Every parent, gay, straight, transgendered, or bisexual needs support. A sense of acceptance and community is important, even more so for gay parents, who already encounter discrimination in other areas of life. For many parents, church provides a sense of safety and place of belonging. Yet, gay parents and individuals do not always experience that security. What does an LGBT parent do if they find a church they like, but fear that “coming out” will unleash ostracism and lectures on homosexual being an “abomination?”
For LGBT parents in this type of situation, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not everyone wants to be an advocate or has the time and energy to handle these battles. Gay parents can grin and bear it, openly express their sexuality, find another church, or stop attending church altogether. Unfortunately, the last choice is what sometimes happens to gay parents. Many LGBT parents and individuals are forced out by conservative doctrines, judgments about sexual orientation, and inflicted guilt. Not wanting to worship in an environment where negativity and bigotry pervade is warranted. Many parents, including LGBT individuals, do not wish to subject their kids to that kind of atmosphere.
For some Cathlolics, it is hard to feel safe in church when Catholic schools are clinging to outdated family beliefs, punishing children of LGBT parents by denying them school enrollment. In March of last year, a kindergartener and a pre-schooler were kicked out of Catholic schools in Colorado because their mothers were lesbians. Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Denver deemed the kids as undeserving of a Catholic education based on his belief that gay marriage is sinful. In Massachusetts, a similar incident happened to an eight-year old student enrolled in St. Paul Elementary school. Due to having lesbian parents, the boy’s school acceptance was withdrawn.
These punitive actions make finding a safe, gay friendly church all the more important. Fortunately, gay friendly churches are available. The Unitarian Universalist churches are options for gay parents and individuals. Accepting people from all walks of life and sexual orientation, these churches offer a supportive community. In Buffalo, Sunday services start at eleven a.m. Unitarian Universalist services in Fredonia start at the same time. Held at the Grange Building, the rainbow flag is proudly displayed at the front of the church. Reverend Terry Kime leads the Fredonia services twice per month.
For LGBT parents with a more spiritual affinity, Lilydale may be the place the visit. A small community of psychics and mediums, LIlydale welcomes LGBT parents and individuals. On Sunday mornings, the “Church of the Living Spirit” and “The Lilydale Spirtualist Church” lead services. Another option for gay parents is “Fellowship of the Spirit,” located on Dale Drive in Cassadaga, New York. Services are held on Sunday evenings at six p.m.
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) offers Buddhist services in Buffalo. Promoting diversity and equality, gay parents are accepted and supported here. Held at the Buffalo Communty Center, their Sunday service starts at ten a.m.