Safeguarding survey launched to find out how safe LGBT+ Christians feel in UK churches
An online survey launched on World Mental Health Day (10 October) to understand just how safe UK LGBT+ Christians feel in their churches, and what can be done to make them feel safer
Open to all LGBT+ Christians in the UK who are aged over 18, the survey has been commissioned by a consortium of nine Christian LGBT+ organisations (including the LGBT+ Baptist group Affirm) to measure how safe LGBT+ Christians feel, what steps have been taken by their local churches and what more can be done to help them feel safe.
The research launched on World Mental Health Day (10 October), which also coincides with the Church of England’s first “Safeguarding Sunday”.
Jayne Ozanne, who instigated the project, explained the reason for the survey:
'Many LGBT+ Christians feel increasingly vulnerable in their local churches given the increasingly toxic rhetoric around sexuality and gender identity. We thought it essential to measure in a safe and anonymous way just how safe people feel able to be about who they are, and what steps should be taken to make them feel safer.'
The questionnaire is being overseen by an independent consultant, Dr Sarah Carr, an LGBT+ mental health expert, who said:
'It is critical that LGBT+ people’s well being is prioritised in spaces which we know have and still can cause significant harm and trauma. By asking them directly about how they feel we can build a picture of what is happening in the UK today, and identify steps that they tell us will help improve things.'
The online research survey will run for two weeks and is open to all LGBT+ adults in the UK who associate themselves with the Christian faith, whether they go to church or not.
Luke Dowding, Executive Director of OneBodyOneFaith, explained why his organisation had chosen to get involved with the project:
'We know that many LGBT+ people have a deep faith, but some feel unable to attend church because they fear that they will not be welcomed or understood in their local places of worship. We would therefore like to understand if there are LGBT+ Christians who do not currently go to church for fear of their safety, with a desire to learn what if anything local churches might do to help address these concerns.'
The research results will be made public in mid-November.