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What can churches do to make their houses of worship more accepting and welcoming for trans and non-binary individuals?

What can churches do to make their houses of worship more accepting and welcoming for trans and non-binary individuals?

Welcoming and Liturgical Services

  • Publicly announce that the church is “welcoming to all” by posting an LGBTQI flag or symbol at the entrance and advertise in the local LGBTQI newspaper or magazine inviting LGBTQI persons to the church liturgies and events (and state that people are welcome to dress however they feel most comfortable)
  • Ensure that all welcoming/inclusion statements, membership/parishioner materials and websites include “gender identity”, “gender expression”, and/or “gender non-conforming” language (preferably use the acronym LGBTQI where appropriate) – state that transgender persons are eligible for ordination in the Church (ministers, deacons, etc.)
  • Provide gender-neutral restrooms (through temporary signage at a minimum) and/or advise attendees that they may use whatever restrooms they prefer
  • Inquire and respect each person’s pronoun preferences (and never make assumptions) and counsel “greeters” to be particularly sensitive to introductions

Encourage all persons to add their preferred pronouns on church name tags

  • Hold an inclusive Mass celebrating all forms of diversity, including featuring a “naming ceremony” for transgender persons who have recently transitioned through a legal name/identity change
  • Encourage representation of transgender persons on parish boards, committees and councils and as eucharistic ministers and readers
  • Address specific needs, challenges, concerns, and joys of transgender persons in homilies (sermons), prayers, speaker series and reflection/meditation series and use inclusive language in sermons and publications

Transgender Education

  • Host a workshop to educate members/parishioners on transgender identities and issues
  • Include books and movies on transgender experiences in book or movie clubs
  • Include transgender-themed periodicals and brochures in Church reading areas
  • Include transgender topics in adult religious education and youth ministry programs, including theological texts from transgender Christians
  • Sponsor a panel inviting transgender persons to speak about their faith journeys, in particular the individuals’ allegiance to their faith and how discovering their gender identity has enhanced their faith

Transgender Support

  • Form support groups for transgender persons and their families and friends
  • Sponsor a retreat or day of recollection for transgender persons and their families
  • Recognize, participate in and sponsor public transgender events (e.g. Transgender conferences, TransPride, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)) and including recognition of TDOR in the liturgy surrounding that annual date (November 30)
  • Become involved in and/or educate members/parishioners around pro/anti-transgender initiatives in legislation and social justice issues (e.g. work with transgender advocacy organizations such as the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Human Rights Campaign where appropriate)
  • Invite support groups for transgender persons to use church space for meetings
  • Include transgender organizations in potential parish stewardship opportunities