If LGBTQ people are to truly be able to apply the messages that are preached and taught in our communities of faith, we, like all people, need to hear words that are relevant to our lives. That means using examples and concepts that include people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. This is vital not just on days that we might set aside to recognize LGBTQ people, like Transgender Day of Remembrance, World AIDS Day, or Pride, but during ordinary observances as well. In fact, that may be even more important to let people know that they are truly an integral part of the group.

For example, let’s say you are going to give a teaching or sermon on love in a few weeks for Valentine’s Day, or at least mention the holiday. You might include examples of same-gender loving people, who can be models of relationships that weather the decades in spite of prejudice and obstacles. You could honor the bond between a transgender person and their/her/his partner. And don’t forgot to acknowledge the love—romantic and otherwise—that single people of all sexual orientations share.

Queering things up, in fact, can lead to a fuller and more accurate picture of love, letting many more people in your congregation feel affirmed and recognized.