Exploring your LGBT+ identity alongside your faith?
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Major religions are so big that there are usually lots of different perspectives on LGBT+ people within them. Maybe you’ve only heard one perspective because that’s the perspective of your family, religious leader or prominent community members. The internet might be a useful place to look. Try searching LGBT+ and your faith, e.g. ‘LGBT+ Hindu’, and see what comes up. (Remember to stay safe online and if you’re not sure how, check out our Staying Safe Online page.) There are groups in pretty much every religious tradition that believe being LGBT+ is compatible with their faith. You can explore the webpages of some we are more familiar with on our LGBT+ Faith Groups page.
Many people feel they already know what their own local religious community think about LGBT+ people. Though often it’s not a topic that’s mentioned very much or explored from diverse perspectives, you might be surprised to find that, for example, many Christian priests in the UK believe all LGBT+ people are welcome in church. Remember not to assume what people think until they tell you themselves.
There are lots of places online you can go to talk to other people who are also LGBT+ and share your faith. We’ve signposted some trusted organisations on the LGBT+ Faith Groups webpage. If you want to meet other LGBT+ young people, find where your nearest group group is using our youth finder on The Proud Trust’s main website.
Sometimes we get so caught up in what others around us believe and tell us, we can forget that our personal thoughts and beliefs are really important too. Religion, faith and belief can be collective and based in and around communities, but ultimately, your faith is yours. Give yourself time to reflect on what you personally feel is central to being a Muslim or Buddhist, etc. Do you feel your LGBT+ identity is at odds with these things? You might find that they are not.
In lots of traditions, it’s usual to pray to God(s) or other deities. If this is something you do, you might find praying about your difficulties can help. Sometimes it’s useful just to vent about what’s going on, to reflect on yourself and others, or to hear what God(s) or other deities think about what you’re going through.
Many traditions hold that God is absolutely perfect and is never wrong, but humans definitely can be. In every tradition, it’s humans that interpret scripture and create customs, and those interpretations are often different and sometimes even conflicting. Even people we respect make mistakes and are influenced by their society and culture in how they interpret religious teachings. An example is in the Catholic Church, where Pope Francis has changed the teaching on the death penalty to say that it is never allowed. Even when teachings seem permanent and unchangeable, the reality is they can and do change.