This week we want to emphasize the value of positive messages. LGBTQ people and our families are exposed to homophobic and transphobic messages all the time — from preachers on the car radio, legislators pushing anti-trans bathroom bills, jokes around the water cooler, relatives who don’t understand, and on and on. Or people may still be struggling with negative theology they heard in their childhood or at another congregation. But you have the power to make a difference by ensuring that people in your community of faith hear affirming messages week after week.
Here’s one amazing finding from the US Trans Survey:
Respondents whose faith community leaders or members thought or knew they were transgender were asked about a series of behaviors that signaled acceptance within the community in the past year. Ninety-four percent (94%) reported that community leaders and/or members accepted them for who they are as a transgender person, and more than three-quarters (80%) were told their religion or faith accepts them.
This is good news!
This week we encourage you to keep up your amazing work by telling your congregation—from long time members to those who just walked in the door—that your faith accepts and loves them just the way they are. A few suggestions:
- Bring up a pro-LGBTQ point in a sermon or teaching or include a story about a family who loves and accepts an LGBTQ family member.
- Include a positive statement about the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity in your newsletter or e-weekly.
- Remind the congregation about LGBTQ-affirming books in your library.
- Update one of your bulletin boards to show LGBTQ members and friends, along with positive statements, and/or include these on your website.
- Blog about the ways in which your religious tradition accepts and affirms people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
- Read an age-appropriate book during your children’s time that includes a same-sex couple, a transgender or gender non-binary character, or other positive examples of diversity.
Whatever way you go about it, spreading positive messages about God’s love and acceptance for us, lived out in our congregations, builds up God’s people. The important thing is to remember that we need to not just share these messages once or twice but regularly.
Thanks for all that you are doing!
 S. E. James et al., “The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey” (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Transgender Equality, 2016), page 78.