10 Ways to Serve Bisexual Congregants

  1. Learn the basics about bisexuals and bisexuality. The Bisexuality Curriculum, created by the Unitarian Universalist group Interweave, is available free of charge. Other resources are available from the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, the Unitarian Universalist Association and a number of secular organizations.
  2. Hear the testimonies of bisexual people. Memoirs such as Elizabeth Andrews’ Swinging on the Garden Gate speak of the particular challenges, and unique spiritual blessings, of bisexuality. Talk with bisexuals to learn their stories as well.
  3. Reach out to your local LGBT community center or advocacy group to meet bisexual people, learn their issues and develop a referral network of counselors, health care providers and other professionals qualified to address bisexual concerns.
  4. Create a space – a workshop, panel, adult education forum or other event – where bisexual people can share their stories and engage congregants in dialogue. The downloadable resources listed in this section are excellent educational resources.
  5. Challenge the invisibility that accompanies bisexuality. Unless they come out, bisexuals are typically unseen in a culture that perceives only gay and straight. In your efforts to embrace sexual minorities in the congregation, don’t limit your thinking, or your language, to “gay and lesbian.” Recognize – and name – bisexuality on the continuum from gay to straight, and bisexual people as potential bridge-builders between the two.
  6. Challenge the persistent myths surrounding bisexuals. The Center for LGBT Life at Duke University lists (and dispels) 11 myths, such as “bisexuality doesn’t exist,” “bisexual people are promiscuous” and “bisexuals haven’t finished coming out of the closet.” Myths about bisexuality are irrational and hurtful.
  7. Recognize that biphobia exists even within the LGBT community. Some lesbians and gay men have been reluctant to recognize bisexuality as a sexual orientation or to fully embrace bisexuals in the movement for sexual justice. Discuss these issues with your lesbian and gay congregants.
  8. Explore sacred texts for bisexual themes. Do the texts speak of the divine in both masculine and feminine terms? In the Hebrew Bible, how might the stories of Ruth and Naomi, and Jonathan and David, be read with a “bi lens”? In the Christian testament, how does the figure of Christ embody both the masculine (Jesus/Son) and feminine (Sophia/Wisdom)?
  9. Help your congregation to recognize and challenge binary thinking. Most people think of sexual orientation and gender in fixed categories – heterosexual and homosexual, male and female. As a sexual orientation that lies between homosexuality and heterosexuality, bisexuality breaks down the binary construct and helps congregants appreciate the full range of sexual and gender diversity.
  10. Be a good “bi-stander.” By educating yourself and your fellow congregants, and recognizing bisexuals as part of the wider LGBT community, you help create an environment where bisexuals feel safe making themselves known and sharing their gifts with the congregation.
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