So you’re ready to welcome LGBTQ+ people at your place of worship. Fantastic! Now its time to let everyone know.
One of the most important things you can do is to make your welcome clearly visible. Take a look outside and inside the places that you meet. Imagine you are a person who has never been to your space before.
- What would tell someone that they are welcome there?
- Is there clear information, like a welcome sign or statement that includes words like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or allies?
- How about a rainbow flag or other symbol?
- Can these be seen only once you are inside or are they visible from the street?
- Are these signs as easy to see and clear as you want them to be?
Many people—LGBTQ people especially, but also family members and friends—may still believe that religious communities do not welcome LGBTQ people. Your visible presence on your street can help challenge that negative stereotype and let those in your area know that you are a community of inclusion. That often brings support and sometimes challenges; view a United Church of Christ post about experiences with rainbow flags.
A visible sign of welcome also bring some people in your doors for the first time—people seeking a spiritual home where all are included. After all, PRRI reports, “Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) Millennials agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.”
So, put out the welcome mat, literally and metaphorically!