10 Ways to Serve LGBTQ Families

  1. Use inclusive language in all written and oral communications to recognize the diversity of family structures. Don’t use language that suggests that “family” only means a mom and a dad. Feature photographs of same-sex couples and their children in the congregational directory, on your web site, etc.
  2. Recognize and honor diverse families in worship services, youth and adult education programs, etc. For example, remember lesbian moms on Mother’s Day and gay dads on Father’s Day. Ensure that permission forms ask for parent signature(s), not “mother and father.”
  3. Prepare clergy and staff to address the diverse concerns of LGBTQ families, e.g., depression and suicide among LGBTQ youth, coming out issues, gender transition, the needs of families with gender variant children or infants born with intersex conditions, adoption challenges facing LGBT individuals and same-sex couples, assisted reproductive technologies, etc.
  4. Build a referral network to help LGBTQ families access health care, legal assistance, counseling and other professional services in your community.
  5. Explore the possibilities within your faith tradition for recognizing same-sex relationships in your congregation, e.g., performing marriages or holy unions, recognizing anniversaries, celebrating baptisms, etc.
  6. Read the faith-based curriculum, All in God’s Family: Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families, available from the Institute for Welcoming Resources. Consider how the curriculum and its accompanying resources might be used in your congregation.
  7. Start a parent support group for LGBT families in your congregation or connect with an existing group in your area. The Family Equality Council maintains a directory of parent groups nationwide.
  8. Connect with your local chapter of PFLAG, a national, grassroots organization that promotes the health and well-being of LGBTQ persons, their families and friends. Make your facilities available for PFLAG meetings; invite a PFLAG representative to be a guest preacher or speaker.
  9. Stock the congregational library with age-appropriate books and resources reflecting the diversity of LGBTQ individuals and families. Book lists are available from COLAGE, the Family Equality Council, the Religious Institute, the Institute for Welcoming Resources and other sources.
  10. Host a screening and discussion of “In My Shoes,” a youth-produced documentary by and about children of LGBTQ parents, available from COLAGE.

 

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