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Introduction

DIALOGUE IS THE EXCHANGE OF PERCEPTIONS; it is the sharing of understandings, which, although diverse, have a common basis in humanity.

In this sense, dialogue with and between religious leaders is a fundamental tool in the structuring of the world. Religious leaders influence public opinion because their viewpoints have an impact on notions of morality.

Consequently, religious dialogue on the inclusion and promotion of LGBT+ people has an influential impact on society at large; it has the power to change the course of history through alliances and commitments that safeguard human lives. Dialogue implies action. The action of these allies reconfigures religion itself, allowing it to be a space to not only think about life, but to defend life in its entirety.

Agents of faith become agents of justice, promoting human rights. some contexts, policy change, to support LGBT+ people of faith and allies.

We have interviewed ten religious leaders regarding their success stories of inclusion and dignity of LGBT+ persons in faith communities. These leaders were chosen from various religious traditions, such as Judaism, Old Catholic of the Americas, Hinduism, Methodist, Traditional African, Roman Catholic and Islam. Some of these people are part of the LGBT+ community and others are allies of the cause. The plurality of religious expression, gender identity and sexual orientation of the interviewees allowed for a diversity of answers to be collected, resulting in nine core strategies to foster dialogue between religious leaders and LGBT+ people regarding LGBT+ issues and human dignity. 

They say....

As our society evolves, it considers dialogue increasingly important in conflict mediation, in order to create a more just, equitable and sustainable existence.

Resources

TOOLKITS
Interfaith LGBTQ Toolkit: resources to empower Michigan faith groups to strengthen their welcoming, advocacy and service on behalf of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LBGTQ) (Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network with a grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan)
https://www.uujustice.org//wp-content/uploads/2019/04/LGBTQ_Toolkit_Final-1.pdf

ALL IN GOD’S FAMILY – creating allies for our LGBT Families (Institute for Welcoming Resources)
http://welcomingresources.org/AllinGodsFamily.pdf

HEARTS SET ON PILGRIMAGE – preparing LGBTI people of faith to participate in dialogue with religious leaders (Positive Vibes, FRI, FOCCISA and GIN)
https://www.gin-ssogie.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HSOP-v2.0_sample.pdf

FAITHBOOK: A Guide to Faith and Spirituality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People (The Lesbian and Gay Foundation)
https://www.google.com/url?

DIALOGUE FOR TRANSFORMATION – a toolkit (Inclusive and Affirming Ministries)
http://iam.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Dialogue-Manual_WEB.pdf

ALL IN GOD’S FAMILY: a Jewish Guide for Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Institute of Welcoming Resources) 
http://welcomingresources.org/KolBmishpachatElohim-4.pdf

CELEBRATING GENDER AND DIVERSITY – a toolkit on gender identity and trans experiences for communities of faith (The United Church of Canada)
https://www.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/resources/trans-kit_2019.pdf

TRIBAL EQUITY TOOLKIT: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit and LGBT Justice in Indian Country (Native American Program of Legal Aid Services of Oregon, the Indigenous Ways of Knowing Program at Lewis&Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, the Western States Center, the Pride Foundation, and Basic Rights Oregon) https://graduate.lclark.edu/live/files/12737-tribal-equity-toolkit

LA LIBERTAD RELIGIOSA Y LAS PERSONAS LGBTI – cuaderno para el diálogo sobre los Derechos Humanos en El Salvador
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5784803ebe6594ad5e34ea63/t/57ce05052994ca4d3c1f2bff/1473119508238/cuaderno-para-el-dialogo_cristosal-final.pdf


18 FEARLESS ALLIES

Progressive interpretations of gender diversity and sexuality – a guideline to understand the human body
and God (Christian-Islam) (Gaya Nusantara Foundation)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hapKc1P_paODiXQ7viN-KYZQBQpY6lPD/view
Islam, sexual diversity and Access to healthy services

(APCOM Foundation)
https://www.apcom.org/sites/default/files/discussion_paper-islam12.pdf

Dialogue is a moment of openness that does not end when the conversation ends. The conversation between religious leaders and LGBT+ people is not a single conversation, but a dialogue under continuous construction. The interviews that helped to produce this toolkit revealed the importance of understanding LGBT+ issues as a process, and thereby, the dialogues require time and patience.