WESTPORT, CT, June 25, 2014 – Acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy and same-sex married couples is growing in faith communities across the United States, but faith leaders have long been on their own to understand and welcome bisexual people—until now. The Religious Institute is urging faith leaders to break the silence on bisexuality and fully welcome bisexual people into their congregations. Today, the Religious Institute released a groundbreaking guidebook, Bisexuality: Making Visible the Invisible in Faith Communities. This comprehensive guidebook answers such questions as: How can a congregation become welcoming and inclusive of bisexuals? What does Scripture say about bisexuality? Can a minister or rabbi be openly bisexual and serve a congregation? This multifaith compendium of stories and resources will help congregations they take the next step toward full inclusion of LGBT people.
“The invisibility and even direct silencing of bisexual people can lead to great harm,” said Marie Alford-Harkey, co-author and deputy director of the Religious Institute. “In the silence, bisexual people are left wondering who will stand with them. Both in the faith world and the LGBT world there are great gaps in understanding. This guide can help religious and movement leaders to serve the whole community.”
“Bisexual persons already worship with and serve in congregations but we are cautious about sharing the truth of our lives,” said the Rev. Cedric Harmon. “Where is it safe to say you’re bisexual without the prospect of a blank stare? LGBT spaces as well as the broader community harbor harmful stereotypes. The guidebook helps us open our hearts to wholeness and healing found in our God-given sexuality. “
“What a blessing to be an outspoken bisexual rabbi in the Jewish Renewal world, where being bisexual is accepted as another interesting aspect of my multi-faceted life,” said Rabbi Debra Kolodny, Executive Director of Nehirim, a national LGBT Jewish organization. “Sadly, the great majority of bisexual people have been silenced and ignored. For we who yearn to protect, celebrate and sanctify all of God’s children, this guidebook is a God-send.”
The Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards, a leader in the Presbyterian Church (USA) said, “It took me decades to see that I am bisexual—a person capable of enduring, intimate relationships with either a man or a woman. Bisexual people often feel like strangers among lesbian, gay and transgender communities as much as among straight people. Our fullness can quickly get lost—even more so in the faith world. This guide will help congregations build healthy faith communities where bisexual people will feel embraced as God’s beloved children. I rejoice in its completion and hope many use it.”
Copies of Bisexuality: Making the Invisible Visible in Faith Communities can be ordered for $15 + postage and handling, at www.religiousinstitute.org/publications and it is also available at Amazon.com
The Religious Institute, based in Westport, CT, is a nonprofit, multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society. More than 6,400 clergy and religious leaders, representing more than 50 faith traditions, are part of the Religious Institute’s national network.