Laws and governments are not the only forces impacting the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world. Society, culture, and religion can also strongly impact the well-being of LGBTI people. Religion is often given as a justification for discrimination and mistreatment of LGBTI people. Those who persecute LGBTI people also accuse them of violating long-held cultural traditions. Social change is often more difficult to achieve than legal change.
There are religious leaders in many faiths who consider LGBTI identity sinful and exclude and stigmatize LGBTI people from their faith communities. Many of these leaders encourage psychologically—and sometimes physically—harmful “reparative therapy” practices, support relatives who reject their LGBTI family members, and even call for torture and execution of LGBTI people.