FAITH in Our Community:
a List of LGBT related Resources for Individuals of Faith
At Equality Illinois, we envision a fair and unified Illinois where everyone is treated equally with dignity and respect and where all people live freely regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. As part of our work toward that vision, we launched the Faith & Freedom Initiative to build bridges and strengthen relationships between communities of faith and the LGBT equality movement. People of faith and religious leaders are already among the strongest advocates for LGBT equality. And the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community are already an integral part of the religious community. We also recognize that some people may struggle reconciling traditional faith issues with issues of sexual or gender identity. Therefore, we offer this resource guide to help identify welcoming congregations, helpful religious and issue-specific resources, and materials to start insightful conversations. Whether you are a newly out LGBT person in your community of faith, someone who is a friend or family member of an LGBT person, or perhaps just someone looking for information, we hope that this guide can be of use to you. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list; there are many other resources available, and no one book or website has all the answers. Our hope is that we may offer you access to information to help you begin to answer your questions. We wish you the best of luck on your journey.
COMMUNITIES OF FAITH ONLINE Page 11
additional ONLINE RESOURCES Page 13
ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES Page 14
non faith specific
BOOKS A La Familia: A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
by Rev. Dr. Miguel AQ. De La Torre with Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera and Lisbeth Meléndez Riviera (Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, UNID@S, the National Latina/o LGBT Human Rights Organization, 2011) — This bilingual guide addresses LGBT inclusion in Catholic and Protestant Latino families and congregations. The guide seeks to hear the voices of those often excluded from our Christian churches by tuning our ears so as to hear their testimonies. Within the Latina/o church, “los testimonios” (the testimonies) are an important component of the worship experience. En esta guía tratamos de escuchar las voces de los que a menudo son excluidas de nuestras iglesias cristianas, afinando nuestros oídos para escuchar sus testimonios. Dentro de la iglesia Latina, los testimonios son un componente importante de la experiencia de la adoración. PDF Version: http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/release_materials/tf_a_la_familia.pdf
ALL god's children: teaching children about sexuality and gender diversity
by Melany Burrill (LifeQuest, 2009) — Many people believe that God’s love and acceptance extend to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, and have set out to build families, congregations, and communities that demonstrate this love, acceptance, and welcome. But there are many concerns about how to make this a reality. When are children old enough to learn about sexual orientation and gender diversity? Will openness about these topics influence children’s developing gender identity and sexual orientation? This practical publication faces these concerns directly, and explains how to talk with children about sexual orientation from a faith perspective. This is a gentle, non-threatening approach that reinforces how precious all of God’s children are.
and god loves each one: a resource for dialogue about sexual orientation
by Ann Thompson Cook (Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 2004) — A simple and easy to read booklet that introduces sexual orientation for discussion or education. It offers a path for people who wonder about the religious view that “it’s wrong to be gay” and can help begin the dialogue in your church or community. This book contains clear information, is accompanied by stories to focus upon people rather than issues, and solid theology grounds the discussion in the assurance that God’s love makes no exceptions.
Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality
by Keith Hartman (Rutgers University Press, 1996) — “Many of the faith communities Hartman portrays have great difficulty accepting homosexuality: a Methodist congregation is alarmed by its pastor’s outreach to the local gay community; congregations are expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention for seeking accommodation with homosexual members; Quakers struggle to find accord with samesex marriages; and a straight minister of the gay Metropolitan Community Church is forced from her pulpit for becoming preoccupied with caring for congregates dying of AIDS. But also among Hartman’s cast of searching Christians are lay-conservatives whose commitment to reconciling differences within the church triumphed over prejudice.” —Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Crossing the Bridge: From Mennonite Boy to Gay Man.
by James L. Helmuth (iUniverse, 2009) — “Crossing the Bridge is a courageous memoir by a psychologist who has lived two lives; as a devoted husband for twenty-two years and father of two children, and as a gay man enjoying a stable and loving relationship with another man. Dr. Helmuth grew up within the painfully narrow confines of the Mennonite religion and nearly took his own life in the process of discovering and living his true gay identity. Unsparingly honest, this memoir reads often like a mystery story, sometimes like a tender recreation of the past — always as a poignant, bittersweet narrative of a boy becoming a man...and a man becoming his true self.” —Joseph Dispenza
Fortunate Families: Catholic families with lesbian daughters and gay sons
by Mary Ellen Lopata (Trafford Publishing, 2006) — Explores the lived experience of Catholic parents who love their gay children and their Church. Includes illuminating stories, survey results, and a discussion of church documents.
Gay Theology Without Apology
by Gary Comstock (Pilgrim Press, 1993) — Candidly self-revelatory, these essays show how, only in taking our own lives seriously, can we be lovers of the world. This book is for all LGBT Christians on the edges of the church.
Homosexuality and The Bible
by Walter Wink (Fellowship of the Reconciliation, 1996) — available for download at www.forusa.org
Homosexuality: A Positive Catholic Perspective, New Ways Ministry
(New Ways Ministry, 2003). — A 66-page booklet in Q&A format covers topics like Pastoral Ministry, Sexual Ethics, Civil Rights, Coming Out, Parental Concerns, Myths and Stereotypes, Scripture, etc.
jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality
by Jack Rogers (Westminster Knox Press, 2009) — Rogers argues for equal rights in both the church and society for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. He charts the church’s history of using biblical passages to oppress marginalized groups, argues for a Christ-centered reading of Scripture, debunks stereotypes about gays and lesbians, and explores texts used most frequently against homosexuals and gay ordination. The book also includes a guide for group study or personal reflection.
Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times
by Thomas Marland Horner (Westminster Press, 1978) — Tom Horner considers all the references to homosexuality in the Bible: the stories of Sodom and Gibeah, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and passages from Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Romans, I Corinthians, and I Timothy. Teachers, students, and anyone open to reconsidering homosexuality in the light of the Scriptures will profit from this clearly written work.
Mamas Boy, Preachers Son
by Kevin Jennings (Beacon Press, 2007) — By age six, Kevin Jennings knew he was going straight to hell. His father, an evangelist preacher, as much as told him so. On Kevin’s eighth birthday, his father suffered a fatal heart attack as Kevin stood, helpless, at his side. When he cried at the funeral, Kevin’s older brothers admonished him, “Don’t be a faggot.” The warning was a key lesson. Later on, Kevin worked to form the first gay/straight alliance, and went on to found GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network, now a national education organization with a presence in all fifty states
Made in god's image: a resource for dialogue about the church and gender differences
by Ann Thompson Cook (Co-distributed by the Reconciling Ministries Network, 2003) — People of faith are fond of saying that “each of us is made in God’s image,” but most of us have no idea how many people feel excluded from that because of their sex or gender. Are you willing to consider that what you’ve been taught and assume to be true about males and females simply doesn’t fit the world as it really is? This booklet includes valuable information, and stories which will be helpful for any congregation, family or individual who are beginning to learn gender identity.
edited by David Shneer and Caryn Aviv (Routledge, 2002) — Queer Jews describes how queer Jews are changing Jewish American culture, creating communities and making room for themselves, as openly, unapologetically queer and Jewish. Combining political analysis and personal memoir, these essays explore the various ways queer Jews are creating new forms of Jewish communities and institutions, and demanding that Jewish communities become more inclusive. This book introduces the reader to the lives of Jews who identify lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The twentyone essays-by Hebrew school teachers, principals, rabbis, Jews in the pews, and those who define themselves as secular, challenge readers to wrestle not only with sexual diversity, but also with gender identity. The contributors to this bold collection write with clarity and establish a permanent place of recognition and honor for the thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning Jews who gather at family and communal tables across our Jewish world.
Science Scripture and Homosexuality
by Alice Ogden Bellis and Terry Hufford (Pilgrim Press, 2002)— The collaborative work of a biblical scholar and a biology professor, this book addresses scripture passages relating to homosexuality and explains the foundation of genetics and the growing evidence suggesting an organic basis for sexual orientation. Written in a highly accessible manner, the book is ideal for congregational discussion.
Straight Parents, Gay Children
by Robert Bernstein (Mouth Press, 1995) — Robert Bernstein’s moving account of how he came to terms with his daughter’s homosexuality, and how the experience has enriched his life. Bernstein discusses the myths surrounding homosexuality, accepting the news, parents who speak out, public figures who have gay children, and more. This is a survival guide for all parents who wish to help their gay children cope with the coming out process.
Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Spiritual Memoir
by Elizabeth J. Andrew (Skinner House, 2000) — A woman’s coming-of-age journey through the rugged landscape of Wales to the reflective quiet of a retreat center. Along the way she questions and explores the depth of her Methodist faith as she comes to terms with her bisexual identity.
The Blue Book: What We Wish We Had Known, by The Presbyterian Church (Mt. Kisco, NY, 8th printing) — available for download at http://www.pcmk.org/bluebook.htm.
The Church and the HomosexualS
by John McNeil (Beacon Press, 1993) — In this “brave and good book which shatters bad myths” (Commonweal), McNeill shows that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, and argues that the Church must not continue its homophobic practices.
THE GAY GOSPELS: GOOD NEWS FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDERED PEOPLE
By Keith Sharpe (O Books, 2011) — “This book presents a systematic overview of both the defensive and affirmative positions. In part one, The Defensive Testament, each of the so-called 'biblical texts of terror' used to demonize LGBT people is considered in turn and found wanting. None of them has anything to say about consensual same sex love. In part two, The Affirmative Testament, homoerotic elements in various Bible stories including the healing of the centurion's servant, Jesus and the beloved disciple, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi are revealed to make visible the place of LGBT lives in the Biblical tradition. Taken together, these two testaments forcefully champion the equality of LGBT people in the Kingdom of God and represent a formidable challenge to ecclesiastical homophobia.”
Transgender Good News
by Patricia Conover (New Wineskins Press, 2002) — Using an easily understood analogy, Conover carefully constructs a view of transgender experience and expression with which the transgender reader can wholly identify. For the religious community there is a special annex devoted to guidance for the pastoral care worker as well.
Twice blessed: on being lesbian, gay, and jewish
edited by Christie Balka & Andy Rose (Beacon Press , 1991) — In Twice Blessed, Christie Balka and Andy Rose have assembled an eclectic mix of contributors who write with authority, wit, and candor as they negotiate the gap between religious observance and sexual independence. The essays address everything from growing up in a yeshiva to finding a new Judaism-based theology of gay sexuality, from the search for Jewish gay role models to Jewish marital commitment ceremonies. They explore the often unacknowledged homosexual element in the Jewish community, including a rabbi's description of her experience as a lesbian mother, and notes on the founding of gay and lesbian synagogues.
Voices of Hope: A Collection of Positive Catholic Writings on Gay & Lesbian Issues by Jeannine Gramick (Center for Homophobia Education, 1995) — A collection of positive writings from numerous sources around the world stating the Catholic Church’s teachings on Homosexuality, and possible directions to be taken when relating to issues of same sex–orientation.
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality
by Daniel A. Helminiak (Alamo Square Press, 1995) — “Helminiak, a Roman Catholic priest, has done careful reading in current biblical scholarship about homosexuality. While cautioning against viewing biblical teaching as ‘the last word on sexual ethics,’ he stresses the need for accurate understanding of what the biblical ‘facts’ are and concludes that ‘the Bible supplies no real basis for the condemnation of homosexuality.’ Highly recommended for all libraries.” —Copyright 1994, Reed Business Information, Inc.
Wrestling with god and men: homosexuality in the jewish tradition
by Rabbi Steven Greenberg (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) — Wrestling with God and Men is the product of Rabbi Greenberg’s ten-year struggle to reconcile his two warring identities. In this compelling and groundbreaking work, Greenberg challenges long held assumptions of scriptural interpretation and religious identity as he marks a path that is both responsible to human realities and deeply committed to God and Torah. Employing traditional rabbinic resources, Greenberg presents readers with surprising biblical interpretations of the creation story, the love of David and Jonathan, the destruction of Sodom, and the condemning verses of Leviticus. This is not a book for Jews only. This is a book to be cherished by all who are interested in the topic of faith. It is a valuable book for anyone who wants to attempt an understanding of the nature of God and man.
Wrestling With the Angel
by Brian Bouldrey (ed.) (Riverhead Books, 1995) — In these essays, writers reconcile their belief in God with the religious institutions in which they were raised and by which they were ultimately rejected. Intensely personal, these essays take readers beyond the obvious difficulty of religious exile and into the heart of theology — emerging as passionate acts of faith that speak to all who are yearning for a richer spiritual life.
MOVIES A Jihad for Love
(2007) Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad, Islam today is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith, discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Produced by Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d) and Sharma, A Jihad for Love was filmed in 12 countries and 9 languages and comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, it reclaims the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, whose true meaning is akin to ‘an inner struggle’ or ‘to strive in the path of God’ — allowing its remarkable subjects to move beyond the narrow concept of Jihad as holy war. See more at http://www.ajihadforlove.com/home.html.
anyone and everyone
(2007) Connected by having a son or daughter who is gay, parents across the country discuss their experiences in the documentary, “Anyone and Everyone” with filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz. Families from all walks of life are depicted, from such diverse ethnic backgrounds as Japanese, Bolivian, and Cherokee, as well as from various religious backgrounds such as Mormon, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Hindu, and Southern Baptist. These parents share intimate accounts of how their children revealed their sexual orientation, and discuss their responses to those revelations. See more at http://www. anyoneandeveryone.com/
Fish Out of Water
(2009) Fish out of Water tackles the seven Bible verses used to condemn homosexuality and justify marriage discrimination. This feature documentary uses humor and original animation to make a traditionally complex and controversial topic accessible to those who don’t like talking about religion and sexuality. More importantly, Fish out of Water sits down with hundreds of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks to impart their experiences with faith and sexuality. This unique lens spans across culture, race, religion, age, socio-economic level and puts a relatable face on these powerful themes. — See more at http://www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com.
For the BIBLE tells me so (2007)
an exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community. — See more at http:// www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/indexd.htm.
incompatible with christian teaching
(2009) “Incompatible with Christian Teaching” is a documentary film detailing the stories of clergy and laity, the LGBT community, and straight allies at the 2000 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. At this conference, Rev. Greg Dell and 28 others took the floor at the conference and refused to leave. Some were arrested, and others have been tried by the Judicial Counsel. This account of these events is both interesting and inspiring. See more at http://annepbrown.com/Film%3A_Incompatible_with_Christian_Teaching.html
Trembling Before G od
(2001) Shot in six countries, this documentary shatters assumptions about faith, sexuality, and religious fundamentalism. Built around intimately-told personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, the film portrays a group of people who face a profound dilemma — how to reconcile their passionate love of Judaism and the Divine with the drastic Biblical prohibitions that forbid homosexuality. As the film unfolds, we meet a range of complex individuals — some hidden, some out — from the world’s first openly gay Orthodox rabbi to closeted, married Hasidic gays and lesbians to those abandoned by religious families to Orthodox lesbian high-school sweethearts. Many have been tragically rejected and their pain is raw, yet with irony, humor and resilience, they love, care, struggle, and debate with a thousands-year old tradition. Ultimately, they are forced to question how they can pursue truth and faith in their lives — and survive — while upholding the universal struggle to belong. See more at http://www.filmsthatchangetheworld.com/site.
COMMUNITIES OF FAITH ONLINE Baptist:
The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
Soka Gakkai International
Queer Dharma http://queerdharma.org.
AGLO http://www.aglochicago.org. Fortunate Families http://fortunatefamilies.com. new ways ministry http://www.newwaysministry.org.
Disciples of Christ:
Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance, Inc.
Episcopal: Integrity USA http://www.integrityusa.org.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America: Lutherans Concerned North America Reconciling in Christ http://www.lcna.org.
Muslims for Progressive Values
Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation http://www.jrf.org. The National Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity http://www.jewishmosaic.org. Union for Reform Judaism: http://www.urj.org. United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism http://www.uscj.org. Union for Traditional Judaism: http://www.utj.org.
Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests http://www.bmclgbt.org/index.shtml.
Metropolitan Community Church http://www.mccchurch.org.
Affirmation, Gay & Lesbian Mormons
Quaker: American Friends Service Committee LGBT Rights & Recognition http://www.afsc.org/lgbt.
Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns http://flgbtqc.quaker.org.
Unitarian Universalist http://www.uua.org.
United Church of Christ: http://www.ucccoalition.org.
Open and Affirming
Additional Online Resources by denomination
a christian Voice for glbta rights
the center for lesbian and gay studies in religion and ministry http://www.clgs.org/.
evangelicals concerned creating safe places for glbt christians http://www.ecwr.org/.
institutional for inclusive christianity http://www.inclusivechristians.org/.
sister friends together http://christianlesbians.org/.
soulforce freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from religious political obsession through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance http://www.soulforce.org/.
jewish: gay and jewish yahoo group
nehirim glbt jewish culture and spirituality http://www.nehirim.org/.
http://www.orthodykes.org/. Additional listings may be available at: http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/united_states/us_illinois.htm. If you live in the Chicago area, there is also a great resources of LGBT-friendly churches available here: http://www.chicagowelcomingchurches.org/.
Additional Online Resources non faith specific
allied for equality product of pflag northern il council and equality illinois: http://alliedforequality.org.
www.eqil.org (member of the Equality Federation www.equalityfederation.org).
pflag parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays Northern Illinois Council http://www.pflagillinois.org (Member of PFLAG www.pflag.org).
3712 N. Broadway, #125 Chicago, IL 60613 P. 773.477.7173 F.773.477.6912 www.equalityillinois.org