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AUTHOR: Marie Alford-Harkey & Debra W. Haffner
PUBLISHER: Religious Institute
DATE: 2014

Bisexuality: Making the Invisible Visible in Faith Communities

by Marie Alford-Harkey & Debra W. Haffner

Is your faith community open to people whose sexuality does not fit into the categories of gay/lesbian or straight? Does your faith community have access to resources about bisexuality and bisexual people? This guidebook is designed to help congregations understand bisexuality and to encourage faith communities to “make the invisible visible.”

Religious leaders and congregations can use this guidebook to inspire theological reflection and action in their faith communities. Bisexuality is often invisible in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations, society as a whole, and in faith communities and denominations. Although many mainline denominations and congregations have made great strides in welcoming and affirming lesbian and gay people, and some have even begun to respond to the specific needs and concerns of transgender people, the “B” in the LGBT acronym is still largely ignored. When a congregation welcomes and recognizes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, it contributes to a positive image of religion among people who may have rejected religion as intolerant or irrelevant. Such congregations become safe spaces for youth who are exploring their sexuality and have questions. In addition, embracing bisexual persons makes it possible for those persons to be open about their identity and helps create a more open atmosphere in the faith community, encouraging authenticity and community among members. Congregations that embrace bisexual persons can also help heal the suffering caused by the invisibility of bisexual people in society.

This guidebook is written to address the broad spectrum of American congregations. The information it contains will be relevant or adaptable to Jewish, Christian, Unitarian Universalist, and Islamic faith communities.


Part One: Bisexuality Basics

— Definitions and Models of Seuxal Orientation
— Myths and Facts about Bisexuality
— Prevalence of Bisexuality in the United States
— Healing the Suffering
— Research on Bisexuality
Part Two: Sacred Texts and Religious Traditions
— Theological Connections
— Hebrew and Christian Scriptures
— Perspectives from Religious Traditions
— Denominational Statemnts on Bisexuality
Part Three: Creating a Bisexually Healthy Congregation
— Welcoming and Affirming Bisexual People in Congregations
— Bisexually Healthy Religious Professionals
— Worship and Preaching
— Pastoral Care and Counseling
— Youth
— Social Action
— A Call to Action
Part Four: Resources



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