LGBTQ+ Ministry Team

LGBTQ+ Ministry Team

The LGBTQ+ Ministry Team of the Presbytery of Charlotte offers resources and guidance to those beginning the LGBTQ+ equity conversations in their congregations and to those who wish to deepen their affirmation and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.

For questions, access to resources, or to schedule a meeting with the team, please contact Lisa Raymaker at or 678-592-4153.

Members of the LGBTQ+ Ministry Team:
Megan Argabrite
Suzanne Cannon Davis
Ken Fuquay
Sally Herlong
Heather McKee
Ryan Poag

Lisa Raymaker
Elena Sepulveda

Michelle Thomas-Bush
Bill Watkins

**Some churches have started this conversation by doing a book study together. If your church is interested in a book study
and has not budgeted for this expense, the LGBTQ+ ministry team would like to supply the books as its budget allows.


*Gender Identity:

Who Are You?: The Kid’s Guide to
Gender Identity

by Brook Pessin-Whedbee

This brightly illustrated children’s book provides a straightforward introduction to gender for anyone aged 5-8. It presents clear and direct language for understanding and talking about how we experience gender: our bodies, our expression and our identity.

A House For Everyone: A Story to Help Children Learn about Gender Identity and Gender Expression
by Jo Hirst

An engaging story that is more than just an educational tool; this book will assist parents and teachers in giving children the space to explore the full spectrum of gender diversity and will show children the many ways they can express their gender in a truly positive light.

Phoenix Goes To School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children
by Michelle Finch and Phoenix Finch

This is an empowering and brightly-illustrated children’s book for children aged 3+ to help children engage with gender identity in a fun, uplifting way.  It supports trans children who are worried about being bullied or misunderstood.

*Youth Sexuality:

Sex Is A Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU
by Cory Silverberg

Sex Is a Funny Word is the first sex education book for this age group that is inclusive of lesbian, gay, and bisexual experience as well as gender creative and gender-nonconforming children. The book is also inclusive of trans and intersex bodies and lived experience

Changing You: A Guide to
Body Changes and Sexuality

by Gail Saltz

In a reassuring and honest companion to Amazing You!, the author helps elementary school-age children better understand body changes, reproduction, and emerging sexuality.

It’s Perfectly Normal
by Robie H. Harris

Providing accurate and up-to-date answers to nearly every imaginable question, from conception and puberty to birth control and AIDS, this book offers young people the information they need to make responsible decisions and stay healthy.


*Other books:

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk
and the Rainbow Flag

by Rob Sanders

In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilber Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world.

The Great Big Book of Families
by Mary Hoffman

This fun and fascinating treasury features all kinds of families and their lives together.  Each spread showcases one aspect of home life-from houses and holidays, to schools and pets, to feelings and family trees.  A celebration of the diverse fabric of kith and kin the world over

And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others.  But their desire for a family was the same.  And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

*Guides for parents, teens, and youth leaders:


A Church for All
by Gayle E. Pitman

On Sunday morning, we gather together. We are every color. Every age. Rich and poor. Our church is open, affirming, and accepting. We believe in love instead of hate. There’s room for everyone! This book celebrates a spiritual community that embraces all people―no matter their age, race, class, gender identity, or sexual orientation―in love and faith.

Queerfully and Wonderfully Made:
A Guide for LGBTQ+ Christian Teens

by Leigh Finke

Offering insight and support from an amazing group of LGBTQ+ professionals, as well as testimonies from young adult queer Christians, you’ll walk away from reading this book with a lot of answers, prepared with tools to help.  But most importantly, you’ll hear the good news: God loves you exactly as you are.

Welcoming and Affirming: A Guide to Supporting and Working with LGBTQ+ Christian Youth
by Leigh Finke

A handbook for pastors, youth workers, church leaders, educators, and other adults in Christian settings, the book provides answers to the most pressing questions about sexuality, gender, mental health, safe sex, and more.

A Brief Guide to Ministry with

by Cody J. Sanders

This book challenges pastors and church leaders to reflect on the various trials that adolescence brings for LGBTQIA youth.  Designed for congregations that currently have a theologically and biblically affirming stance toward the LGBTQIA community, this unique resource provides insight and practical advice for tough questions.



Books and Videos:


‘Out of Order’  – documentary film
Directed by Amanda Bluglass

Out of Order is a groundbreaking feature documentary revealing the complex and painful struggles faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer faith leaders within the Presbyterian Church, USA.
The documentary can be viewed at

by Colby Martin

Armed with only six passages in the Bible―often known as the “Clobber Passages”―the conservative Christian position has been one that stands against the full inclusion of our LGBTQ siblings. UnClobber reexamines what the Bible says (and does not say) about homosexuality in such a way that sheds divine light on outdated and inaccurate assumptions and interpretations.


Their Own Receive Them Not:
African American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches
By Horace Griffin

In Their Own Receive Them Not, Griffin provides a historical overview and critical analysis of the black church and its current engagement with lesbian and gay Christians, and shares ways in which black churches can learn to reach out and confront all types of oppression-not just race-in order to do the work of the black community.


The Sexual Politics of Black Churches (Religion, Culture, and Public Life)
edited by Josef Sorett

This book brings together an interdisciplinary roster of scholars and practitioners to analyze the politics of sexuality within Black churches and the communities they serve. In essays and conversations, leading writers reflect on how Black churches have participated in recent discussions about issues such as marriage equality, reproductive justice, and transgender visibility in American society. They consider the varied ways that Black people and groups negotiate the intersections of religion, race, gender, and sexuality across historical and contemporary settings.

Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective
by Kelly B. Douglas

This book tackles the “taboo” subject of sexuality that has long been avoided by the Black church and community. Douglas argues that this view of Black sexuality has interfered with constructive responses to the AIDS crisis and teenage pregnancies, fostered intolerance of sexual diversity, frustrated healthy male/female relationships, and rendered Black and womanist theologians silent on sexual issues.

I Can’t Date Jesus:
Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyonce
by Michael Arceneaux

Equality for LGBTQ people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being Black in America is…well, have you watched the news? I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite.

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
by Justin Lee

TORN provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members–or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that “in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace,” Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.

Talking Across the Divide:How to Communicate with People You
Disagree with and Maybe Even Change the World
by Justin Lee

America is more polarized than ever. In a time when every conversation quickly becomes a battlefield, it’s up to us to learn how to talk to each other again. In Talking Across the Divide, social justice activist Justin Lee explains how to break through the five key barriers that make people resist differing opinions.

The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate
by Jeannie Gainsburg

The Savvy Ally is a vital resource for teachers, mental health professionals, healthcare providers, college professors, faith leaders, family members, and friends who want to support and advocate for the LGBTQ+ people in their lives and help make the world a safer, more inclusive place. This informative, encouraging, and easy-to-understand guidebook will jump-start even the most tentative ally.

The Bible’s Yes to Same Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart
by Mark Achtemeier

In the early 2000s, Mark Achtemeier embarked on a personal journey with the Bible that led him from being a conservative, evangelical opponent of gay rights to an outspoken activist for gay marriage and a fully inclusive church. In The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage, Achtemeier shares what led to his change of heart: the problems with excluding groups of people and the insights into the Bible’s message that led him to recognize the fullness of God’s love and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Readers will discover how reading snippets of Scripture out of context has led to false and misleading interpretations of the Bible’s message about LGBT persons. Achtemeier shows how a careful reading of the whole Scripture reveals God’s good news about love, marriage, and sexuality for gay and straight people alike.

Queering Christianity: Finding a Place at the Table for LGBTQI Christians
by Robert Goss

Through essays by noted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) religion scholars, this important compilation summarizes the history and current status of LGBTQI theology, exploring its relationship to the policies, practices, and theology of traditional Christianity. Contributors contrast the “radically inclusive” thinking of LGBTQI theology with the “exclusivity” practiced by many Christian churches, explaining the reasoning of each and clarifying contentious issues. At the same time, the book highlights ways in which “queer” theology and practice benefit Christian congregations.

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate
on Same-Sex Relationships

by James V. Brownson

This thought-provoking book by James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex relationships.  Fairly presenting both sides in this polarized debate — “traditional” and “revisionist” — Brownson conscientiously analyzes all of the pertinent biblical texts and helpfully identifies “stuck points” in the ongoing debate. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the text.  Written in order to serve and inform the ongoing debate in many denominations over the questions of homosexuality, Brownson’s in-depth study will prove a useful resource for Christians who want to form a considered opinion on this important issue.

Queer Virtue
by Elizabeth M. Edman

In Queer Virtue, Edman posits that Christianity, at its scriptural core, incessantly challenges its adherents to rupture false binaries, to “queer” lines that pit people against one another. Thus, Edman asserts that Christianity, far from being hostile to queer people, is itself inherently queer. Arguing from the heart of scripture, she reveals how queering Christianity—that is, disrupting simplistic ways of thinking about self and other—can illuminate contemporary Christian faith. Pushing well past the notion that “Christian love = tolerance,” Edman offers a bold alternative: the recognition that queer people can help Christians better understand their fundamental calling and the creation of sacred space where LGBTQ Christians are seen as gifts to the church.

The Queer Bible Commentary
by Deryn Guest, Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache, eds.

The Queer Bible Commentary brings together the work of several scholars and pastors known for their interest in the areas of gender, sexuality and Biblical studies. Rather than a verse-by-verse analysis, typical of more traditional commentaries, contributors to this volume focus specifically upon those portions of the book that have particular relevance for readers interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues such as the construction of gender and sexuality, the reification of heterosexuality, the question of lesbian and gay ancestry within the Bible, the transgendered voices of the prophets, the use of the Bible in contemporary political, socio-economic and religious spheres and the impact upon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Accordingly, the commentary raises new questions and re-directs more traditional questions in fresh and innovative ways, offering new angles of approach. 

Outside the Lines: How Embracing Queerness Will Transform Your Faith
by Mihee Kim-Kort

In Outside the Lines, Mihee shows us how God, in Jesus, is oriented toward us in a queer and radical way. Through the life, work, and witness of Jesus, we see a God who loves us with a queer love. And our faith in that God becomes a queer spirituality–a spirituality that crashes through definitions and moves us outside of the categories of our making. Whenever we love ourselves and our neighbors with the boundary-breaking love of God, we live out this queer spirituality in the world.  With a captivating mix of personal story and biblical analysis, Outside the Lines shows us how each of our bodies fits into the body of Christ. Outside the lines and without exceptions.


Our Lives Matter:
A Womanist Queer Theology

by Pamela R. Lightsey

Our Lives Matter uses the tenor of the 2014 national protests that emerged as a response to excessive police force against Black people to frame the book as following the discursive tradition of liberation theologies broadly speaking and womanist theology specifically. Using a womanist methodological approach, Pamela R. Lightsey helps readers explore the impact of oppression against Black LBTQ women while introducing them to the emergent intellectual movement known as queer theology. The author privileges their narratives and experiences as she reviews several doctrines and dogma of the Christian church. Theological reflection on contemporary debates such as same-sex marriage and ordination rights make this book a valuable resource to clergy, students of theology, LGBTQ persons and allies.


Queer Lessons for Churches on the
Straight and Narrow

by Cody J. Sanders

Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight and Narrow is about changing the questions we ask about sexuality, gender identity, and faith. Sanders helps us imagine new pathways into old conversations by shifting our attitude from one of suspicious scrutiny toward LGBTQ people to one of compassionate curiosity. Less concerned with answering questions, it aims to cultivate our imagination for asking new questions. Sanders asks, “What can all Christians learn from LGBTQ people that will enhance our lives and strengthen our communities of faith?” Lessons are offered on the themes of relationship, community, faithfulness, love, violence, and forgiveness.

Radical Love: An Introduction to
Queer Theology

by Patrick S. Cheng

In this lucid and compelling introduction, Cheng provides a historical survey of how queer theology has developed from the 1950s to today and then explicates the themes of queer theology using the ecumenical creeds as a general framework. Topics include revelation, God, Trinity, creation, Jesus Christ, atonement, sin, grace, Holy Spirit, church, sacraments, and last things, as seen through the lenses of LGBT theologians.

Beyond a Binary God:
A Theology for Trans Allies

by Tara Soughers

All are made in the image and likeness of God. If this is what we believe, then trans people, like all people, reflect something of God, and not just in the ways that they share in common with others, but also in the ways that they are different. They remind us that God is beyond all of our categories, even gender. In this book, Tara Soughers explores theology from the position of a trans ally—a parent of a trans young adult as well as priest. What does it mean about God and about humans, that there is not a strict gender binary? How can we affirm and include what we have learned about the permeability of boundaries to affirm those whose path does not follow traditional cultural stereotypes, and how might the broadening help us to understand the God who is never two for Christians, but both one and three? What gifts does this broader understanding bring to the church?


Bible and the Transgender Experience:
How Scripture Supports Gender Variance

by Linda Herzer

The author, a non-transgender pastor, spent three years serving a church where ten percent of the congregation identified as trans men, trans women, cross-dressers, or genderqueer. This motivated her to learn about gender-variant people and to expand her previous understanding of the Bible. A must-read for all pastors, chaplains, counselors, and congregants, and for family and friends of transgender people, as well as for gender-variant individuals seeking to find their stories in the biblical narrative, and desiring to know how scripture supports them. “The Bible and the Transgender Experience” explores whether or not God creates only two genders, what Jesus had to say about gender variance, various understandings of “the cross-dressing passage,” gender variant groups and individuals in scripture, and the movement, within scripture itself, from the exclusion of gender variant people to their inclusion within the people of God.

This Is My Body: Hearing the Theology of Trans Christians
by Christina Beardsley and Michelle O’Brien

Much has been said and written about trans people by theologians and Church leaders, while little has been heard from trans Christians themselves. As a step towards redressing the balance, This Is My Body offers a grounded reflection on people’s experience of gender dissonance that involves negotiating the boundaries between one’s identity and religious faith, as well as a review of the most up-to-date theological, cultural and scientific literature.

Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians
by Austen Hartke

Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians provides access into an underrepresented and misunderstood community and will change the way readers think about transgender people, faith, and the future of Christianity. By introducing transgender issues and language and providing stories of both biblical characters and real-life narratives from transgender Christians living today, Hartke helps readers visualize a more inclusive Christianity, equipping them with the confidence and tools to change both the church and the world.

Trans-Forming Proclamation:
A Transgender Theology of Daring Existence

by Liam M. Hooper

Trans-Forming Proclamation: A Transgender Theology of Daring Existence hazards to put the lived experience of gender-transcendent peoples (for instance, transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming people) at the center of a creative and constructive theological project. In so doing, Hooper walks out of Church and Synagogue, even away from the Academy, into the Sacred Grove, the eternal Eden within each one of us, where we connect most directly with the kaleidoscopic God whom Hooper calls the Abiding One.

God Does Love Me
by Rev. Dawn Flynn

I have been blessed to live my life in both genders. As the title of this book suggests, this book is about my transgender journey to find my true self. Let it be known from the start, I do not, in any way, feel my life in the male gender was without value. Everything we experience in life is a teaching tool. And now that I have found my true self, I am able to see life through unique lenses. In fact, now I don’t just see life through my eyes. Now I see life with all my senses and that makes life worth so much more

Not Until You Have Walked in My Shoes
by Rev. Debra J. Hopkins

This memoir is a riveting, raw, and unflinching glimpse into the life of a Black trans woman in the South. It’s painful and it’s beautiful.  Breaking in a pair of tight, hard-to-wear stilettos and walking, dancing, and running in them until they become your own…it took an other-worldly effort, superhuman strength, and a novel-worthy saga for her to get there.


Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach
by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott

In Omnigender, winner of a Lambda Literary Award, Mollenkott bridges traditional religious doctrine and secular postmodern theory related to gender. Through an examination of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and church history, and the exploration of other religions and cultures, she honors the experiences of people who do not fit within the traditional binary concept of gender.


Retreating Forward: A Spiritual Practice with Transgender Persons
by David Elias Weekley

Transgender people are among the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in the world. Misinformation, lack of education, and lack of experience among cis-gendered persons often result in forms of violence and abuse directed towards those perceived as transgender or gender non-conforming. Such violence and abuse are not restricted to secular culture but expand into faith communities and essential forms of spiritual care and support. When transgender people of faith share the reality of their gender identity they often experience rejection by the very communities that should provide support, encouragement, and practical ministries of hospitality. Retreating Forward: A Spiritual Practice with Transgender Persons is an educational and practical resource for individuals, spiritual leaders, and faith communities seeking to provide practical and spiritual sustenance.



*Video series/DVD’s/TV shows:

Transgressing Gender in the Bible (DVD)

Peterson Toscano has shaken up Bible scholarship and received high praise for his groundbreaking, genre-bending, gender-blending Bible interpretations.  By unearthing the gender stories of people in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Toscano’s one-person performance deepens well-known (and lesser known) Bible stories and presents an array of Bible characters with an array of genders.



Gender Revolution documentary
(National Geographic/Katie Couric)

In this two-hour documentary, Katie Couric sets out to explore the rapidly evolving complexities of gender identity.  


PFLAG Guide to Being a Straight Ally:

*PCUSA information:


*Organizations with additional resources:

PFLAG national:

PFLAG Charlotte chapter:

More Light Presbyterians:

Covenant Network of Presbyterians:

The Freedom Center for Social Justice (Charlotte):

Time Out Youth (Charlotte):

Transcend Charlotte:

Equality NC:

Ministries Beyond Welcome (NC):

Human Rights Campaign:

Resources for LGBTQ parents of children with special needs: