Apple boss Tim Cook (60) and former NBA star, US basketball player Dwyane Wade (39), donate millions of US dollars to LGBTQ accommodation for queer youth and students.
Eight new accommodations are to be built in the western United States, they announced on Wednesday together with leading Utah politicians.
The so-called Safe-Spaces are intended to offer lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) teenagers and students protection, prevent suicides and offer a place where they can simply be themselves.
Because: In the predominantly Mormon communities in Utah, LGBTQ people have a particularly difficult time and are constantly exposed to hostility because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The non-profit organization Encircle helps LGBTQ people, offers mental health services and also supports Mormons to better accept queer people. The organization has already exceeded its declared goal of eight million dollars for the construction of the houses in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah with one million dollars.
Apple CEO Cook said at the press conference: “The work of Encircle is very important to me because I find myself in so many of these young people. It’s not easy when you feel like you are different or less worthy just because you are who you are or love who you love. Many LGBTQ people know this feeling all too well. “
The first Encircle campaign started in February with donations from the iPhone company and financial help from Ryan and Ashley Smith, the owners of the North American basketball team Utah Jazz.
Former NBA star Wade, who joined the Utah Jazz group in April, told the press conference about his own experiences as the parent of a transgender child: “I stand here as the proud parent of a wonderful daughter who is part of the LGBT society. Community is, ”said Wade.
I don’t have all the answers either. I don’t know everything, but I am ready to listen.
The organization, based in Provo, where Brigham Young University is also located, has just started building additional locations in Heber, Logan and Ogden, as well as Las Vegas.
In highly religious Utah, Diversity Houses remain highly controversial. Jeffrey Holland, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, recently urged the church’s university to admit to “the basic doctrines of the faith,” including rejecting same-sex marriage.
The controversy that followed showed once again the level of tension between the LGBTQ community and the Mormon community in the US state.
The Salt Lake City-based church taught until the 1970s that homosexuality could be “cured”. Since then she has declared that although homosexuality is not a sin, she continues to speak out against same-sex marriages and sexuality among lesbians and gays.