October is LGBTQ History Month in the US and Canada (February for those in the UK). This is a fantastic time to talk about the fact that religious people have been advocating for LGBTQ inclusion for quite a while. It’s a great opportunity to investigate the movement for LGBTQ equality within your tradition. You can then highlight your findings.

One great place to start is the LGBT-Religious Archives Network. You can find great online exhibitions about LGBT religious history as well as profiles of religious leaders. Are the pioneers from your tradition there? Other ways to gather information include contacting your denominational offices, especially programs that advocate for LGBT inclusion. Do they have a timeline or history that you can share with your congregation? Look for books or articles about LGBTQ inclusion in your tradition.

Here are a few suggestions about what do with the information you find:

  • Offer prayers of thanksgiving during worship for the lives and witness of those who pioneered LGBTQ inclusion in your congregation, denomination or religion. They are our spiritual ancestors.
  • Use poetry written by LGBTQ people in the past as part of your worship. Here are some from org and their list of LGBTQ poets.
  • Use artwork by LGBTQ artists in your bulletins and newsletters, on your website, or projected during worship.
  • Encourage LGBTQ religious leaders from your tradition to add their profiles to the LGBT-RAN profiles gallery. There is a list here of people whose profiles are being sought; other names are welcome.
  • Submit a remembrance of someone from the Profiles Gallery who has had a significant impact on your life. Click here for easy directions about how to do this.
  • Put up a timeline (physically in your space or virtually on your website) of LGBTQ inclusion within your religious tradition.
  • Study a book or article about the history of the LGBTQ movement in a group with adults or teens or listen together to an oral history of an LGBTQ person and discuss it.
  • Take a field trip to visit an LGBTQ archives or museum near you. Here are some suggestions.

Celebrating those who pioneered LGBTQ inclusion reminds us that we are part of a wider and longer traditions. Remembering their courage and dedication can strengthen our own resolve.