One way to increase your overall welcome is to intentionally include bisexual people. The acronym LGBTQ has a “B” for bisexual, but sometimes communities are not as aware or welcoming as they could be. We may say “LGBTQ” but then erase the particularities of bisexual identity. Sometimes we make assumptions about people; for example, assuming both people in a male-female couple are straight or that two women together are lesbians. One or more people in a relationship could be bisexual.
In addition, people sometimes still harbor stereotypes about bisexuals. For example, people may think that bisexuality is simply a phase or a transition point from one identity to another. The reality is that bisexuality is its own sexual orientation. Others may think that all bisexuals are inherently promiscuous; for example, when Presbyterian minister Janet Edwards came out as bisexual to her ministry colleagues, they began to lecture her about the dangers of infidelity, assuming that she was being unfaithful to her husband. She shares her story here. Some bisexual people do have more than one partner, others do not. But it is not helpful to make assumptions about anyone’s sexual behavior or relationships.
Some resources to help you on your journey to inclusion are:
- Bisexuality Initiative, from the Religious Institute, which includes links to information about bisexuality, theological reflections, how to make your congregation more inclusive and myths/facts;
- Bisexuality 101: Identity, Inclusion and Resources from the Unitarian Universalist Association; this webpage includes basic information and ten suggestions to make your congregation more welcoming to bisexual people;
- “Beyond the Binary: Welcoming the B in LGBT,” a video resource of a webinar sponsored by the Religious Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches and the United Church of Christ
- Eric M. Rodriguez, Ph.D., Megan C. Lytle, Ph.D., and Michelle D. Vaughan, Ph.D., “Exploring the Intersectionality of Bisexual, Religious/Spiritual, and Political Identities from a Feminist Perspective,” Journal of Bisexuality, 2013 Jul; 13(3): 285–309. This study explores the religious perspectives of bisexuals in the United States.
- Books and articles
- Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith, Debra R. Kolodney, editor; a wide-ranging interfaith collection of essays
- Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, editors, includes perspectives from a variety of spiritual traditions, including Jewish, Mormon, pagan and more
- “Blessed Bi Jesus,” by Elle Dowd on the Reconciling Ministries Network
- “Faith Communities And Bisexuals: When The ‘B’ In LGBT Also Means ‘Believer’,” by Marie Alford-Harkey
Let’s keep widening our circle of inclusion!