11/12/2013 01:04 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Diverse Harmony GSA Youth Chorus Welcomes LGBT Youth

The Diverse Harmony GSA Youth Chorus is an organization born out of the desire to make young people feel accepted and welcome while doing what they love. Twelve seasons later, it's still going strong.

Based in Seattle, Washington, and partnered with Seattle First Baptist Church, Diverse Harmony Youth Chorus is made up of over 60 members and has toured in Denver, Chicago, Montreal, Miami, and traveled to Portland in June at the invitation of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. With members ages from 13-22, the chorus has become a safe space for many individuals to feel respected and accepted while having fun making music together.

"As parents, we love our daughter unconditionally, but it is a hostile world out there for gay youth, from petty comments of fellow students, to unconscionable rhetoric from politicians," parent Malyn White told The Huffington Post. "She needed more then us to feel safe and accepted. Diverse Harmony has been that refuge of love, understanding and authenticity for her. The kids' 'differences' bring them together on stage to share their talented voices, but you quickly realize as an audience member, and as a parent, that it is their collective wisdom as survivors that joy and light can be more powerful in changing hearts, minds and lives than hate."

Artistic director Brayton Bollenbacher adds, "Diverse Harmony is a family first and a chorus second. In my third season with Diverse Harmony, I have seen our family grow by three times and its all because of the wonderful youth that we have in the organization that see Diverse Harmony as their Tuesday night home and their family. They are welcoming to everyone that comes to rehearsals and supportive of each other’s dreams, goals, and their struggles. As a social worker, I have never seen another group of youth that have been so accepting of every individual that they come into contact."

The chorus is welcome to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or self-identification. To learn more about the nation's first gay-straight alliance youth chorus, visit the organization's website.



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