Faith and the LGBTQ+ Community
Background Information:Views and conversations around homosexuality and gender identity have always been charged and particularly challenging within faith communities. At our best, we are able to see each other as fellow members of the family of God. At our worst, we perceive in each other a threat to our identity, core beliefs, and values. Conversations are often plagued by fear, tension, and disagreement in our views about how God would have us steward our sexuality and gender identity.This is not a casual conversation, there is a lot on the line- LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) folks make up one of the highest at-risk populations in our communities. Individual faith and the core values and beliefs that form a foundation for that faith are critical for faith communities. How can we engage in better conversations in order to hold space for different lived experiences, care for, and better understand each other? Thinking of the Conversation Agreements, how will you listen and be curious? Show respect and suspend judgment? Be authentic and welcome that from others?
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Faith and the LGBTQ+ Community (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- How do we maintain dignity in our relationship and connection to each other as we encounter varying beliefs and opinions around the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender identity? How can we resist the temptation to “otherize” and judge each other?
- Where has your understanding of either the LGBTQ+ community or faith communities come from? How has it shifted over time for you?
- How certain do you feel about what to believe about sexuality/gender identity? Do you ever have doubts if you’ve arrived at the “right” conclusions? How free do you feel to voice any doubts you do have?
- What’s missing from the current conversation on this question in faith communities right now? In your experience, what has shut down this conversation?
- What is your greatest fear in having this conversation? What is your greatest hope?
- ● What do you hope for from those with whom you disagree around these issues? What do you wish they knew about you and your views?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?