TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With public attention trained on 2SLGBTQ+ issues in the school system, one new research report focuses on another key type of social institution: places of worship.
Although Canada is a leader in 2SLGBTQ+ legislation, many people in different sectors of Canadian society still experience homophobia and transphobia at alarming levels. Equality in law does not mean equality in lived experience. 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination in Canada exists despite progressive legislation. This has led to higher rates of suicide, addictions, and mental health issues in these communities. It has also led to higher rates of unemployment, hate crimes, and marginalization. 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination is often justified by religious belief by different faith traditions in communities. Rainbow Faith and Freedom (RFF) is a unique Canadian organization because it recognizes that religious-based discrimination is a problem and is the most powerful and influential source of homophobia and transphobia in Canada.
RFF’s Worshipping With Love research project, the first phase of the organization’s Ending Religious-based 2SLGBTQ+ Discrimination in Canada: Faith Sector Awareness and Education Program, has been providing a clearer understanding of the relationship between places of worship and the queer community. With the support of the Government of Canada’s Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) grant, important research is helping to better address and take on religious-based 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination and exclusions.
Some key findings include:
– 54% of 2SLGBTQ+ people have experienced homophobia or transphobia in their place(s) of worship
– 39% of 2SLGBTQ+ people who do not currently practice but have in the past have personally experienced or witnessed homophobia from their former place of worship; this is a rate three times higher than reported by heterosexual respondents
– 55% of 2SLGBTQ+ respondents who have never practiced religion state that religion has been used as a justification for homophobia or transphobia directed at them or someone in their presence
– 44% of respondents aged 18 to 24 report that religion has been used as a justification for homophobia or transphobia directed at them or someone in their presence
An executive summary is attached to this release.
Rainbow Faith and Freedom (RFF) is a Toronto-based charity that directly confronts and works to end religious-based discrimination to make the world safer for 2SLGBTQ+ people and their allies. To do this, RFF advocates to change the hearts and minds of religious communities to be affirming and inclusive of 2SLGBTQ+ people and their allies.
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