wanting to drop tools at the ReStore and run away, I want to build relationships that enable me to make an ongoing contribution -- as an openly gay man -- to the community.

    So the point of the question was meant to be whether or not I should be looking to H4H for a way to *integrate* into a volunteer community on an ongoing basis without having to worry about ruining anything for them when (not if) they find out I'm gay.

    The answer I have so far is a little complex: I can, but that opportunity may not move with me. If I have a good experience, I may not find open arms in other H4H communities, but if (and this now sounds unlikely) I do run into problems here, I shouldn't give up on the (edit: INTER)national organization.
  • ramblerman

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    Oct 28, 2014 3:17 AM GMT
    There are plenty of openly gay people from the LGBTQ community involved in the Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity projects here in Iowa that have no problems. There are usually Lutherans doing a lot of work as well so a better chance of acceptance from outside the "community".
    http://habitatdubuque.org/...are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people

    I'm sure when you go some days more people may be willing to accept you than others but everyone is entitled to their opinion, and as they get to know you ... in my experience... will be your best allies.
    If I had more time I would not hesitate to volunteer for H4H.
    Good luck
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    Oct 28, 2014 4:03 AM GMT
    ramblerman saidThere are plenty of openly gay people from the LGBTQ community involved in the Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity projects here in Iowa that have no problems. There are usually Lutherans doing a lot of work as well so a better chance of acceptance from outside the "community".
    http://habitatdubuque.org/...are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people


    Thanks; this is a little closer to the wording I had been hoping to find on the local chapter's website, and specific examples of LGBTQ involvement also makes me feel a bit less nervous.

    ramblerman said
    I'm sure when you go some days more people may be willing to accept you than others but everyone is entitled to their opinion,


    Sure, and that's why my plan is still ultimately (while it might not be the boldest or proudest) to ask discreetly at form-filling time whether sexual orientation was left off the list for specific reasons that would suggest the likelihood of problems down the road. I'm sure I could find volunteer work elsewhere; I just *want* H4H to work out for a variety of personal reasons.

    Thanks again, though; all in all, the good news is piling up quickly.
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    Dec 09, 2014 2:42 AM GMT
    I know this was already a stupid thread in the first place, but having worked a few times with church cleanup/construction projects, I really was genuinely concerned about the atmosphere. I've only been to two H4H sites so far, but I did want to mention for anybody who might have been interested that the experience was terrific. The crowds were too diverse and the atmosphere too task-focused for any ideological awkwardness; I learned a lot, got some good exercise outdoors, got to work with interesting and pleasant people, and *hopefully* contributed as much as I got out of it.

    As others mentioned back when I started the thread, H4H is comprised of a network of independent chapters, so experiences may vary, but I highly recommend at least checking it out if you're looking for all-around positive, constructive experiences. I can only do one day a week, but I plan to keep going back whenever I can.

    I'm long overdue for a break, so I'm out, hopefully for a while; thanks, everyone, for putting up with me. icon_smile.gif
  • Bowyn_Aerrow

    Posts: 357

    Dec 09, 2014 3:45 PM GMT
    I've built with H4H several times, I'm gay and that was never an issue.

    But then I'm not the type of gay man who takes out a full page in the Sunday paper, waving rainbow flags and making it an issue when I'm doing stuff like roofing, drywall hanging, etc....

  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Dec 09, 2014 3:48 PM GMT
    Bowyn_Aerrow saidI've built with H4H several times, I'm gay and that was never an issue.

    But then I'm not the type of gay man who takes out a full page in the Sunday paper, waving rainbow flags and making it an issue when I'm doing stuff like roofing, drywall hanging, etc....


    You could at least put some glitter on!
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    Dec 09, 2014 5:11 PM GMT
    You want to use your Saturdays for a good cause , volunteer for an animal shelter , they will love you , animals doesn't care if you are gay , hetero or bi icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 09, 2014 5:36 PM GMT
    My late husband & I encountered this dilemma years ago with Ronald McDonald House. For those unaware, these houses, established throughout the US, provide home-style long-term lodging for parents & family of young children being treated for serious illnesses, especially cancer. Often the treating hospital is far from their home, and these Houses allow family to remain close to their young children during their extended treatment.

    Typically the Houses are larger converted private homes, with expanded kitchens for the residents to prepare their own meals. Food service is normally not provided by the House itself. But this can be difficult for the families, who are greatly stressed and at the hospital all hours, and don't know the local area to go grocery shopping.

    My husband loved to cook, and said he really enjoyed cooking for a mob best, rather than just for me & him. (My current husband is the same way). So I got this idea: cook for Ronald McDonald House. Big bowls of stuff that could be kept in the fridges, and be heated or microwaved at any hour as families came back from the hospital. We also did their Thanksgiving for them, buying all the turkeys at our expense and cooking them, along with the fixings, pies, everything.

    But before that my husband had learned that Ronald McDonald House had an anti-gay reputation. That was a problem for us. So I went over to our local House with our proposal, and explained we were a gay couple. Not an issue for them, they still welcomed us. I dunno what the national organization is like, but the local House is the one with which we were dealing.

    Habitat for Humanity might be a similar situation. With a disparity between any national organizational attitude, and the attitude of the local branch. Or conversely, maybe the local branch is homophobic. I would explore that when making the decision to get involved with them.