Building Queer Focused Spiritual Communities

In our increasingly digital world, virtual communities have provided a lifeline for many individuals, offering a sense of connection and support. At Folx with Faith, we cherish our virtual meetings that create inclusive environments for queer individuals to explore their spirituality. However, there is an undeniable importance in having queer-centric safe spaces within local communities, where connection, stability, security, and safety are more tangibly felt.

Local queer-centric spaces offer physical environments where individuals can gather, share experiences, and support one another in person. These spaces foster a sense of belonging and community that cannot be fully replicated online. They provide a sanctuary where queer individuals can feel safe and accepted, free from the discrimination and exclusion they might face in other areas of their lives. Additionally, these local spaces are vital for building stronger, more resilient communities that can advocate for broader social and systemic change.

Research has shown that being connected to a local community significantly enhances mental and emotional well-being. According to a study by the American Journal of Community Psychology, individuals who participate in community activities report higher levels of happiness, lower levels of stress, and a stronger sense of belonging.

Building Communities of Belonging

It is within local communities where we find our sense of stability, security, and strength. In 2018, entrepreneur and community architect Radha Agrawal, an expert on building communities, published the book Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life. This “how-to” guide on developing and sustaining healthy communities combines the science and metaphysics behind our sense of belonging and community.

STOUTWORTHY: Learn to BELONG with Radha Agrawal


“Targeting best in class and possibly build ROI. Funneling user stories so that as an end result, we create a better customer experience.”
-Radha Agrawal, “Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life”

Agrawal defines belonging as “a feeling of deep relatedness and acceptance; a feeling of ‘I would rather be here than anywhere else,’” and community as “a group of three or more people with whom you share similar values and interests and where you experience a sense of belonging.”

The book highlights some eye-opening statistics about social isolation:

  • One in four Americans report having zero friends to confide in.
  • One in three Americans over the age of 65 is socially isolated.
  • For those over 85, this number increases to one in every two Americans.

Social Isolation & Queerness

Social isolation can also pose significant health risks. In 2022, the American Heart Association released an article titled “Protecting LGBTQI People from the Health Risks of Social Isolation.” The article emphasizes that social connections are crucial for mental and physical health. Research indicates that social isolation is linked to increased risks of premature death, coronary heart disease, and stroke. It also highlights that queer individuals often report higher levels of loneliness due to factors such as family rejection and societal discrimination. Older LGBTQ individuals face greater risks of isolation, being more likely to be single, live alone, and have fewer children, which limits potential caregiving sources.

The article also notes that LGBTQ youth are also vulnerable to social isolation, which is associated with depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts. This isolation can be compounded for those who belong to marginalized racial or ethnic groups, experiencing rejection from both family and LGBTQ communities due to racism.

Connection in LGBTQ groups

“Communities are built, person by person, through thoughtful design and authentic, energetic connection points.”
-Radha Agrawal, “Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life”

Why We Need Queer-Centric Spaces

We cannot ignore the crisis at hand, and virtual communities do not provide a complete solution to this issue. One of the gifts that COVID brought us was the expansion of communication technologies that allowed us to successfully create online spaces. Folx with Faith even has a virtual meeting open to everyone, recognizing the value in having this online space for individuals seeking a sense of community. While virtual communities can be a vital stop-gap measure, these virtual meetings are primarily a method to provide services to people who do not have access to a local community… YET!

Local queer-centric spaces offer an irreplaceable sense of physical presence, safety, and stability. They provide environments where queer individuals can gather, share experiences, and support each other in person. These spaces foster deeper connections and a stronger sense of belonging that can be challenging to achieve through virtual means alone. Furthermore, they enable the creation of resilient communities that can work together to advocate for broader social and systemic change.

Stability, Security, and Safety

Local communities provide a physical space where queer individuals can gather, share, and support one another in ways that virtual spaces cannot always replicate. The presence of a safe space in one’s local community offers:

  • Stability: A consistent and reliable place to return to fosters a sense of belonging and continuity.
  • Security: Physical spaces with like-minded individuals create environments where queer individuals feel protected and valued.
  • Safety: Local safe spaces are essential for people to openly express their identities without fear of judgment or harm.

These elements are crucial for the mental and emotional well-being of queer individuals, providing a foundation upon which they can build a sense of self and community.

Power of Connection

In our journey through life, the need for connection and community is an intrinsic part of the human experience. This need becomes even more pronounced in the context of spiritual exploration and growth, where shared experiences and mutual support can profoundly impact our well-being.

The Human Need for Connection

In the book Belong, Radha Agrawal uses Ranjan Patel’s work to highlight the essence of this need for touch and connection:

“Biologically we are born with the drive to touch. Physiologically, we thrive when touched, and spiritually, we grow with it. Without touch, we would have no life on this planet, and without it, we would die as a species. Deep in our heart, we’re hungry for it, and when we get it, we’re jolted into pure sensate feeling.”

Patel’s insights are backed by a fascinating study that highlights cultural differences in physical touch among friends:

  • Mexico City: Friends touched each other 185 times while sitting at a café.
  • Paris, France: Friends touched 115 times.
  • Gainesville, Florida: Friends touched 2 times.
  • London, England: Friends touched zero times.

As Patel notes, “We are not a touch-oriented culture. For all our obsession with sex, in contrast to other cultures, Americans are physically starved.” This type of connection is crucial and cannot be achieved in virtual communities.


In addition to Patel’s insights on the importance of touch, the hormone oxytocin plays a crucial role in our need for connection. Often referred to as the “love hormone,” oxytocin is released during physical touch and close interactions, fostering feelings of trust, bonding, and emotional closeness. This hormone is essential for our mental and emotional well-being, as it helps reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance social bonding. Without opportunities for close physical and emotional connections, our levels of oxytocin can suffer, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Therefore, creating queer-centric communities where individuals can experience genuine closeness and support is vital for nurturing both our spiritual growth and overall health.

Existing Religious & Spiritual Communities

Religious and spiritual communities often hold significant influence in shaping societal values and norms. However, for many in the queer community, these spaces have been sources of profound trauma. Religious leaders, systems, and sacred texts have frequently been used to justify exclusion, discrimination, and outright harm against queer individuals. This historical and ongoing marginalization creates environments that are inherently unsafe for queer individuals. Even in “so-called” safe spaces, there can be ongoing debates about the level of inclusion queer individuals should have. For queer individuals, identity, belonging, and worthiness are not matters open to debate. At Folx with Faith, we affirm that each person is an expression of divine love. Furthermore, in communities that have ostensibly resolved this issue, a lack of understanding and awareness can still render a space unsafe for queer people.

People supportively holding hands on a wooden table.

“Biologically we are born with the drive to touch. Physiologically, we thrive when touched, and spiritually, we grow with it. Without touch, we would have no life on this planet, and without it, we would die as a species. Deep in our heart, we’re hungry for it, and when we get it, we’re jolted into pure sensate feeling.”
– Ranjan Patel, “Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life”

community of people standing in a line with colored jackets representing the traditional gay pride rainbow flag

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
– Dalai Lama

Expecting the queer community to return to these spaces to find a sense of community is not a viable solution. Even within progressive denominations or associations, there is no guarantee of safety and acceptance. Labels and affiliations do not inherently change the underlying prejudices that may exist within these communities.

For these reasons, queer-centric spiritual spaces are essential. They provide a sanctuary where individuals can explore their spirituality without fear of judgment or rejection. These spaces acknowledge and address the unique spiritual wounds that queer individuals carry, offering healing and affirmation.

The Resilience of the Queer Community

The resilience of the queer community is a testament to its strength and determination in the face of adversity. Throughout history, queer individuals have continuously found ways to create their own supportive and affirming communities, often as a response to exclusion and hostility from mainstream religious and spiritual spaces. This ability to forge new paths and build inclusive environments is crucial, especially while the rest of the religious world works on becoming truly inclusive and affirming.

Building communities can be a powerful step in ensuring that queer individuals have safe spaces for spiritual exploration and growth. These communities provide a unique opportunity for individuals to reconnect with their sense of power, worth, and value. In these affirming environments, queer people can express their genuine experiences within religious systems and explore their spiritual sides without fear of judgment or rejection.


Spiritual exploration within queer-centric spaces allows for a deeper understanding of oneself and one’s place in the world. It fosters a sense of belonging and community that is often missing in traditional religious settings.

Folx with Faith is dedicated to providing the resources and connections necessary to facilitate the formation of these meaningful groups. By supporting the creation of queer-centric spiritual spaces, we help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to explore their spirituality in a nurturing and supportive environment.

Community Architects

We encourage you to seek out or help create queer-centric safe spaces in your local communities. By doing so, you contribute to a network of support that uplifts and empowers everyone involved. Whether you’re looking to connect with others, start your own journey, or find support, we’re here to help.

Building Communities through Folx with Faith

In the face of societal challenges and the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals, local queer-centric communities become indispensable. In our Folx with Faith groups, we not only affirm identities but also provide the touchstones of connection and belonging that are crucial for spiritual exploration and growth.

Join Us

For more information on how to become a part of Folx with Faith or to start your own chapter or affiliate, visit our website. Let’s build a world filled with love, wisdom, and imagination, where every individual can shine their light brightly.

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Resources & References for Building Queer Centric Spaces & Local Communities


How We Feel App

The “How We Feel” app was created to help people gain emotional intelligence. It prompts the user for daily check-ins, it offers educational resources, as well as scientifically proven emotional regulation methods. You can also add your closest friends to assist in creating an emotional support network.
Gaining a better understanding of our emotions can play a powerful role in how we show up in our communities. This app can also help you keep track of how the weather, your location, the people you’re with, and what you are doing can affect your emotions.
How We Feel Website
“How We Feel” in the Apple App Store
“How We Feel” App in the Google Play Store


Radha Agrawal Website

Additional Resources about Radha’s work and the book “Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life.” This is essential reading for anyone that is interested in building communities in their local area!
Radha’s Website
“Belong” Book | Amazon
“Belong” Book | Better World Books
“Belong” Book | Allstora


American Heart Association | Protecting LGBT People from the Health Risks of Social Isolation

Social connections, particularly in LGBTQ-friendly senior housing developments, are essential for mental and physical health, reducing risks associated with social isolation such as depression and cardiovascular disease.
AHA Article


Very Well Mind | How Social Support Contributes to Psychological Help

Social support involves having a network of family and friends to rely on during times of need, significantly impacting daily functioning and overall well-being. This support can take various forms, including emotional, instrumental, and informational, and is crucial for coping with stress and maintaining mental and physical health. Research indicates that strong social support is linked to lower risks of depression, cardiovascular disease, and other health issues, highlighting the importance of fostering and maintaining supportive relationships.
Very Well Mind ArticleBookstore Link


Folx with Faith’s Celebrate Your Divine Identity Retreat

Join LGBTQIA+ folx from all over the nation for a three-day immersive weekend on the beautiful Unity Village campus. Take part in inspiring music, interactive keynotes, wisdom workshops, sacred ceremony, transformational art, meditation, and of course—a drag show! You will leave with a renewed sense of belonging and tools to navigate your spiritual journey free from religious trauma.
This is a safe place to cultivate a deeper, more empowered awareness of our divine identity.
Discounts available for members of Folx with Faith Communities!
Register Now
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