Millions of gay people around the world are also deeply religious. In some of the major religions, lay organizations have grown to help serve LGBT parishioners who might struggle to reconcile their identities with the teachings of their faith traditions. Here is a list of some of those groups based in the United States.
“Organizations or churches with Evangelical roots have traditionally been the most condemning, exclusionary and antagonistic to Christians who identify as LGBT. This bias has produced untold levels of damage to many children of God and has caused many to abandon their faith traditions or commit suicide. … [T]he love and Grace of God is available to all persons through Jesus Christ. We believe that human delineations such as race, gender or sexual orientation are not held relevant by our Creator.”
— Evangelicals Concerned
Affirmation encourages LGBT Mormons to work toward self-acceptance and self-worth within their faith, without insisting that members resist acting on same-sex attraction or love. Affirmation says that “our lives and relationships can be compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation.” It also opposes ex-gay therapies. The organization, founded in 1977, includes current and former members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and their straight allies.
The Al-Fatiha Foundation was founded in 1997 and was the first Muslim organization dedicated to advancing the cause and equality of Muslims in the United States. It was founded by a Palestinian American named Faisal Alam. In 2001, international Muslim group Al-Muhajiroun, issued a fatwa declaring that all members of Al-Fatiha were apostates, condemning them to death. Most members and executives remain anonymous (and no longer maintain a website) because of threats.
The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) is made up of a growing number of member churches, affiliated organizations, and individuals willing to go on record as welcoming and affirming of all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. These organizations and individuals have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within Baptist communities of faith.
Founded in 1976, this organization provides support for LGBT Mennonites and Brethren and their friends and families. They work to foster dialogue between gay and non-gay people in churches and provide accurate information about human sexuality from various theological, sociological, psychological, and biblical perspectives.
Dignity USA is the largest organization by and for LGBT Catholics, encouraging reform in the Catholic Church and providing guidance and services to LGBT Catholics who seek to reconcile their faith and their orientation. Dignity provides safe and dignified spaces to worship, study, network, and collaborate.
Emergence is a worldwide community of LGBT Christian Scientists established to support members of the church who face discrimination and homophobia.
An association of LGBT evangelical Christians serves as a resource for former and current evangelicals to return to the church, and to foster dialogue and acceptance through education about LGBT issues within the Evangelical movement.
Founded in the 1970s, Evangelicals Concerned is a nationwide ministry that caters to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Christians. With Bible study groups, social gatherings and other activities, EC works to help gay evangelicals worship in safety, and also works to debunk so called ex-gay therapy practices. “Organizations or churches with Evangelical roots have traditionally been the most condemning, exclusionary and antagonistic to Christians who identify as LGBT. This bias has produced untold levels of damage to many children of God and has caused many to abandon their faith traditions or commit suicide. … [T]he love and Grace of God is available to all persons through Jesus Christ. We believe that human delineations such as race, gender or sexual orientation are not held relevant by our Creator.”
ELM works with publicly identified LGBT Lutherans to groom them to become clergy and lay leaders in the church.
This organization for Quakers within the Religious Society of Friends advocates for “radical inclusion” of all people within the church and in the world at large. They meet twice a year, once in winter and at the Friends General Conference Annual Gathering of Friends in the summer.
GALA is an association of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight persons, their families and friends who have a connection to the Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) faith community. GALA brings spiritual wholeness and seeks social justice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender persons and their allies. GALA says that “[w]e claim the sacredness of each life story as a community united in hope.”
A nonprofit based in Raleigh, North Carolina, GCN is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight ally organization and ecumenical ministry founded in 2001 to serve self-identified Christians who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and those who care about them. It is a broad and diverse community for support and discussion about homosexuality and Christianity.
The Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples Alliance is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and affirming members of the Disciples of Christ. They work for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Church, support one another, and provide educational resources to the Church on issues important to LGBT Christians.
GAAP was founded as a safety net for gay Pentecostals coming out of abusive conservative churches and help them recover and reconcile their faith with their identity. GAAP provides a safe refuge for LGBT and straight Pentecostal ministers who seek to return to an affirming ministry.
Founded in rural Georgia in 1974, Integrity is a grassroots non-profit striving to include all baptized Episcopalians (including LGBT faithful) in the church and give them access to its rites. Integrity works at the diocese level to bring estranged LGBT Episcopalians back to the church.
Keshet is the only organization in the U.S. that works for LGBT inclusion in all facets of Jewish life – synagogues, Hebrew schools, youth groups, social service organizations, and other communal agencies. Through training, community organizing, and resource development, Keshet partners with clergy, educators, and volunteers to equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to effect change.
A volunteer peer-support and advocacy organization for LGBT Seventh-Day Adventists, Kinship International works around the world with current and former Adventists to accept themselves and each other regardless of their sexual orientation.
An association of welcoming Presbyterian congregations and individuals, MLP is for the full inclusion of LGBT Presbyterians in the policy and practice of the Church.
This feminist and LGBT-friendly organization was founded in 2007 by Muslim-Americans. Among its guiding principles: “We endorse the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals. We support full equality and inclusion of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in society and in the Muslim community. We affirm our commitment to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
This Lutheran organization for North America provides support for LGBT Lutherans and education for their families, friends, allies, and fellow congregants, as well as advocating for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the Church.
Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization that exists to enable full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the United Methodist Church, both in policy and practice.
Founded by Mel White, former ghostwriter for Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, Soulforce is an organization designed to use nonviolent resistance to counter homophobia promulgated by the religious right on LGBT people. Soulforce facilitates dialogue between churches and the LGBT community to find common ground and encourage inclusion and nondiscrimination against LGBT people in polity, policy, and practice.
Founded in 1972, the Coalition sponsors the largest and fastest-growing network of LGBT-welcoming churches in the world—the “Open and Affirming” movement. More than 1,000 Open and Affirming congregations in the United Church of Christ offer a confident welcome to LGBTQ Christians, and stand with our communities as allies in the struggle for marriage equality and basic civil rights.