Take some time and learn more about LGBTQ people, especially those in your local area. It is important to understand the joys and challenges that the community experiences beyond the stereotypes. Recognize that there are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in every racial and cultural group.

Do some investigation. Find a local website or newspaper that focuses on the LGBTQ community. Ask yourself what are the key issues that people are concerned about? What are they celebrating? What groups and events appear there? Is there anything that you notice is missing or seems to be missing? Are there other communities of faith who advertise or appear in the articles?

You may also want to do a web search for the name of your town or area with terms related to being LGBTQ. What organizations are out there? Are there many resources of LGBTQ people in your area or just a few, if any? What support exists for parents, spouses, siblings or friends? What do you think it would be like to come out where you are? Is your area a very supportive one or someplace where it might be hard or dangerous to come out?

For now, we suggest doing the research. We’ll have more ideas about what do with the information you gather in the coming weeks.