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Resources for Spiritual Leaders: Gend...

These resources can be a starting place for spiritual leaders to deepen their understanding of gender, gender inclusion, and gender sensitivity.

Resources for Spiritual Leaders: Gender Spectrum

These resources can be a starting place for spiritual leaders to deepen their understanding of gender, gender inclusion, and gender sensitivity.


Are you a leader of a religious or spiritual community, but uncertain about how to lead congregates who do not ascribe to the gender binary? These guidelines from the educational organization Gender Spectrum can be a starting place for leaders to deepen their understanding of gender, its important role in identity, and how it influences a faith journey. These suggestions can be particularly helpful for leaders working with gender expansive youth. (Gender expansive: An umbrella term used for individuals who broaden their culture’s commonly held definitions of gender). 
 

  • Do your own work first. Map your own gender journey by reflecting on the following questions:
  1. Can you remember a time when you were reprimanded for behavior that was perceived as “gender inappropriate?” What did the experience feel like? What was your response? Were there other factors that impacted your experience? Explain.
  2. Do you see/express male or female traits or both or neither in yourself? Explain.
  3. Have you become more open to traits of the “opposite” sex in yourself as you have become older? Or were you more open at earlier stages of your life?
  4. How open have you become over time understanding someone else’s gender? Explain.
  5. What role has your religion, faith or spirituality played in your understanding of gender? Explain.
     
  • Take time to know and understand what gender expansive means. Listen to gender expansive young people and learn the many ways they define their gender experience.
     
  • Learn how young people define their gender in concert with the other identities they carry like family, race, class, and religion.
     
  • Listen to the story of the gender expansive person and their family. Use the template above as a guide to uncover their story.
     
  • Ask open ended questions without passing judgment yet raising interest and demonstrating support. Affirm not shame. Listen not dismiss. Suggest not demand. Ask not assume.
     
  • In your own ministry, become aware of how gendered language could be a deterrent for gender expansive young people. Open your congregation to normalizing gender diversity through your teaching and practice.
     
  • Provide gender-inclusive training for all of your staff, including youth ministerial staff, deacons, and ushers, etc.

 

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