Global LGBTIQ Catholics call on Church to Provide More Safe Spaces, Want to be Part of Integrated Faith Communities, Are Conflicted about Hopes for the Synod

A survey of LGBTIQ Catholics and Allies conducted by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in advance of the first meeting of the Synod of Bishops shows that this community values its faith but feels the church has not done enough to honor their dignity and provide for their pastoral needs. It also reveals both hope and skepticism about the Synod’s outcomes, with respondents nearly evenly split about whether there will be changes that support LGBTIQ people.

The survey was conducted via social media during July and August 2023. One hundred seventy-four (174) people completed the questionnaire. Of those, 137 (78.7%) identified as a member of the LGBTIQ+ Catholic community, 22 (12.6%) as Allies, and 7 (4%) as people supportive of LGBTIQ+ recognition and inclusion. Eighty percent of respondents (139) identified as cisgender males (84) or females (55). Eleven (11), nonbinary people, four (4) transgender women, and three (3) transgender men responded to the survey. Respondents were nearly evenly split among most age groups, with roughly 20% saying they were in the 24-34 year, 34-44 year, 44-54, and 54-64 groups. 5.1 % of respondents said they were 18-24  and 13.2% identified as being over 65 years of age. 

The geographic breakdown of respondents was:

  • Africa 5
  • Asia/Pacific 19
  • Europe 69
  • Latin America 39
  • North America 40
  • Not specified   2

Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (72.4%) identified as lay people, with 20.7% identifying as Priest, Nuns or other vowed Religious. About 7% (6.9%) said they currently have “no role” in the church.

Among the key findings of the survey:

  • Just over half of respondents (53.8%) said they feel they are part of the People of God and the Catholic Church. Another 36.4% said they feel this way “sometimes.”
  • Nearly 7 in 10 respondents (69.5%) said that the LGBTIQ+ community and family members do not have “adequate and relevant spaces to recognize and experience their own faith.” Only 5.2% of respondents believe this pastoral need has been met.
  • 23% of respondents believe the Synod process will result in better inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in the Catholic church. 65% expressed some hope there will be changes, or felt the issue is too complicated to be resolved by this process, and 12% said “No.”
  • Over three-quarters (76.4%) of respondents felt that the best things parishes and dioceses could do to promote greater inclusion of sexual and gender diversity would be the creation of pastoral response teams to foster this. This was closely followed by support for integrating LGBTIQ+ people and their families into faith communities (supported by 70.1%). Just under half (48.3%) felt that special communities for LGBTIQ+ people and their families would be helpful. 
  • The following steps towards effective inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community and families were supported by strong majorities of respondents:
    • Recognition of the presence of LGBTIQ+ people in the Church and acknowledgement that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate expressions of human diversity (93.1%)
    • Revisions to texts and norms that violate the human dignity of LGBTIQ+ people and our families (78.7%)
    • Ending the demand of celibacy based on sexual orientation or gender identity (70.7%)
    • Public acknowledgment that practices such as “conversion therapies” are harmful and ineffective in changing identities (68.4%)
    • Ensure that LGBTIQ+ people have access to all the sacraments that affirm them and their families (65.5%)

It appears that LGBTIQ+ and Ally respondents want to hope for more inclusion in the church as a result of the Synod, but do not trust that to be the case. This question elicited more comments than any other, and they expressed a wide range of feelings. Among the points expressed were:

  • Without openly LGBTIQ+ people and family members sitting at the Synod tables, the church has failed to include important voices, and will, once again, make decisions about our community without our input. 
  • Meaningful LGBTIQ+ inclusion necessitates changes in doctrinal statements and pastoral practices. Respondents question whether there will be the will to take on these major challenges.
  • The open discussion of LGBTIQ+ issues and the fact they emerged as priority issues on every continent marks a milestone in the Catholic church globally. For some, this is encouraging, while others lament how long it took to reach this point. 
  • If there is significant change, it will be the result of Synod participants and others in the church truly being open to the Holy Spirit.


Download the pdf: GNRC Survey results Oct 2023


Drawing parallels

Parallel to the global insights from the Synod survey, the ‘Survey on Inclusive Latin LGBTIQ Catholics for the Synod’ sheds light on the specific experiences of Latin LGBTIQ Catholics, revealing similar patterns of exclusion and a strong desire for meaningful inclusion. Conducted with over 800 respondents, this regional survey echoes the global call for greater recognition and inclusion within the Church, with a staggering 99% of participants advocating for the acknowledgment of LGBTIQ presence as an innate part of human diversity. This data underscores a pervasive sentiment across continents that current ecclesial structures are insufficient for addressing the needs of the LGBTIQ faithful. Both surveys highlight a critical demand for transformative pastoral practices and greater ecclesial visibility, emphasizing the urgency for the Church to embrace a more inclusive approach in the upcoming Synod discussions.”

This addition not only enhances the comprehensiveness of the original blog post but also illustrates the interconnectedness of these concerns across different regions within the Church’s global community. 

Another read that might interest you is the 2024 synod input review. Through extensive global listening sessions and surveys, GNRC has compiled significant feedback addressing the Synod’s impact on local, national, and continental levels. Their recent submission discusses the varying degrees of Synod involvement among members, highlights critical areas for ecclesial reform, and proposes steps towards greater inclusivity and co-responsibility within the Church. For a detailed look at their contributions and the comprehensive recommendations for the Synod, read the full report here: