The Ozanne Foundation works with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender in order to embrace and celebrate the equality and diversity of all.
Stigmatisation and prejudice of minority sexuality and gender groups are still sadly “touchstone” issues amongst most religious organisations around the world. This has led to the legitimisation of various homophobic, biphobic and transphobic policies and practices that impact the views of wider society.
HM Government and the medical professions are united in their concern for the welfare of the LGBTI community, particularly given the high levels of depression, self-harm and suicide. It is now recognised that mental health of the LGBTI community is significantly impacted by the discrimination and prejudice that they are subject to in society, and that “the Church and local churches are one of the biggest sources of discrimination against LGB people and the biggest contributor of negative views to debates about same-sex relationships in society and the media” (see In the Name of Love report, Oasis Foundation).
There is therefore an urgent need for the Church, and indeed all religions, to more fully understand the significant impact of their teachings on the LGBTI community, and the harm that this has caused. Particularly, there is also a need for better education about sexuality and gender issues within religious organisations, dispelling out-of-date myths with factual scientific evidence that can then help develop a positive theological approach towards those who are non-heteronormative or non-cisgendered.
Just as importantly, there is a need to help build bridges of understanding between those who hold widely opposing views in these areas, so that they can learn to disagree well without “demonising the other”.