Note: This page is continually being updated and revised. The most recent update was 4/1/2023. Please feel free to reach out with suggestions or additions.
Since I was raised in an evangelical Christian context and am now an openly gay biblical scholar/ teacher, I am often asked about resources related to LGBTQ+ experience and Christianity. Specifically, people ask for tools to help facilitate conversations with others from conservative Christian backgrounds who are coming out or with their families. Here are some resources related to LGBTQ+ identity and Christianity that folks might find useful.
I am always happy to talk with people by phone or Zoom in my capacity as an educator (not a therapist.) My contact information is below. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs support, I encourage you to call the Trevor Project hotline at 1-866-488-7386.
Q Christian Fellowship: This organization provides a number of resources for LGBTQ+ Christians, allies, and pastors, including a number of free downloads. There are also a number of community groups available for support and education.
Soulforce: Soulforce is a community of people of faith who work together to combat Christian supremacy and spiritual violence, especially related to race and sexuality. They have free booklets available as PDFs addressing how to have difficult conversations with evangelical Christians about sexuality and addressing the issue of biblical interpretation among evangelicals.
The Naming Project: This is a “church camp” for LGBTQ+ youth and adults. The webpage has some great links.
Coming Out Handbook: Published by the Trevor Project, this handbook is for youth and young adults who are making the decision to come out. It has advice for timing and self-care during the process. It also as great basic definitions of things like “gender identity,” “romantic attraction,” etc.
Human Rights Campaign: The HRC has a number of helpful resources related to religious identity and sexual identity, including downloadable and free booklets on “coming home” within different religious traditions. The “Faith and Religion” resource page is difficult to navigate, but you can find their pamphlet on “Coming Home to Evangelical Christianity” HERE and a “Christian Conversation” guide to be used in congregations wanting to become more inclusive and supporting of LGBTQ+ Christians.
Whosoever: This online magazine has a helpful resource for understanding the so-called “clobber passages,” i.e. the passages from the Bible people use to condemn homosexuality. The short introduction on “eisegesis” by Rev. Candace Chellew is very helpful for thinking about the use of biblical texts.
Queer Christian Memoirs and Biographies
Here are a few memoirs I’ve read or assigned in classes.
Jeff Chu, Does Jesus Really Love Me? (2013): Gay journalist Jeff Chu visits a variety of Christian leaders and organizations on a journey to explore the various ways Christians across the U.S. understand homosexuality.
Jennifer Knapp, Facing the Music: My Story (2017): The story of Jennifer Knapp, who came out during her successful career as a Christian recording artist.
Emmy Kegler, One Coin Found: How God’s Love Stretches to the Margins (2019): Highly recommended by a former student of mine who is queer and now an ordained minister.
Jacob Tobia, Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story (2020): Not specifically about being Christian, but Tobia, who is gender non-conforming, does touch on being United Methodist in the South.
Book Group/ Bible Study Resources
Books by Patrick Cheng: Patrick Cheng is an openly gay Episcopal priest and theologian. His books on queer Christian theology are accessible and perfect for use in congregations interested in exploring the many facets of being LGBTQ+ and Christian. These books begin with the presupposition that being queer and Christian are compatible.
Pamela Lightsey, Our Lives Matter (2015): Written by Womanist scholar Pamela Lightsey, this book is an accessible introduction into queer theology as it intersects with Black experience and theological thinking. I have taught this book and students found it engaging and inspiring. I highly recommend it.
Books by David Gushee: David Gushee is an evangelical Christian ethicist. He has a couple books specifically about changing his mind on LGBTQ acceptance written from this perspective. These can be a valuable resource for evangelical Christians who are looking to reconcile their faith and their experience of being LGBTQ or allies.
LGBTQ+ Affirming Churches
Obviously, not all church denominations are open and affirming of LGBTQ+ people and some denominations vary church by church. It is good to do research into an individual congregation before getting involved and invested.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Note that this is a different denomination than the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod).
Metropolitan Community Church: The MCC is unique in that it started as a church specifically welcoming to LGBTQ+ individuals. Their website has a church locator to find a congregation in your area.
United Church of Christ: As a denomination, the UCC is known especially for advertising itself as “open and affirming.” As noted above though, this can differ from congregation to congregation. Their “Open and Affirming Coalition” website (link above) has a church finder where you can locate congregations that have gone through a process to ensure that they are welcoming and affirming of people in the LGBTQ+ community.
Seminaries that are LGBTQ+ Affirming
Brite Divinity School: Located in Fort Worth, TX and part of Texas Christian University. Brite is home to a Carpenter Initiative on Gender, Sexuality, and Justice and has been named a Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminary by The Religious Institute.
Drew Theological School: Located in Madison, NJ, Drew is historically connected to the Methodist Church.
Iliff School of Theology: Located in Denver, CO, Iliff is related to the Methodist Church, but is very committed to diversity. They offer online options.
Vanderbilt University Divinity School: Located in Nashville, TN. The Div School even includes a certificate program in gender and sexuality.
Wake Forest University School of Divinity: Located in Winston-Salem, NC, this school is historically connected to the Baptist Church. It is very progressive and offers joint programs in counseling and social work.
Queer and Divine: This is a podcast on the intersection of religion and sexuality by two Elon University students who work with the school’s Multi-Faith Center. I’m proud to have been one of their early guests. (Forgive all the “umms,” I was nervous!)
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.