Thankfully, yes. When the Metropolitan Community Church was founded in 1968 as a positive ministry to the LGBT community, it was the first of its kind in the world. Not only has MCC grown in the intervening decades, but other mainstream congregations have affirmed the rights of LGBTQ people, including other Christian faiths, Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalism, and more. Within almost every denomination, individuals–and sometimes entire congregations–are blazing a trail even when the denomination as a whole lags behind. Those changes, from the ordination of openly LGBTQ clergy to progress, on marriage equality, to affirmation of people who are transgender, were often spearheaded by people who’ve done the hard work of changing hearts and minds.
Absolutely! We cannot say this enough: to be a person of faith and a person who is LGBTQ–or who has a loved one that is LGBTQ–are not mutually exclusive. LGBTQ people and their loved ones can be found in almost every faith tradition; you’re not alone.
In a word? No. Any efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are unnecessary, damaging, and dangerous. Learn more about reparative therapy and PFLAG’s position on it.
For people with close ties to a faith tradition or faith community that is not welcoming, this can be a very difficult question. When an LGBTQ loved one comes out, you may feel as though all that you know is in conflict with your love for that person. Being LGBTQ does not impact a person’s ability to be moral and spiritual, and indeed many LGBTQ people are religious and active in their own faith communities. This can be a good time to explore and question in order to reconcile religion with sexual orientation and gender identity, and determine the next best steps for you and your loved one.
Start by thinking about how your faith community views LGBTQ people. Think about the conversations you’ve had with fellow congregants and the kinds of preaching you’ve heard about LGBTQ people during services. If your community is open and welcoming, it’s likely that you will find a strong support system among clergy and faith leaders. Other situations can be dicier, since an individual congregation’s stance may run contrary to their denomination as a whole, or may be split on their attitudes toward people who are LGBTQ. Finding someone you can trust can be a helpful source of perspective and help.
This is a common misconception for the few LGBTQ people who have heard of PFLAG. Our support meetings are open to everyone. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are especially welcome because your story of struggle, shame, and discovery of your true self can help non-LGBTQ attendees (parents, family, friends, and allies) understand their LGBTQ loved one(s).
Our interpretations of religious texts has changed and evolved over history. Every text, including the Bible, Koran, and Torah (among others), is open to a variety of interpretations, and passages about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are no exception. Explore the text with fresh eyes, and acquaint yourself with the scholarship and the debates. You may be surprised to find that those questions deepen not only your understanding but also your appreciation, of scripture you may have taken for granted.
Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions. There is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and medical institutions warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective, harmful, and has caused some LGBTQ people to commit suicide.
We are a group of parents, families, friends, allies, and LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, or pansexual) people. We are a national support, education, and advocacy organization for LGBTQ people. With more than 200,000 members in more than 500 communities across the United States and abroad, PFLAG is the largest grassroots-based family organization of its kind. PFLAG is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political institutions.
Our members come from all walks of life. We are straight, we are gay/lesbian, and we are bisexual/pansexual. We are transgender/non-binary/gender-fluid. We are moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, children, and allies. We come from large cities and small towns. We live in populated and rural areas. We are people of color. We come from all economic backgrounds. We come from all faith traditions. We are disabled. We are youth and we are elderly. Our membership and our leadership are diverse, but what we have in common is our commitment to grow beyond false and harmful perceptions of LGBTQ people, to educate our communities, and stand up for full equal rights and protections for LGBTQ people.
Everyone! There are many different types of people who come to PFLAG meetings. All are welcome. You always have a home in PFLAG.
Each of us comes for a different reason.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) people come to a PFLAG meeting:
- to learn from other family members and allies how they can tell the people in their own lives that they are LGBTQ.
- to help other people adjust to the news that someone they know is LGBTQ.
- to create a family of choice to replace the family they lost when they came out.
- Parents and family members come to get support from other parents and family members who have been through similar experiences.
- Spouses of LGBTQ persons come because they want to support their spouses and their families.
- Transgender people and their parents come because they want to get support and share about what it is like to have a family member transition to another gender.
- Allies and friends come to meetings:
- to support a friend who is LGBTQ
- to learn how to handle LGBTQ issues that face them in today’s society, and how to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ people
- to connect with other folks in their community who care about and are working for equal rights for LGBTQ folks