Christians speak out to break down barriers between LGBT people and the Church
Guide will be distributed internationally to help Christian groups and leaders positively engage with LGBT people
Stories from across the world including Eastern Africa, Western Africa, the Caribbean, Russia, Poland, South America, USA, East Asia, the Pacific and the UK.
Christians from across the world have spoken out about how they have embraced lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equality within their faith, in a new book published by Stonewall.
The book features the personal experiences of 20 Christians from countries across the world. Some of those featured in the guide are risking their personal safety by speaking out. Not only have of the stories had to be anonymised, their place of origin has also been obscured to protect their identity.
Stories come from across Eastern Africa, the Caribbean, Poland, the Pacific, South America, Eastern Asia, Western Africa and Eastern Europe as well as the UK, South Africa, Brazil, USA and Russia. Each story shows the personal perspective of Christians who believe that their faith is not incompatible with either being LGBT or accepting LGBT people.
Their backgrounds and religious traditions are all different; some are priests, some have been imprisoned, some are in relationships. Some identify as lesbian, gay, bi or trans, while others are allies of LGBT people and communities.
Stonewall is publishing Christian Role Models for LGBT Equality - which features a foreword by Bishop Senyonjo of Uganda - to help faith communities understand how they can support LGBT members of their community, both in Britain and internationally. The book amplifies the voices that exist in Christian communities that are too often marginalised.
It will be distributed to individuals and groups, inclusive Churches, faith headquarters and faith-based NGOs in the UK and internationally to showcase Christian support for LGBT equality. The personal stories featured include general ideas on how Christian groups and leaders can engage with LGBT people and how they can support them with their faith.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: ‘We’re releasing this book to show wider society that LGBT people of faith do exist and are part of faith communities.
‘Too often it’s assumed we’re not on the same side but the powerful stories featured in this guide demonstrate that a belief in God is also a belief in love and acceptance. This guide shows that international Christian communities have the strength to embrace and reflect a greater theological diversity than often presumed.
‘We are so grateful to those who have participated and for the bravery they have shown in speaking out. The volume of hatred and vitriol from extreme religious leaders is very threatening and the dangers involved in participating in a project like this are very real. Those who have been brave enough to stand up to this are exceptional Christian role models because they have risked their personal safety to help others.
‘We hope that this guide will help break down the barriers between LGBT people and the church, and build a common ground. We’re looking to a future where people will be accepted for their beliefs, their faith, their sexual orientation, their gender identity and everything else, without exception.’