Resources (General LGBTQ+)

Photo by George Bakos on Unsplash

I list here the resources I have referenced in my essay. If you find a broken web link or typos, please let me know. If you can tell me it’s new web address, assuming you can find it, I would be grateful. If you have other suggested websites let me know and I will consider how well they fit the ethos of the site.

Books

All are in print, as of January 2021, and some are available on Kindle:

  • ‘Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America’ – Rev Dr Mel White, first published in 1994, but still very relevant.  Also see https://www.melwhite.org/stranger-gate-audio/ where you can download the free audio-book.
  • ‘More Perfect Union? Understanding Same-sex Marriage’ by Bishop Alan Wilson Longman & Todd Ltd.  This is an excellent study about marriage from the Bishop of Buckingham and includes a potted history of marriage through the ages.  Buy it!
  • ‘God and the Gay Christian’ by Matthew Vines (Convergent Books).  Also make sure you view his video I mentioned in several times in the essay at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY.
  • ‘Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free From Shame’ by Vicky Beeching.  Harper Collins. I have written elsewhere what a superb book this is. At times this book is heart-wrenching, so keep your box of tissues handy! At other times it causes the blood to boil because of injustice. Primarily it is the story of growing up and working through what being gay means in real life, in a real Christian family, in a real Christian church, and the pains largely inflicted by people who don’t really understand what is going on. I think I would describe the book as being an updated version of “Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America” mentioned above, but written for Christians in the 2020’s.
  • http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/  The mission of Canyonwalker Connections, founded in 2011 by Executive Director Kathy Baldock, is to repair the division existing between social and Christian conservatives and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community through education, training, encouragement, and dialogue in both secular and religious environments.  Once again it is great to read a site with a lot of well-written articles including a thorough historical background.  Kathy Baldock has written a book, “Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community”.  I strongly recommend reading this book as a background to the whole issue about why, since the 1960’s being gay has been a problem for Christians, when prior to that time it wasn’t.  She has a further book planned for summer 2021 called “Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay.” which looks at how the Bible has been weaponized in recent years.
    Furthermore there are two videos on YouTube (each one a proper seminar lasting more than two hours) called Unclobbering the Tangled Mess (Parts one and two) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBwajcvZtqw.  If you want to understand the culture and history surrounding ‘recent’ Bible translations, this is a brilliant seminar, and I commend it.  Remember that most Bible translations in the English language in the last 70 years have been commissioned and produced in America, and then, somewhat later, we might get an Anglicised version, so understanding the culture prevailing at the times of each translation is very helpful.
  • “Our Witness: The Unheard Stories Of LGBT+ Christians” by Brandan Robertson (Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd.)
  • “Gay Marriage – Why the debate? How should the church respond?” is a  very good short booklet written by Neil Brighton for Poynton Baptist Church https://freshstreams.net/wp-content/uploads/Gay-Marriage-why-the-debate.pdf

Other Essays:

  • Is Gay Prejudice Taught in the Bible? by Richard Wayne Garganta – http://gayprejudice.com/GayPrejudice.pdf.  Richard has his own website at https://richardwaynegarganta.com/.  He has been ordained but dislikes titles as they get in the way.  This essay is very helpful and covers some of the material I have used, but I only came across it in 2020, long after I had finished writing my own work, other than minor edits.  I notice we come to essentially the same conclusions but sometimes taking a slightly different route, which I found interesting.  Richard’s excellent document is 32 pages long, and well worth reading.
  • “Letter to Louise”.  In my view this is a vitally important essay by the Rev Bruce W Lowe.  It is long (short in comparison to my document!) but detailed, and once again I came across it late in 2015 after completing one of the earlier versions of my essay.  I would regard it as a companion piece, although I would see things a little differently in places.  Definitely a must-read if you are serious about the issue.  Currently it is available here: http://godmademegay.blogspot.co.uk/p/letter-to-louise.html

Websites:

Any comments about particular websites below, whether positive or negative, simply represent my views on the day I visited the pages.  In the time since my last visit, the editorial style may have changed for the better or worse, so please don’t get upset if I say a website is great and when you visit you feel there is too much ‘shouty’ stuff going on – or vice versa!  Some sites sadly seem to have gone into hibernation, with nothing new added for months or even years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the content, currently available, has no value.  I have removed references to articles originally freely available, but now behind a paid subscription login, since not everyone can afford that.  If articles are behind free subscriptions, I have included them.  I have tried to make sure that all the sites are valid at the time I write this, but they appear in no particular order:

  • One of the most helpful sites I found, and sadly not at the beginning, of my search was this one: www.religioustolerance.org.  Extremely useful.  
  • The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian organization that works to promote inclusion of LGBTQ people by reforming church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The site was founded by Matthew Vines.  https://reformationproject.org/biblical-case/
  • Rev’d Dr Jonathan Tallon, who describes himself as a New Testament lecturer and early Church researcher.  He has created a brilliant set of videos, that are very helpful and I recommend that you watch them – you won’t regret it: http://www.bibleandhomosexuality.org/
  • A statement made by the LGBT+ support group Courage as they worked their way through the difficult area of reconciling issues of gay sexuality with their faith.  http://courage.org.uk/articles/article.asp?id=5 .  I came across this after ‘finishing’ my essay late in 2015 and was pleased to see some of the issues I was pondering being addressed in their (much shorter!) document.  Their home page is here: http://courage.org.uk/default.asp though it looks like the site hasn’t been updated since 2012, but don’t let that put you off.
  • http://geekyjustin.com/ Justin Lee is an LGBTQ activist who set up Gay Christian Network in 2001.  After he left in 2017, GCN became QChristian Fellowship, and he set up a new ministry called Nuance Ministries, which operates this website.  He also runs a Podcast called “GeekyJustin Live: The Podcast”, which is well worth a listen.
  • QChristian Fellowship – https://www.qchristian.org/ They say, “We are a diverse community with varied backgrounds, cultures, theologies and denominations, drawn together through our love of Christ and our belief that every person is a beloved child of God.”.  They have some interesting and helpful theological resources at: https://www.qchristian.org/resources/theology. The quality and quantity of these resources has been growing steadily over the last year or two. The site has hugely improved over this time, and now “cultivates radical belonging among LGBTQ+ people and allies through a commitment to growth, community, and relational justice.”
  • Additionally, QCF has partnered with The Trevor Project to launch The Good Fruit Project, a comprehensive educational resource that presents a faith and researched-based case against LGBTQ+ change efforts.
  • I have quoted Tony Campolo several times in this document.  His website is: http://tonycampolo.org/ I have been aware of Tony’s ministry since my teen-aged years in the seventies, so he has been hugely important to me.
  • Evangelicals Concerned Inc. is a US based site started by Dr Ralph Blair, referred to in his book by Mel White – Stranger At The Gate.  The pages are very measured and without rancour and contain a lot of scholarly information written in an accessible manner.  The HomePage is: http://ecinc.org/ and there section on the clobber passages can be found here:  http://ecinc.org/clobber-passages/.  Their comment on the Leviticus passages is six lines long, is clear and does the job.  How long did I take?  Ouch!
  • https://whosoever.org/  Founded in 1996 and respected by many major figures within the LGBTQ+ community.  There is a wealth of good materials on the site which was relaunched around Christmas 2019.  Please go and explore their material, which I highly commend, because it is produced in a professional and educated manner.
  • Accepting Evangelicals – http://www.acceptingevangelicals.org/.  I thoroughly commend this site who state: “We are an open network of Evangelical Christians… who believe the time has come to move towards the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life, and the development of a positive Christian ethic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  Accepting Evangelicals is for everyone who would call themselves Evangelical.”
  • For any LGBTQ+ Baptists, there is a site for you.  It isn’t very developed, but hopefully in the fulness of time, it will:  https://www.affirm.org.uk/.
  • A better site for Baptists is https://baptistssm.weebly.com/resources which has published some well-written letters in response to the stated position of the Baptist Union of GB to allow each church to determine its own thinking on the issue but asking that no church conducts a SSM out of respect for others – a somewhat untenable position to hold for long.  That will have to change because the tension will cause a fracture at some point.
  • More Light Presbyterians – http://www.mlp.org/  who state: “We are individual members and congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who are faithful to God’s call and believe that God continues to open new understandings of scripture and the Word in the life of Christ. As a Christian community, we believe that the church must seek to live out those understandings in our life together.”  The focus is on all LGBTQ Christians.
  • If you are looking for an inclusive church, denominations like the URC, the Methodist church, Scottish Episcopal Church, Church of Scotland and a few individual churches are inclusive.  If you want to find an inclusive church, have a look at:   https://www.inclusive-church.org and look for “Looking for an inclusive worship community?” Then enter your town name or postcode.  Be aware that this is not a comprehensive list of all churches that regard themselves as ‘inclusive’.  Although I have mentioned a couple of Scottish based denominations, from personal experience there aren’t many inclusive ‘evangelical’ (type, not denomination) churches in Scotland.
  • Metropolitan Community Church worldwide. A church who truly welcomes those within the community. They were the first Christian denomination to provide help for those with AIDS. https://www.mccchurch.org/. If you are interested in finding a church near you, check: https://visitmccchurch.com/our-churches/?utm_source=MCC&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=mcc-nav-find-church.
  • In the essay I quoted from a newspaper article about the Metropolitan Community Church in Glasgow, and you can find them here – https://www.mccinglasgow.co.uk.
  • In London and several regional centres, Oasis provide a wonderful ministry to those within the community.  See http://www.oasiswaterloo.org/church.
    The Open Church Network (https://openchurch.network), part of Oasis, is an online safe space for people – regardless of their sexuality or gender identity to gather, share and discuss.  But however much the world we live in is becoming increasingly digital, nothing can replace meeting face to face with members of a safe and secure local community.
  • Open House – based out of Oasis Church Waterloo – is an opportunity for LGBTI+ people to do just that.  It is a safe place where one can share their story without any hint of judgement, where one can reconcile their Christian faith to their sexuality and gender identity, where one can just listen to other stories and ask questions, a place where the doors are flung open to show the inclusivity of God.  Open House happens on the third Tuesday of every month.  For more information visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/asafespaceforlgbti/posts/?ref=page_internal.
  • Still remaining with Oasis, see their Open Church Charter, which every church should be encouraged to sign up to: https://openchurch.network/content/sign-open-church-charter
  • https://jewishchristiangay.wordpress.com/   This blog is written by Alex Haiken (who holds a Master’s degree from Westminster Theological Seminary and is among other things a lecturer, teacher, blogger and conference speaker).  At the time of writing, the site has been reasonably quiet since 2012, but there is a lot of good material to help the sincere questioner explore the issues.  I wish there were more written at the depth of these articles, whilst written with the restraint Alex demonstrates.
  • Created Gay is a site that includes a major section on theology, which at a cursory glance deserves more attention, which I haven’t yet given it!  Evangelicals may be uneasy with it, because of its use of Scriptures outside the normal canon.  http://createdgay.com/.  They also have a list of over 300 Christian Gay websites of every shade and colour: http://createdgay.com/links.html – well worth a look.
  • And to take a different theological slant to this essay, Dr Robert Gagnon: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles2/GagnonHomosexuality.php I haven’t included much in the way of resources taking the established position of the church, because most will have a good idea of the teaching, but Dr Gagnon is well respected and often quoted.
  • Christian Gays – https://christiangays.com This is a community for LGBTIQ people of faith.  This seems to be a good and reasonably balanced site with a kind heart.  There is a huge resource of useful information (video and text) for both the straight and the LGBTQ+ orientated person.  An additional useful page on the site is: https://resources.christiangays.com/
  • “UNCHANGED is a movement of LGBTQ+ Christians committed to proclaiming God’s love and affirmation of our experiences, our identities, and our expressions of selves.”  Quoted from its Home page.  It started in 2019 as a ministry of Q Christian fellowship and includes personal stories and resources.  https://www.unchangedmovement.com/
  • As from February 14th 2017 the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement joined with Changing Attitude England to become OneBodyOneFaith and their website is http://www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk.  The new OneBodyOneFaith website looks very positive, and I commend it.
  • Diverse Church is a safe space for LGBTQ+ Christians https://diversechurch.website/.
  • Queer Theology.  Probably a bit more strident than some, so if you’re easily offended, leave this one and move on to the next.  Nevertheless, there is a lot of media resources which are worth investigating if you are keen to dig deeper.  http://www.queertheology.com
  • There seems to be a wealth of material at: http://www.youth-suicide.com/gay-bisexual/links7a.htm, which I haven’t had time to delve into.  The pages aren’t as well laid out as some other sites, but they’ve probably simply got bogged down by the volume of information that’s available, so if you are looking for something specific, you need to look a bit longer and you’ll probably find it.
  • Treatment of gays in American Christian schools – http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-hidden-war-against-gay-teens-20131010
  • Why ‘God and the Gay Christian’ Is Wrong About the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships.  This is a critique, written by Christopher Yuan, of the book: ‘God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships’ by Matthew Vine listed below.  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/june-web-only/why-matthew-vines-is-wrong-about-bible-same-sex-relationshi.html  It would counter much of what I have written, so from the perspective of balance it is worth a read – even if I don’t agree!
  • The story of the devout Mormon Josh Weed and his wife Lolly: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frenchrevolution/2016/02/18/club-unicorn-gay-mormon-married/ and here: http://joshweed.com and here: http://joshweed.com/turning-unicorn-bat-post-announce-end-marriage/. These pages are fascinating and illustrate from the inside the tensions involved in a mixed orientation marriage.
  • Following Vicky Beeching’s comments in 2014, where she admitted she was a lesbian to the Independent newspaper, many outlets worldwide wrote about the issue.  Here they are collated on her own website along with many other press reports: http://vickybeeching.com/lgbt/
  • In 2006, in response to well-documented patterns of abuse, a distinguished group of international human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the Yogyakarta Principles: a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birth-right.  The principles may be viewed here, including the additional 10 principles that were added in 2017:  https://yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles-en/
  • The 2017 additional 10 principles can be downloaded separately here: http://yogyakartaprinciples.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/A5_yogyakartaWEB-2.pdf
  • http://www.glaad.org/ Working to support and help LGBT+ people be accepted in all areas of life, including the media.
  • https://www.two23.net To quote from their webpage: “Two:23 is a network of Christians, connected by LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, who have discovered that God loves us just as we are. This realisation frees us to unashamedly include and encourage all to discover the love of God for themselves, pursue the call of Christ and live in a way that cherishes others just as God cherishes us.”
    Two23 is a reference to the Old Testament prophet Hosea, who, in chapter 2 verse 23, wrote: I will say to those called ‘Not my people’, ‘You are my people’; and they will say ‘You are my God’.

Mental Health:

If you know of reputable helplines, specifically LGBTQ+ affirming, please let me know.

  • Switchboard (UK). Perhaps one of the oldest LGBTQ+ Switchboard helplines available for those needing help and advice – starting in London, but now UK wide – https://switchboard.lgbt/. “We have provided support and information to millions of people since our phone started ringing in 1974. Throughout our history, we have been at the forefront of supporting our communities in facing the issues of the day.”
  • Another Switchboard organisation, this time based around Brighton and Hove: https://www.switchboard.org.uk/. “Switchboard is a charity that has been listening to, supporting and connecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities since 1975. Originally a helpline, we have grown to deliver lots of additional services by and for LGBTQ people in Sussex.”
  • LGBT Helpline Scotland. https://www.lgbthealth.org.uk/ Open Tuesday & Wednesday between 12 – 9pm, Thursday & Sunday 1-6pm. LGBT Helpline Scotland 0300 123 2523 Email: helpline@lgbthealth.org.uk
  • LGBT Foundation, based in Manchester, but the reach seems to be national – https://www.lgbt.foundation/helpline. Advice Support & Information 0345 3 30 30 30
  • If you have a general mental health issue and are looking for some help, contact The Shaw Mind Foundation, The Foundation Centre, Navigation House, 48 Millgate, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG24 4TS, United Kingdom. Read more about them at: https://shawmind.org/our-mental-health-guides/
  • https://www.mindandsoulfoundation.org. This is a specifically Christian organisation whose stance on LGBTQ+ issues is once again, unclear, so I cannot recommend them, but other Christians hold them in high regard. They seem to be focussing on general mental health issues, and not conversion therapy, from what I can make out on their website. Their vision statement says:
    We believe in a God who loves us AND cares about our emotional and mental health. Our faith and emotions are often kept separate. Mental health is rarely discussed in churches and Christian spirituality is seen as having little to offer the world of psychology. We want to bridge that gap.
    – To Educate: Sharing the best of Christian theology and scientific advances. Read More…
    – To Equip: Helping people meet with God and recover from emotional distress. Read More…
    – To Encourage: Engaging with the local church and mental health services. Read More…
    Our core leadership team of a psychologist, a priest and a psychiatrist have developed high-quality, integrated resources and bring a powerful message that BOTH* are important
    .
    * Presumably Christian spirituality and psychology – PJ
  • If you are in the United States and are looking for help, because either, you have a mental health or substance abuse issue personally, or you know someone close to you with one, contact The Recovery Village. They have 24-hour helplines and email contact facilities. You can find further information here:
    https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/about/why-the-recovery-village/
    www.therecoveryvillage.com/resources/lgbtq/ or
    www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/news/finding-support-lgbt-community/.
  • Again, if you are in the USA and are looking for mental health help, Advocacy, or support, please visit https://www.thetrevorproject.org/. In the effort to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in every state of the nation and countries around the world, Trevor Project has launched 50 Bills, 50 States.
  • There is also the TrevorLifeline which is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7/365 offered through the Trevor Project. If you or someone you love is seeking help please call 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Not available outside the USA.
    There are some very uncomfortable statistics available on the site, which are eye-opening: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2020/?section=Introduction.

In July 2021 Netflix released the film, “Pray Away” and with it they created a website with many resources (https://www.prayawayfilm.com/resources). I will reproduce the list here under their respective headings, but only those sites not already quoted above. These are principally based in the USA, but some are international:

Advocacy
Born Perfect (http://bornperfect.org/): The Campaign to End Conversion Therapy is a campaign of the National Center for Lesbian Rights focused on passing laws across the country to protect LGBT children and young people from the harm of sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts. Born Perfect drafts, introduces and passes legislation, spreads awareness through public education, media, and advocacy, and empowers conversion therapy survivors and their families. If you’d like to get involved or share your story you can sign up here.

PFLAG (https://pflag.org/) is the first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies. You can find PFLAG’s webinars and their free training toolkit to assist people looking to take action in the effort to protect LGBTQ people from conversion therapy in all its forms here.

MAP’s (https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/conversion_therapy) mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. Their website includes up-to-date Equality Maps which include a state-by-state assessment on the current status of conversion therapy bans across the U.S.

LGBTQ Faith Organizations
The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming resources (http://www.welcomingresources.org/) is an ecumenical group that aims to provide resources to facilitate a paradigm shift in multiple denominations whereby churches become welcoming and affirming of all congregants regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Transmission Ministry Collective (https://www.transmissionministry.com/) is an online community dedicated to the spiritual care, faith formation, and leadership potential of transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, and gender-expansive Christians. If you are looking for support or are in need of virtual community you will be able to find that through TMC’s text-based chat servers, video-based support groups, as well as their online Bible studies.

Support for Conversion Therapy Survivors
Conversion Therapy Survivors (http://conversiontherapysurvivors.org/) is an online group of people who have experienced reparative therapy, ‘ex-gay’ ministries, sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), aversion therapy, and other methods to understand or change our sexual orientation or gender identity. CTS exists to affirm our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer identity as psychologically, spiritually, and relationally whole.

Beyond Ex-Gay (https://beyondexgay.com/) is an affirming online community and resource for those of us who have survived ex-gay experiences.

The Naming Project (https://www.thenamingproject.org/) is a Christian ministry serving youth of all sexual and gender identities. They provide a safe place for youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or allied to learn, grow, and share their experiences. The Naming Project is a space in which youth can comfortably discuss faith and who they understand themselves to be and how they relate to God and the rest of the world.

Personal Addendum
There are a myriad of other sites, ones that I have quoted from, and ones I haven’t.  There is simply no way I can list everything that is useful.  Go out and explore and engage your God-given critical faculties to discern what is helpful to you or those you are seeking to help.  May you hear God’s voice telling you how much He loves you, and values you, despite where you may currently find yourself, or think you are.  Don’t turn away from seeking help.  There are many people who have walked the path ahead of you and have found where to go, ask them.  However, as a straight cisgendered male, I am in no position to give real advice, but will, and have, stood alongside those who are struggling when they need it.