A CHRISTIAN campaigner who was shamed for being gay will tackle stigma in religious circles.

Jayne Ozanne has set up a new charity, named by trustees in her honour, to help eradicate discrimination against LGBT groups.

The Ozanne Foundation will work with religious organisations across the world, to combat prejudice and promote equality.

Littlemore resident Ms Ozanne, a senior member of the Church of England, said: "My vision is quite big - the issues we are facing are very similar across continents.

"The nature of sexuality is not binary and that's something that needs to be understood more widely. The stigma and prejudice can be very damaging.

"It's important people can have the confidence to just be themselves - something I wish I had; the courage to embrace it without the years of hardship."

Last year Ms Ozanne won bishops' backing after calling on the Government to ban 'gay conversion therapy’.

The so-called treatment involves using counselling and prayer to 'cure' homosexuality, and has attracted widespread criticism.

Ms Ozanne had conversion therapy after realising she was in love with a woman, and later suffered a mental breakdown as she struggled to find acceptance.

Noting arguments from Christians who claim the Bible condemns homosexuality, she said: "It's a simplistic and ill-informed view of the Bible.

"I think people hide behind the scripture. There is nothing in there about same-sex love.

"It's understanding of the nature of God - is He a God of anger and wrath, or a God of love?"

But she said the key issue was attitudes held through generations of families and communities.

She added: "The challenges people face when coming out are not always to do with scripture, but ancient family norms and the risk of being rejected.

"I agree anybody can believe what they like, but if it's causing great harm people have to be protected. The stigma causes so much mental anguish."

Ms Ozanne, an evangelical Anglican, is due to publish an autobiography in June discussing her own experiences.

The Ozanne Foundation, of which she is director, is chaired by Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes.

It officially launched last week and aims to promote equality and diversity through means such as raising awareness, encouraging advancement of LGBT human rights in intolerant communities, holding public events, conducting research and producing educational material.

The organisation is keen to work with an array of different religions, not just Christianity.

For more information visit the website ozanne.foundation.