via Joshua Harris / Instagram

In 1997, at just 21 years old, Joshua Harris wrote the Christian book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," which instantly made him a leader in the "purity" movement.

At the time, he was a virgin who had been home-schooled his entire life.

His book claimed that dating was a "training ground for divorce" and discouraged teenage relationships in favor of "courting." It also encouraged parental involvement in relationships and forbade any kind of physical intimacy.

The book instilled suspicion about relationships in young people and caused many to marry the first person they "courted." It also promoted the idea that sex was wrong and impure.

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In June 2010, 14 people were murdered on the same day on public buses in El Salvador.

It is from that frightening environment that 19-year-old Araceli Velasquez fled to the United States.

"El Salvador has the highest rate of femicide in the world, and miscarriage is punishable by 30 years in prison," according to the American Friends Service Committee petition made on behalf of Velasquez. Finding safety was imperative.

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This gay Egyptian woman had a homophobic dad. But he went through a 'miraculous' change.

"It's hard when you are young. And it stays hard, but it gets easier."

For many living in the Middle East and North Africa, being openly LGBTQ is one of the bravest things one can do.

And some incredible queer people in the region are doing just that.    

Dozens of LGBTQ activists joined forces with Human Rights Watch to create a powerful video and share empowering stories about acceptance, faith, and fighting for what's right.

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President Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore today, and it's big news.

Obama visits a mosque in Malaysia in 2009. Photo by Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.

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