Christianity is at a point of very significant disagreement about questions of gender and sexuality. In some ways these issues have always been controversial, with questions about divorce, remarriage, contraception, sex outside of marriage and abortion being matters that have divided opinion among Christians.
At this point in history, the matters that are particularly controversial are questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. These questions are not simple, but they impact the lives of many Christians in a powerful way.
In the UK, as in most of the world, traditionally most people were expected to get married and have children. This was the expectation, regardless of sexual orientation. Changing your sex was unthinkable.
That has changed. People have greater choice about how they live their lives and can choose to express their sexual orientation and gender identity more openly. In the UK, it used to be the case that consensual sexual activity between men was a crime, but that was decriminalised in 1967. There is now the same age of consent for everyone.
Civil partnerships were created by parliamentary legislation in 2004 and the first civil partnerships took place in 2005. Civil marriage for same sex couples has been legal in the UK since 2014. However, it is not possible to have a legal, same-sex marriage in church because the Church of England is exempt from the legislation, even though it is the national church and has legal duties towards all the citizens of England.
The traditional case against same-sex relationships is based on a small handful of verses from the Bible. The meaning of these is open to interpretation and, in some cases, the translations are in dispute.
For a fuller discussion of these verses, see God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines, reviewed at Gay and Lesbian theology
Traditionally there has been no condemnation of trans people or actions, because these were unknown in traditional church matters. Again, there are a small number of verses which are used to promote a non-affirming response to trans people. For a fuller discussion of these verses, see Transforming by Austen Hartke, reviewed at Trans
There is also a series of ‘The Bible affirms…’ leaflets available here Resources and Links



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