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Hands holding two rainbow hearts

This selective book and resource list is just a small representation of the wide range of published viewpoints regarding the spiritual journies of those who are marginalized because of their gender or sexual orientation. These can be used by LGBTQIA+ people, families, friends, and allies. They can also be helpful as a way to grow and learn about what it means to be affirming within the context of your personal faith tradition.

HIGHLY Recommended:

Radical Love: Introduction to Queer Theology, Patrick Cheng
Queer theology is more than LGBT people talking about God, according to Cheng, professor at Episcopal Divinity School and ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Church. The real enterprise for queer theology is challenging binary distinctions and erasing boundaries. This erasure is made possible (indeed demanded) by the radical love espoused by Christianity.

God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines
Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Matthew Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Unclobbered, Colby Martin
Unclobber reexamines the six frequently quoted “clobber” passages of Scripture, alternating with author Colby Martin’s own story of being fired from an evangelical megachurch when they discovered his stance on sexuality.

Bible, Gender, Sexuality, James Brownson
This thought-provoking book by theologian James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex relationships. (A dense book but highly recommended!)

Walking the Bridgeless Canyon, Kathy Baldock
In 2001, Kathy Baldock, a straight conservative evangelical Christian, met Netto Montoya, a lesbian Native American, on a local hiking trail near her home in the Sierra Nevada. Their developing friendship challenged Baldock’s cultural and religious beliefs about the LGBTQ community.

A Letter to My Congregation, Ken Wilson
A breakthrough work coming from the heart of evangelical Christianity, Wilson shows how God has led him on a journey toward a rethinking of what the fully authoritative and inspired Bible ought to be taken to mean in the life of the church today.

Changing our Mind, David Gushee
In Changing Our Mind, Christian ethicist and public intellectual David Gushee takes the reader along his personal and theological journey as he changes his mind about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inclusion in the Church.

The Bible’s Yes To Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of HeartMark Achtemeier
In the early 2000s, Mark Achtemeier embarked on a personal journey with the Bible that led him from being a conservative, evangelical opponent of gay rights to an outspoken activist for gay marriage and a fully inclusive church. In The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage, Achtemeier shares what led to his change of heart: the problems with excluding groups of people and the insights into the Bible’s message that led him to recognize the fullness of God’s love and support for LGBT persons. Readers will discover how reading snippets of Scripture out of context has led to false and misleading interpretations of the Bible’s message for gay people. Achtemeier shows how a careful reading of the whole Scripture reveals God’s good news about love, marriage, and sexuality for gay and straight people alike.

Memoirs and Stories:

How We Sleep at NightSara Cunningham
A Christian mother comes to terms with her son being gay through a personal journey that starts with the Church and ends at the Pride Parade. Called "an intimate, real, often emotionally raw, ultimately challenging, spiritual and emotional memoir.”

Refocusing My Family: Coming Out, Being Cast Out, and Discovering the True Love of God, Amber Cantorna
In 2012, at the age of twenty-seven, Amber Cantorna came out to her family as gay. As the daughter of a Focus on the Family executive, that transparency cost her everything. Refocusing My Family is Amber’s journey from the suffocating expectations of Focus on the Family to the liberating joy of claiming her own identity.

Risking Grace, Dave Jackson
Risking Grace is a father’s story about his agonizing personal journey of coming to realize that evangelicals have lost their way when it comes to gay people by substituting a works/righteousness requirement for the clear Gospel message that salvation comes by grace through faith alone.

He’s Always Been My Son: A Mother’s Story about Raising Her Transgender Son, Janna Barkin
This inspiring and moving story, told from the heart of an extraordinary family, recounts the emotional and uplifting journey of raising a transgender son.

Crossing, Deirdre McCloskey
Crossing is the story of Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald), once a golden boy of conservative economics and a child of 1950s and 1960s privilege, and her dramatic and poignant journey to becoming a woman.

Shattering Masks, Laura Beth Taylor
Who am I? It’s a simple question. Yet most of Laura Beth Taylor’s life, the answer was incredibly elusive. Shattering Masks is the story of how Taylor came to reconcile her faith in God with living a genuine, authentic life.

Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached Hillary Whittington
a transparent and authentic telling of one mother’s first-hand account of her emotional choice to embrace her transgender child.

I Promised Not To Tell, Cheryl B. Evans
a deeply personal parenting memoir about raising a transgender child. A genuine, heartfelt, and unforgettable LGBT memoir not be missed.

Space at the Table, Brad Harper and Drew Harper
Can a theologian and his gay son overcome the differences in belief that threaten to destroy their relationship? For Brad and Drew Harper, that question wasn’t theoretical—and neither was the resounding yes they found after years of struggle.

Above All Things: The Journey of an Evangelical Christian Mother and Her Gay Daughter, Shari Johnson
Shari Johnson’s world turned upside down the night her 37-year-old daughter called and told her that she was gay. This just couldn’t be possible. Cholene had always been the hero-Air Force Academy graduate, second woman to fly the U-2 spy plane, captain for United Airlines – she cried, begged, pleaded with God to change Cholene, but he changed Shari instead.

Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good Life, Lisa Salazar
It wasn’t always clear to Santiago Salazar that somewhere inside him was a Lisa that would someday—a long time into the future—show herself to the world.  A must-read for anyone who struggles to understand their own gender identity, or a friend’s or loved one’s—especially when faith is central in their life. Transparently is an engaging story, told by a brave woman who made the call to accept what she knew she was and had always been.

Excluded, Julia Serano
As a trans woman, bisexual, and femme activist, Julia has spent years challenging forms of exclusion within feminist and queer/LGBTQ movements. In Excluded, she chronicles these instances of exclusion and argues that marginalizing others often stems from a handful of assumptions that are routinely made about gender and sexuality.

The Other Boy, M.G. Hennessy
A beautifully heartfelt story about one boy’s journey toward acceptance.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American FamilyAmy Ellis Nut
an inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.

My Son, Eric, Mary V. Borhek
A classic account of a mother’s struggle to understand and accept her gay son — from denial to reconciliation to activism.

This Is My Body, Christina Beardsley
This Is My Body offers a grounded reflection on people’s experience of gender dissonance that involves negotiating the boundaries between one’s identity and religious faith, as well as a review of the most up-to-date theological, cultural, and scientific literature.

She’s Not There, A Life in Two Genders,  Jennifer Finney Boylan
the story of a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret

Transgender Specific:

The Reflective Workbook for Parents and Families of Transgender and Non-Binary Children: Your Transition as Your Child Transitions – When a child goes through transition, the dynamics of the family unit can start to shift. It is not uncommon for one family member to feel one way about the transition, while another may feel quite differently. This innovative workbook discusses the unique needs of parents and families as they navigate their child’s gender exploration. Providing a safe space for them to work through their own uncertainties and necessities, it gives specifically tailored guidance and support, with sections on school life, language, and terminology, finding a therapist, possible grief, social/medical intervention options, and more.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, Laura Erickson-Schroth
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a revolutionary resource—a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for transgender people, with each chapter written by transgender or genderqueer authors.

The Transgender Child, Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper
Through extensive research and interviews, this comprehensive first-of-its-kind guidebook explores the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising their children in every city and state.

The Transgender TeenStephanie A. Brill
This book is the perfect follow-up to The Transgender Child. It gently guides readers through the steep learning curve that often comes with supporting a transgender or non-binary teenager through their gender journey and helping them navigate their daily lives. Thoughtful and thorough, this book is certainly a must-read for parents and professionals.

Transforming: The Bible and the Life of Transgender Christians – provides access into an underrepresented and misunderstood community and will change the way readers think about transgender people, faith, and the future of Christianity. By introducing transgender issues and language and providing stories of both biblical characters and real-life narratives from transgender Christians living today, Hartke helps readers visualize a more inclusive Christianity, equipping them with the confidence and tools to change both the church and the world.

The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance, Linda Tatro Herzer – The Bible and the Transgender Experience explores: Whether or not God creates only two genders. Gender variant groups and individuals in scripture. What Jesus had to say about gender variance and various understandings of “the cross-dressing passage”

Catholic Specific:

Fortunate Families: Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons, Mary Ellen Lopata
Specifically related to Catholic families, with stories and a full chapter on pertinent church teaching.

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LBGT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, James Martin SJ
A book that challenges the institutional church to be in dialogue with the LBGT community. It skirts around the moral position of the church and who is right or wrong about homosexuality, and it focuses more on the pastoral obligation that honors the Biblical doctrine of Imago Dei and Jesus' teaching about loving others. It does a great job of encouraging a way to bridge the divide that entails listening and compromise by both sides.

Christian Specific:

A Bigger TableJohn Pavlovitz
A Bigger Table offers the wise reflections of a pastor with a heart like Jesus and a life journey that has led him to reject much of organized American Christianity Radical hospitality, total authenticity, true diversity, and agenda-free community are the four marks of the bigger table that John is calling Christians to build and gather around.

Reasonable Doubt: A Case for LGBTQ Inclusion in the Institutions of Marriage and Church – Scott McQueen
Scott McQueen, a Southern Baptist pastor of 31 years, shares what he learned after his son came out as gay and makes a case for churches to be fully inclusive. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community desiring biblical affirmation, a straight family member of an LGBTQ individual, who is attempting to sort out all the obvious questions for a conservative Christian who has always been taught that same-sex behavior is condemned by God, this book is for you.

Unashamed: A Coming Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians – Amber Cantorna
How does one reconcile their sexuality with their faith? Depression, despair, and thoughts of suicide often haunt LGBTQ Christians as they feel unable to imagine the possibility of living a happy, fulfilling life as an LGBTQ person of faith. As the gay daughter of a thirty-plus-year executive of conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family, Amber lost everything when she came out as gay in 2012. However, her journey to embrace her authenticity brought her fulfillment and wisdom to share. Unashamed serves as a guide for Christians considering coming out, tackling tough subject matters such as demolishing internalized homophobia, finding an affirming faith community, reestablishing your worth as a child of God, navigating difficult family conversations (especially in cases where family is involved in church leadership/ministry), and healing from the pain of rejection. Unashamed encourages LGBTQ Christians to embrace their unique identities and to celebrate the diversity placed inside them by God.

What Does God Think? Transgender People and The Bible – Cheryl Evans
From the award-winning author of I Promised Not to Tell: Raising a transgender child comes this thought-provoking new book, What Does God Think? Presented with the idea that her transgender child was “not of God”, Cheryl B. Evans set out to see what God really thinks about transgender people. What does the Bible say? Why is there such a big divide among Christians? Why do some Christians insist there is no such thing as a transgender person while other Christians accept and affirm transgender people? And most importantly, what does God think?

A Brief Guide to Ministry with LGBTQIA Youth – Cody Sanders
the book challenges pastors and church leaders to reflect on the various trials that adolescence brings for LGBTQIA youth and is designed for congregations that currently have a theologically and biblically affirming stance toward the LGBTQIA community. The book helps answer questions such as: How does an affirming stance toward LGBTQIA people affect the day-to-day experience of teenagers in a church setting?
In what ways can a church’s youth ministry have a positive impact on the lives of LGBTQIA youth who want to fully live out their Christian faith and their gender identity?
How can a pastor, youth minister, or youth ministry volunteer embrace, nurture, and provide skillful care for LGBTQIA youth in a congregation or community?
A glossary of terms to use when talking about LGBTQIA issues and a list of national and location resources that can be used to support LGBTQIA youth are included.

Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, Candace Chellew-Hodge
This thoughtful, practical guide shows readers a way through the minefield of condemnation and persecution faced by LGBT Christians and helps foster a faith that is bulletproof.

Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in AmericaMel White
In a touching autobiographical account, this former Christian filmmaker and ghostwriter for fundamentalist Christians Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson describes his many attempts to become straight, followed by the difficult process of coming out to himself, his peers… and his wife.

Does Jesus Really Love Me?Jeff Chu
In this timely work—part memoir, part investigative analysis—a prize-winning writer explores the explosive and confusing intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in Christian America. When Jeff Chu came out to his parents as a gay man, he knew that he had to get to the heart of a question that had been haunting him for years: Does Jesus really love me?

Rainbow Theology, Patrick S. Cheng
Rainbow Theology is the first book to reflect upon the theological significance of the intersections of race and queer sexuality across multiple ethnic and cultural groups. This is particularly important in light of the current polarizing debates over issues of race, sexuality, and religion within churches and communities of faith around the world.

Rescuing Jesus, Deborah Jian Lee
With empathy, journalistic rigor, and powerful storytelling, Lee unpacks the diverse and complex strands of the progressive Christian movement—and how people of color, women, and queer Christians are reclaiming evangelicalism. Given the clout that evangelicals still hold in national politics, this movement is important for the future of our country.

Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality, Mel White
This is a tour-de-force recent history of evangelicalism morphing into the Religious Right, by someone who helped make this history and was Jerry Falwell’s former speechwriter. This is an insider’s expose about the origins of the Christian fundamentalist movement and how its virulent anti-gay agenda has led to the rise of the Tea Party movement, among other forms of recent right-wing extremism.

God’s Gay Agenda,  Sandra Turnbull
An excellent summary of the Biblical counter-argument to the anti-gay agenda by a conservative, evangelical, Spirit-filled charismatic pastor! Not only does Pastor Turnbull offer a passionate reading of scripture, grounded in faith that moves within the circle of Biblical texts invoked in the debates over homosexuality but she also specifically addresses God’s purpose for gays and lesbians.

Dirt, Greed, and Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today, William Countryman
If you find some progressive Christians’ arguments regarding sexual ethic ‘lazy’ or ‘shallow’ but cannot stomach the all-too-certain conservative alternative, this book by a respected biblical scholar is for you. It’s thorough, clear, and lucid … some have even claimed it to be life-changing. (Make sure you get the updated version published in 2007 as it has some excellent additions including a new chapter engaging the presumed “ethic of creation”) Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why by Simon LeVay is a review of scientific research of sexual orientation, in humans and in the animal kingdom.

Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers makes a biblical case for equal rights for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Throughout history, he observes, Christianity has moved towards ever greater openness and inclusiveness. Today’s church is led by many of those who were once excluded: people of color, women, and divorced and remarried people. He argues that when we interpret the Bible through the lens of Jesus' redemptive life and ministry, we see that the church is called to grant equal rights to all people.

God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage, Gene Robinson
From the IX Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church, the first openly gay person elected to the episcopate and the world’s leading religious spokesperson for gay rights and gay marriage—a groundbreaking book that persuasively makes the case for same-sex marriage using a commonsense, reasoned, religious argument.

Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today, Adam Hamilton  The book begins with basic questions such as How and when was the Bible written? Who decided which books made it into the scriptures and why? How literally must we read it? And, Is the Bible ever wrong? From there, Hamilton considers the real questions people frequently ask that continue to divide Christians and denominations alike.

The Sin of Certainty ,Peter Enn the author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.

Oriented to Faith, Tim Otto
With gentle wisdom and compassionate insight, Tim Otto tells the story of his struggle with being gay and what that taught him about the gospel. With an authentic and compelling personal voice, Tim invites us to explore how God is at work in the world, even amidst the most difficult circumstances, redeeming and transforming the church through this difficult debate.

Sex Difference in Christian Theology, Megan DeFranza
How different are men and women? When does it matter to us—or to God? In Sex Difference in Christian Theology, Megan DeFranza explores such questions in light of the Bible, theology, and science.

The Children Are Free, Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley
In The Children Are Free, Rev. Jeff Miner and Rev. John Tyler Connoley offer a comprehensive yet easy-to-read examination of the biblical evidence regarding loving same-sex relationships and God’s attitude toward them.

Our Lives Matter, Pamela R. Lightsey
Lightsey helps readers explore the impact of oppression against Black LBTQ women while introducing them to the emergent intellectual movement known as queer theology. The author privileges their narratives and experiences as she reviews several doctrines and dogma of the Christian church.

The Velvet Rage, Alan Downs
Today’s gay man enjoys unprecedented, hard-won social acceptance. Despite this victory, however, serious problems still exist. Substance abuse, depression, suicide, and sex addiction among gay men are at an all-time high, causing many to ask, “Are we really better off?”

Coming Out to Parents: A Two-Way Survival Guide for Lesbians and Gay Men and Their Parents, Mary V. Borhek
An indispensable resource for those coming out to their parents and for the parents themselves.

Not Specifically LGBTQ but highly recommended:

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown

Organizations

MULTIFAITH

The Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program mobilizes people of faith to advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. The site includes many articles and resources, including some which are specific to the African American and Latina/Latino communities.

The LGBT Religious Archives Network is an "innovative venture in preserving history and encouraging scholarly study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) religious movements around the world." Initiated in 2001 as a project of the Chicago Theological Seminary, LGBT-RAN has been a program of the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry in Berkeley, California, since 2008. Includes online exhibitions, newsletters, and more.

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) was established at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California and opened its doors in the fall of 2000. The Center serves three distinct but overlapping constituencies: the world of academic religious scholarship; faith communities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and organizations. For each of these constituent groups, CLGS is committed to providing programming and support for research, resources, education for leadership, and community-building/advocacy. All programming is devoted to carrying out the Center's fundamental mission: To advance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community building and advocacy.

BUDDHIST

The International Transgender Buddhist Sangha is a network for transgender Buddhists and transgender friendly Buddhists who are interested in transgender issues and Buddhism.

CHRISTIAN

Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons serves the needs of gay Mormon women and men, as well as bisexual and transgender LDS and their supportive family and friends, through social and educational activities.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns is an affirming organization for LGBT United Methodist individuals and allies.

The Gay Christian Network, founded in 2001, is a nonprofit Christian ministry “dedicated to building bridges and offering support for those caught in the crossfire of one of today’s most divisive culture wars. Membership includes both those on Side A (supporting same-sex marriage and relationships) and on Side B (promoting celibacy for Christians with same-sex attractions). What began as an organization to provide support to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Christians has grown into a worldwide movement for compassion with many straight members as well. GCN helps create safe spaces both online and offline for Christians of all sorts to make friends, ask questions, get support, and offer support to others.”

Dignity USA: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Catholics envisions and works for a time when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society.

FLGBTQC: Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns is a Quaker faith community within the Religious Society of Friends. FLGBTQC deeply honors, affirms, and upholds that of God in all people.

Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance is an organization of gay, lesbian, and affirming individuals in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

IntegrityUSA's mission is to inspire and equip the Episcopal Church, its dioceses, congregations, and members to proclaim and embody God’s all-inclusive love for LGBTQ persons and those who love them.

Unitarian Universalist Association’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Ministries. “Unitarian Universalist congregations extend a warm welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, families, and communities. We work to promote acceptance, inclusion, understanding, and equity for LGBTQ persons of all ages, abilities, colors, and genders, both within our denomination and in society at large. We are committed to protecting the civil and legal rights of LGBTQ people and families across the country.”

Reconciling Ministries Network is a growing movement of United Methodist individuals, congregations, campus ministries, and other groups working for the full participation of all people in The United Methodist Church.

UCC Open and Affirming Coalition is an organization affiliated with the United Church of Christ which provides support for LGBT individuals. It advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the UCC, and equips UCC congregations to become effective witnesses to Christ’s extravagant welcome.

JEWISH

Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life. Led and supported by LGBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet strives to cultivate the spirit and practice of inclusion in all parts of the Jewish community.

The World Congress: Keshet Ga'avah consists of around 50 member organizations in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Mexico, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States. The World Congress holds conferences and workshops representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender Jews around the world.

MUSLIM

The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) works to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims. "We seek to challenge root causes of oppression, including misogyny and xenophobia. We aim to increase the acceptance of gender and sexual diversity within Muslim communities, and to promote a progressive understanding of Islam that is centered on inclusion, justice, and equality."

The Queer Palestinian Empowerment Network (QPEN) exists to empower the voices of queer Palestinians.

Muslims Against Homophobia and LGBT Hate believes in "dignity and respect for all humans and pledge to stop and stand up to oppression of all forms including hate against LGBTIQA and Queer human beings." The organization is comprised of "Muslims [and non-Muslim allies] that are against Islamophobia, sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, and all oppressions and see that homophobia is widespread within and outside our Muslim communities. We've decided to take a stand against homophobia realizing it is a part of many different intersectionalities of oppression and prejudice like Islamophobia."

 

References:

 

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