Trade Sexual Health

Free, confidential health advice, information,
services & support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual
and trans communities of Leicester,
Leicestershire & Rutland

Make a donation

Sexuality, Gender Identity and Belief: The Leicester Approach

Introduction to the project

Welcome to the project homepage of Sexuality, Gender Identity and Belief: The Leicester Approach.

Here you will find all you need to know and more about the project.

In partnership with St Philip’s Centre, and funded by Leicester City Council’s Community Engagement Fund, Trade Sexual Health will be running a series of engagement activities to provide open discussions between faith communities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGB&T) communities of Leicester.

Project aims and objectives

  1. To recognise LGB&T people of faith/belief
  2. To show how faith communities in Leicester include LGB&T people of faith
  3. To acknowledge the convictions of those struggling to accept LGB&T people of faith/belief
  4. To increase resilience between faith/belief communities and LGB&T communities
  5. To support LGB&T people of faith/belief in order to reduce negative impacts on their health and well-being
  6. To improve levels of community cohesion and integration.

The project plan

  • November 2016 - Project launch, as part of Interfaith Week, introducing what the project is about, providing speakers who have inspired the creation of this project and also an opportunity to feed into and shape how the project will be in facilitated discussions
  • February-April 2017 - Host a series of small, closed, shared conversations in a safe space environment to bring together individuals from faith communities, faith community leaders, individuals from LGB&T communities and LGB&T people of faith in order to discuss and get to the root of current attitudes and perceptions on sexuality, gender identity and belief within faith and LGB&T communities. These shared conversations will happen at a variety of times and days in order to make them as accessible as possible to everybody who wants to participate.
  • May-August 2017 - The development of an LGB&T people of faith toolkit for faith communities and faith community leaders in Leicester. With the input from people throughout the project, this toolkit will explore how faith communities and faith community leaders can best support LGB&T people of faith, create opportunities for LGB&T people of faith to feel accepted and free from prejudice and discrimination within wider faith communities, as well as exploring, acknowledging and addressing the issues and fears faced by faith communities leaders when talking about sexuality and gender identity to their communities. We anticipate this toolkit to grow in content, so this isn't the extensive list of what will be provided in the toolkit.
  • September/October 2017 - The launch of the LGB&T people of faith toolkit for faith communities and faith communities leaders in Leicester.

Project safe space agreement

The Project Launch Event: November 2016

To kick-start the project, we held a launch event in the Queen's Building at De Montfort University, where we had nearly 40 delegates in attendance and some inspirational guest speakers to help everyone understand why a project like this is needed.

This launch event introduced the project, giving a background on what we are proposing to do and research which has sparked our inspiration for this project. There was an opportunity to hear stories from LGB&T people of faith, and their journeys and struggles of reconciling their sexuality, gender identity and faith, as well as participation in the next stages of the project.

To view the programme, click here.

To view the introductory presentation, presented by Makinder Chahal (Trade Sexual Health) and Revd Dr Tom Wilson (St Philip's Centre), click here.

To view the Religion, Youth and Sexuality presentation, presented by Dr Sarah-Jane Page, click here. The key finding from the project can be downloaded by clicking here.

For further information on the Naz & Matt Foundation following Matthew Mahmood-Ogston speaking at the launch event, click here.

Shared Conversations - March-April 2017

The next stage of the project brought together faith communities, faith community leaders, LGB&T communities, LGB&T people of faith and others interested in the project in a series of shared conversations which took place over March and April.

The aim of these shared conversations was to bring people together to discuss further some of the themes that came out of the break-out sessions at the launch event, but also to discuss and shape the local LGB&T people of faith communities toolkit.

The questions asked at the shared conversations were:

  1. How do you think that faith/belief has an impact on the health and wellbeing of LGB&T people of faith?
  2. What are the barriers facing faith communities, faith community leaders and LGB&T people of faith when talking about sexuality and gender identity, and what can be done to overcome them?
  3. Do you have any positive or negative stories to share, with any learning that came out of any experiences?

The same themes and topics were discussed at each shared conversation session and the safe space agreement (see above) was implemented at each shared conversation.

Guidance Document Launch: September 2017

After evaluating the findings from the shared conversations and the launch event discussion groups, we decided that our original plans of developing a toolkit were vast and extensive and could not be done in the timescale of the project. We also discovered that the project had simply just scratched the surface on the topic of sexuality, gender identity and belief, with a majority of people saying that more continuous work needs to be done, which would require further time and resources.

However, instead of a toolkit, we have created a guidance document for faith communities to used, based on some of the key findings from the overall project.

The guidance document details the experience of LGB&T people of faith with a number of case studies and makes recommendations for how faith and belief communities can respond and best support LGB&T people of faith in a more inclusive way.

Click here to download a copy of the guidance document.

Social life