Explore terms relating to the LGBTQ+ spectrum and discover
how community members can be effective allies.
How to Build an Inclusive Faith Community by Anna White
identities that are not exclusively
masculine or feminine.
• queer: an umbrella term for all
experiences outside of a hetero-normative experience of gender and
• panromantic: an individual who is
attracted to and may form asexual
romantic relationships with men,
women, and people who identify
outside the gender binary.
We begin acknowledging the traditional, ancestral land of the people
(name the host communities and
Nations). We recognize the inherent
connections between colonialism
and all forms of violence, including
homophobia and transphobia. We recognize the ongoing violence of colonialism in our faith communities and seek
new ways to engage in anti-colonial
actions. We gather in gratitude for an
opportunity to learn, unlearn, and
increase our capacity for allyship.
Indicate the location of gender-neutral
Post the following group norms and
• No one knows everything; together
we know a lot.
• What’s said here stays here; what’s
learned here leaves here.
• Bodies will be bodies.
• We can’t be articulate all the time.
• Listen without an agenda.
• Everyone has the right to pass.
lifelong process of unlearning, relearning, self-exploration, and deep listening to build meaningful relationships.
• intersex: when physical sex characteristics (hormones and genitalia)
do not fit into traditional male or
• heteronormativity: the social structures in place that reinforce the idea
that heterosexuality is the presumed
• transphobia: the fear and dislike of,
and discrimination against, trans
people in the form of jokes, rejection, exclusion, denial of services,
employment discrimination, name-calling, and violence.
• transmisogyny: transphobia directed
at trans women and transfeminine
people that reinforces male power
• allyship: a process of learning and
action across the spectrum of privilege and difference, such as gender,
race, sexuality, class, ability, religion, and experience.
• cisgender: identifying with the same
gender that one was assigned at
• cis-sexism: the belief that cisgender
and cissexual people represent the
norm, resulting in systemic oppression that privileges cis people over
• non-binary: a term for gender
Our faith communities strive to radically welcome people in the
same manner as Jesus. We open our
hearts and doors to all. But sometimes
we are unaware of exclusive societal
One of the most pervasive myths
in our society is that there are only
two sexes: male and female. The fact
is, some people are born intersex (see
Key Terms). The accompanying myth
that there are only two genders—man
and woman—allows little room for
those who experience gender outside
of, or across, this gender binary. The
key to becoming more inclusive is to
acknowledge the difference between
biological sex, gender identity, gender
expression, and sexual orientation.
We must also examine how our
own gender and sexuality privileges
operate, and shape our assumptions
When talking about gender and sexuality, avoid generalizations. A person’s
intersections of race, class, ability,
age, relationship status, etc. will affect
their gender experiences.
There is no one right way to facilitate this conversation. This outline is
a suggestion. Be creative, and use the
online resources noted on page 34.
The most important take-away for
participants is that one workshop does
not an ally make. We need to begin a
This workshop has been led in groups of eight to 40 people, ages 14 to 85.
You need one and a half hours minimum; a half day would be better. These
activities and the terminology are adaptions of the incredible work and
activism of queer, trans, and two-spirit individuals of all ages, including
many people of colour working toward social justice.