Frequently Asked Questions – Faith Communities
Frequently asked questions for Straight for Equality: Faith Communities
There are countless powerful, comprehensive, and often transformative resources available for people of faith, no matter what tradition they adhere to. If you’re ready to learn more about these issues in the context of your faith tradition, the links below will provide you with just a few places to start. You’ll find links to sites for people who identify as Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other faith traditions as well as a few interfaith and non-denominational resources, too.
We acknowledge that this is by no means a comprehensive list of resources and that links may become out of date without our knowledge. If you notice a link that no longer works or have suggestions for something that we should consider please contact [email protected]!
A Christian Perspective on Transgender People Written by Justin Lee, author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, this blog piece was written in response to a question submitted at crumbs from the communion table, and explains that his lived experience has led him to believe in the biblical principle of the Golden Rule.
The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists is the only organization devoted to supporting LGBT Baptists and their allies in the United States. They strive to support churches, organizations, and individuals who are committed to the full inclusion of LGBT Baptists in church life and mission.
Believe Out Loud Video: How to Be Welcoming This is a great four-minute video from Believe Out Loud about some of the basic steps that Christian faith leaders can take to become a welcome and affirming congregation. It includes best practices and great information for anyone interested in learning more about ways to make their church more inclusive.
Canyon Walker Connections Canyon Walker Connections is a blog maintained by Kathy Baldock, a straight evangelical Christian, who has dedicated her life to improving the relationship between faith communities and the LGBT community. Kathy has organized a social media project called Str8 Apology, is available for speaking engagements, and maintains an extensive list of resources for LGBT Christians and their allies.
Catholics for Equality Catholics for Equality was founded in 2010 to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom and equality at the federal, state, and local levels for LGBT family, parish and community members.
Dignity USA Dignity USA is a chapter-based nonprofit organization founded in 1973 to serve LGBT Catholics and their allies. They stress the need to provide safe space where LGBT Catholics and their allies can share personal and spiritual concerns, participate in the sacramental life of the Church, and focus on education and social justice issues.
Equally Blessed Equally Blessed is an coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for LGBT people in the church and civil society.
Fortunate Families Grounded in Catholic tradition, Fortunate Families ministers primarily with Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender daughters and sons – but welcomes families of all faiths. When parents explore and value their personal stories, they are empowered to share that story with their family circle, their faith community and the larger society.
Fellowship of Reconciling Pentecostals International The Fellowship of Reconciling Pentecostals International is a network of Pentecostal ministers, churches, and ministries which seeks by means of the full gospel of Jesus Christ to reconcile all repentant people to God without regard to race, gender, political persuasion, economic or educational status, sexual orientation, nationality, religious affiliation, or any other thing that divides.
Gay Christian Fellowship The Gay Christian Fellowship strives to provide a safe space for LGBT Christians and their allies to consider theological, philosophical, and social issues through dialogue and fellowship. They have an extensive question and answer section and a teaching series on what many call the “clobber passages” with more content being added regularly.
Integrity USA Integrity is a nonprofit organization of LGBT Episcopalians and our straight friends. Integrity has been the leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church and our equal access to its rites. However, advocacy is only one facet of our ministry. At the national level and in local chapters and diocesan networks throughout the country, the primary activities are: worship, fellowship, education, communication, outreach, and service to the church.
Made in God’s Image Developed by Many Voices, a black church movement for LGBT justice, this 24 page brochure answers basic questions about gender variance through personal stories told by transgender and intersex people of faith.
Metropolitan Community Churches Founded in 1968 as the first church in the world with a positive ministry to the LGBT Community, Metropolitan Community Churches has been a beacon of hope for decades. MCC Congregations provide support to LGBT people, their friends, families, and allies and continue to do amazing work in communities throughout the world. Reverend Troy Perry, the founder of MCC, presented our first ever Straight for Equality in Faith Communities award in 2012.
More Light Presbyterians Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of LGBT people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
New Ways Ministry New Ways Ministry is a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.
Reconciling Ministries Network The Reconciling Ministries Network is focused on mobilizing United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.
ReconcilingWorks Working at the intersection of oppressions, ReconcilingWorks (formerly Lutherans Concerned) embodies, inspires, advocates and organizes for the acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners.
Revolution Church Revolution was started in Phoenix, AZ in 1994 by Kelli Miller, Mike Walls and Straight for Equality in Faith Communities Honoree Jay Bakker. These three saw a desperate need within their community for the love of Christ as it was evident that the church was ignoring and even blatantly rejecting a whole subculture of people based on their appearance and lifestyle. Revolution sought to meet this need through having services that featured bands, DJs, art exhibits, a coffeehouse and guest speakers. You can listen to sermons for free on the church website.
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship SDA Kinship was founded in 1976 in the US and has since expanded to include members in 43 countries. It’s mission is to provide support and guidance to LGBT Seventh-day Adventists and their friends, families, and allies. They also strive to promote understanding of LGBT issues within the Seventh-Day Adventist community through education and advocacy work.
Trans 101 for Faith Communities This blog post at Believe Out Loud, explains the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) in the context of faith communities and provides resources for Christian denominations that would like to learn more about transgender issues or host a TDOR event.
The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns The Coalition provides support and sanctuary to LGBT people, their families and friends; advocates for their full inclusion in church and society; and brings Christ’s affirming message of love and justice for all people. The United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns is officially recognized by the United Church of Christ as a related, self-created organization.
Voices of Witness: Out of the Box Created by Integrity USA, this 27 minute documentary tells the story of transgender members of the Episcopal Church, and is accompanied by study guides for church leaders and students with discussion questions and points to consider throughout the film.
10 Resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance This blog post at Keshet Online, explains the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) in the context of faith communities and provides resources for Jewish communities that would like to learn more about transgender issues or host a TDOR event.
Eshel Eshel is an organization that was founded in 2010 to create inclusive Orthodox communities for LGBT Jews and their families. It includes informaiton about programming and resources designed specifically for LGBT people, parents & families, and Shuls, communities & allies.
Gay and Lesbian Orthodox Jews This site is designed for LGBT people that are also members of the Orthodox Jewish Community. There is an in-depth conversation about religious texts available in the FAQ section as well as statements from Orthodox Rabbis regarding the intersection of Judaism and sexuality.
The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) is the first and only institute of its kind in the Jewish world. The Institute was founded in 2000 to educate HUC-JIR students on LGBT issues to help them challenge and eliminate homophobia and heterosexism; and to learn tools to be able to transform the communities they encounter into ones that are inclusive and welcoming of LGBT Jews.
Jews for Marriage Equality Jews for Marriage Equality represents Jewish leaders united and working to inspire to public action, visibility, education, and mutual support of the right and freedom to marry.
JQ Youth JQ Youth is a social network and support group for Orthodox and formerly Orthodox LGBT youth. Their site has a number of personal stories, videos, and an extensive list of resources for young people, their parents, families, and allies.
Keshet Keshet is a US based grassrroots organization that fights for LGBT inclusion in all aspects of Jewish life through support, training, and community building. They have offices in Boston, Denver, and the San Francisco Bay Area and are dedicated to working with individuals, clergy, educators and volunteers in order to fight for civil rights.
SVARA SVARA is an academy of Jewish text study dedicated to the study of the Talmud. It is open to all those who wish to participate including individuals from other religious backgrounds. It explicitly recognizes the insight and contribution that LGBT Jews and their allies can offer to the evolving Jewish tradition.
TransTorah This annotated bibliography, developed by Vered Meir, was developed to help transgender Jews and their families, friends and allies, to learn more about the issues related to being transgender and Jewish including transgender Jewish history, suggestions for rituals and rites of passages, and more.
Twilight Journeys: The Ponderings of a Transgender Jew Written by Surat Knan, the head of the UK based organization Rainbow Jews, Twilight Journeys is a blog series published on Jewish News Online chronicling one person’s transition process in the context of his Jewish culture and heritage.
Confederation of Associations of LGBTQI European Muslims The Confederation of Associations of LGBTQI European Muslims (CALEM) is an informal network of organizations in Europe that work toward sexual and gender diversity within Islam. They have a number of really great publications available in French, English, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, and a number of other languages.
The Inner Circle Based in South Africa, The Inner Circle (TIC), was formed in 1996 as an underground network of study circles meant to help LGBT Muslims reconcile Islam with their sexuality. They strive to engage diverse faiths and encourage independent reasoning among the local, national, and international Muslim community.
Imaan Based in the UK, Imaan strives to provide support for LGBT Muslims, their families, and their allies. Imaan promotes the Islamic values of peace, social justice, and tolerance by providing a safe space and support network meant to address issues of sexual orientation and gender identity within Islam.
Irshad Manji Irshad Manhji is the founder of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. She is an advocate of a reform and progressive interpretation of Islam and advocates for the LGBT community. This section of her website has links to the transcripts from speeches that she has given that discuss both the ecumenical and Islamic perspective on whether or not LGBT Muslims can be true to themselves and their faith.
Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) works to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims. We seek to challenge root causes of oppression, including misogyny and xenophobia. We aim to increase the acceptance of gender and sexual diversity within Muslim communities, and to promote a progressive understanding of Islam that is centered on inclusion, justice, and equality.
Muslims for Progressive Values Muslims for Progressive Values is an organization based on the Qur’anic ideals of human dignity and social justice. The actively welcome LGBT Muslims and advocate for equality locally, nationally, and internationally. They are currently working on scholarly position papers that document the basis for LGBT equality in Islamic law.
Queer Muslim Revolution Founded in 2007, this blog that collects progressive news, information, and resources for LGBT Muslims as well as their families and friends. They also have great information about books, movies, and documentaries that deal with the topic of sexual orientation and gender identity within Islam.
Queer Muslims Queer Muslims is a blog meant to provide space for LGBT Muslims to express themselves, share information and resources, and connect with one another. They explicitly ban name calling, debate about Islamic texts, or negative comments.
Salaam: Queer Muslim Community of Canada Based in Canada, Salaam is an organization that serves LGBT Muslims as well as their family and friends. They have a number of support groups that meet throughout Canada to discuss diverse subjects that relate to sexual orientation, religion, and spirituality. They also attempt to maintain a list of open and inclusive Mosques through el-Tawhid Juma Circle Mosques.
Affirmation Affirmation is an organization for LGBT Mormons as well as their families and allies. They strive to provide a safe space where gay Mormons can ask questions, find answers, and connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. They also hope to help people reconcile their sexual orientation/gender identity with their spiritual and cultural heritage as a Mormon.
Baha’I – Gay Baha’I Story Project The Gay Baha’I Story Project is a message board that allows LGBT Baha’I and their allies to share their stories anonymously and confidentiality. They also have an active message board, and information about the spiritual and cultural history of the Baha’I faith.
The Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests The Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC) is an organization that provides support and advocacy for LGBT Mennonites and their families. They have programming that is designed to foster dialogue and provide accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity within the Mennonite and Brethren traditions.
A Common Bond A Common Bond is an organization with a worldwide network of chapters designed to support LGBT Jehovah’s Witnesses and their allies. Rather than retaliating or condemning the Watchtower organization, they strive to help LGBT Jehovah’s Witnesses to love and accept themselves and to find genuine happiness in life.
Confucianism – The Useless Tree This site is not explicitly for LGBT Confucians but is rather a blog that applies the ancient Chinese ethical and philosophical system to various aspects of modern American Life. It is maintained by Sam Crane who tackles diverse issues including gay marriage and includes a respectful and interesting comments section.
The Family Acceptance Project — Helping LDS Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Children This downloadable publication addresses many of the concerns of Later-Day Saint individuals who have children who identify as LGBT and uses research to draw the connection between acceptance, support, and healthy, thriving youth.
Gay Buddhist Fellowship Gay Buddhist Fellowship is an organization that provides a connection that that LGBT Buddhists and their allies can support one another in their practice and exploration of the Buddha Way. They are a nonsectarian group that learn from teachers from various Buddhist traditions and strive to use the lessons and practices of their path in their everyday lives.
Hinduism – Galva 108 The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (Galva 108) is an international organization for LGBT Hindus and Vaishnava. It has online support, detailed articles, and a great deal of information about the Vedic concept of a natural third gender.
Sikh – Sarbat Based in the UK, Sarbat is an online resource for LGBT Sikhs and their allies. It has message boards for online support, resources such as a Powerpoint about Sikhism’s approach to sexuality and gender, and information about events and programs in London.
The Religious Institute Founded in 2001, the Religious Institute is a multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual, gender, and reproductive health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. With a network of more than 12,000 religious leaders and people of faith, the Religious Institute has a record of creating campaigns that mobilize thousands of religious leaders and hundreds of faith communities.
California Faith for Equality California Faith for Equality is an interfaith network of congregations, faith-based organizations, and faith leaders who promote LGBT equality locally, regionally, and nationally. Their goals include increasing the visibility of welcoming and affirming faith leaders, helping congregations to make LGBT equality a regular part of their mission, and helping secular organizations to effectively engage faith-based group in their advocacy work.
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) provides programming and support for research to serve faith communities, the LGBT community and their allies, as well as religious scholars. They have recently developed the Racial/Ethnic Roundtable Project which is dedicated to working within African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latino communities.
Faith for Equality Virginia People of Faith for Equality in Virginia is a collaboration of faith leaders and lay people who strive to create a statewide network of individuals dedicated to social justice. Through prayer, education, and advocacy they hope to help LGBT people who suffer from discrimination, challenge the belief that religious faith and intolerance are synonymous, and educate individuals of faith about LGBT issues.
Gender Identity & Our Faith Communities: A Congregational Guide for Transgender Advocacy This HRC resource was developed as a beginner’s course for individuals of faith who have been called upon to make their congregations and communities more welcoming by examining the experiences of transgender people and their friends, families, and allies in faith communities.
Interfaith LGBTQ Toolkit Published by the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network this toolkit has one of the most extensive lists of resources for straight allies of faith. It includes information about creating welcoming and affirming congregations, denomination specific resources, movies and books, and locally and nationally based advocacy organizations.
The Institute for Welcoming Resources The Institute for Welcoming Resources is a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that creates resources, holds events and conferences, and helps to strengthen the welcoming church movement. The organization also offers trainings for faith based groups that would like to become more inclusive and developed ‘The Shower of Stoles’ collection to represent the lives of LGBT faith leaders from 32 faith traditions in six countries.
The Religious Institute The Religious Institute is a multifaith organization and a national leader when it comes to working on issues that include sexuality and religion. They provide services to clergy, congregations, and denominational bodies and have developed a number of unique resources that encourage full inclusion and participation of LGBT people in religious life.
The Transgender Faith and Action Network The TFAAN is a network that hosts conferences, workshops, and networking events to help trans people of faith and their allies create a more welcoming and inclusive culture in communities of faith. TFANN works in collaboration with The Freedom Center for Social Justice.
transACTION – A Transgender Curriculum for Church and Religious Institutions The Institute of Welcoming Resources is a program of The Task Force developed a curriculum for churches and religious institutions that includes step-by-step training for congregants. The curriculum includes discussion topics and activities to help people better understand difficult concepts.
Transfaith Transfaith Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides resources, workshops, and study guides to improve pastoral and spiritual care for transgender people of faith. This includes online and in person training focused on suicide prevention, pastoral care, and more.