Just hours after Chick-fil-A ended their donations with the charity, The Salvation Army have insisted that it’s working to atone for its anti-LGBT past.
As the streets across the world prepare to become punctuated with Salvation Army bell-ringers, the organisation has said it now “better understands” the community.
A representative told Out that the Christian charity will have a greater consideration for the LGBT+ people it serves, moving forward.
It comes after the biggest plot twist known to living human memory, fast-food chain Chick-fil-A claiming it will cut all donations to homophobic charities – The Salvation Army included.
Moreover, it comes after the company was clogged with controversy after singer Ellie Goulding pulled out of a charity football game this month due to The Salvation Army’s well-documented anti-LGBT history.
Salvation Army has a troubling track record with LGBT+ rights.
In the last decade, The Salvation Army’s spotty relationship with LGBT+ rights has been well publicised, with the company being sluggish to amend.
In 2012, an Australian Salvation Army chief suggested that sexually active gay people should be put to death. And in 2014, the US Salvation Army was hit by allegations that it refused to help house a homeless transgender woman.
Moreover, the Protestant company was known to have internal policies banning gay people from serving as officers unless they reman celibate.
In 2016 the UK Salvation Army chief admitted to and defended this policy.
While 2017 The Salvation Army was at the centre of a legal battle against the NYC Commission on Human Rights after its New York rehab centres refused to serve trans people.
In 2018 The Salvation Army warned its members not to discuss their opposition to LGBT+ rights in public, as further controversy could cause a “threat to our reputation”.
These are ‘isolated incidents’ charity leader claims.
Yet, The Salvation Army’s director of communication has called these “isolated incidents”.
“If anyone needs help, they can find it through our doors,” David Jolley said.
“Unfortunately, as a large organization, there have been isolated incidents that do not represent our values and service to all people who are in need.”
“As we’ve better understood the needs of the LGTBTQ+ community, we’ve evolved our approach.”
Leaders of the charity have long insisted that The Salvation Army is reforming; in 2017, a spokesperson said the organisation had “evolved” on such matters.
“As we build and remodel emergency shelters and transitional housing across the country, we consider ways to help LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and cared for,” Jolley continued.
“We also have specific programs and resources across the country, such as a dorm in Las Vegas that is exclusive for transgender individuals, a detoxification facility in San Francisco that caters to those infected with HIV/AIDS, and our work in Baltimore to meet the needs of transgender individuals who are trafficked.”
‘We don’t ask our clients about their sexual orientation’.
Earlier this month, The Salvation Army and the ‘Burn’ singer Goulding was caught in a deadlock after she threatened to pull out of a gig over the company’s homophobic track record.
While Goulding later confirmed she was going to perform at the charity-sponsored football gamer – at least, according to The Salvation Army – it nevertheless came as yet another controversy over the company’s past.
In response, The Salvation Army supplied the following statement: “Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, we’re committed to serving anyone in need.
“Every day, we provide services such as shelter for the transgender community and resources for homeless youth – 40 percent of whom identify as gay or transgender.”
The news outlet clarified that the statistic – issued by the charity itself – refers to the overall population, not the proportion of queer people served by The Salvation Army.
“We don’t ask our clients about their sexual orientation and we provide service based on how they self-identify,” Joelly added.