Thinking Anglicans

Safeguarding LGBT+ Christians Survey

Press release


An online survey is launched today on “World Mental Health Day”, 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 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 is being launched on World Mental Health Day, 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”.

Take the survey today:

The nine LGBT+ Christian organisations involved in the research are:
Affirm (Baptist LGBT+ Network)
Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England
Dignity & Worth (Methodist LGBT+ Network)
Global Network of Rainbow Catholics
Oasis Open House
Open Table Network
Ozanne Foundation
Quest (Catholic LGBT+ Network)

  • The research results will be made public in mid-November.
  • The research uses the theme “Safe to be Me”, which is the announced theme of the UK government’s planned international LGBT+ conference in summer next year.
  • The research coincides with the roll out of the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith project, which encourages churches to discuss matters about sexuality and gender identity and has raised safeguarding concerns amongst LGBT+ Anglicans.
  • Local Methodist Churches around Great Britain are currently discussing whether to hold same-sex marriages in their buildings. and these conversations can raise similar issues.
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Father Ron Smith
2 years ago

As an Anglican priest and member of ACANZP in Aotearoa/New Zealand, I applaud the energy and dedication of Jayne Ozanne and her Foundation which has promoted this exercise within the different Church communities in the U.K. Having, in New Zealand, already been made privy to the “Blessing of a Same-Sex Unions” – already legally recognised in the civil sphere – some of us are hopeful that, one day, our Church may be motivated to preside at actual S/S marriages here in N.Z At the moment, however, committed same-sex couples are at least recognised by Anglicans, without any reference to the… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Father Ron Smith
2 years ago

Hi – i really like the idea of the survey – however was thinking it is structured in a way that focuses on the current church someone attends, which may bias results if the objective is to understand the need for safeguarding. For example, I purposely moved away from an evangelical church to a CoE church because I knew i would be less harmed by the CoE environment. Many of my gay friends have done the same. It might help to add a question e.g. Are you able to worship in a church community near to where you leave /… Read more »

Reply to  Hilary
2 years ago

I agree Harvey. It doesn’t capture the fear of attending other churches.

Other than that, it is a good thing.

Reply to  Kate
2 years ago

Sorry, Hilary*

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
2 years ago

While I applaud the rationale, I feel Internet surveys aren’t worth the megabytes the results are stored on. Internet surveys are self-selecting. The people most likely to respond are the people affected the most. While those voices need to be heard from, especially since elements of the CofE don’t want to hear them, the results also end up skewed. There’s also nothing to prevent idiots from using multiple accounts for their own nefarious purposes to give false results. I am bisexual and in the past worked on GLBT advocacy. I know that, all too often, houses of worship have been… Read more »

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