Comments: General Synod - Sunday's business

I have to say that I am joyful and delighted that Synod has initiated this move towards affirmation services to mark trans people's gender transition.

I am also fairly surprised: I expected more people to vote against. As the defeated amendment flagged up, there are indeed issues to be confronted - notably, as I mentioned in an earlier thread, the issues of large numbers of young school-aged people starting to identify as trans, potentially against the wishes of their church-going parents, some just 'exploring' their gender and some reverting to their ascribed gender again later.

And the heart-rending issue of how to pastorally handle a situation where a church-going couple attend the same church, and one of them transitions, which can be devastating for the other partner, humiliating them socially (at least in their own experience and perception) and subverting their own identity and sexuality - finding themselves in a gay or lesbian marriage when they are healthily heterosexual.

In such circumstances, because gender transition has communal and social dimensions, and is not all about me, me, me, there are indeed things to be worked out.

However, the great thing is that today Synod has mandated and initiated that process: and considering the terrible isolation and social marginalisation - not to mention abuse on the street - that many trans people suffer... the affirmation by a church community of *who* this person is... is something very powerful.

So I am very pleased with the progress so far. Being realistic, I do expect a kick-back from conservative Christians further down the path. But the level of support from the Bishops is very encouraging. It also raises significant questions about marriage, if the Church affirms transition: because on transitioning, a recognised church marriage becomes two-women or two-men.

There is a broader point to be tackled - only *some* trans people proceed to gender surgery. Others reject the gender binary. Others are gender fluid. But today the Church's Synod has hugely affirmed trans people.

It reminds me of the Imam of East London mosque, when I asked to join the women's group there. He considered that there was no sin in being transgender (the Shia Ayatollah Khomeini also agreed on that point). It was who I was. So I was welcomed and spent many months learning with the sisters.

Maybe the Church of England is catching up with Islam on this matter.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 5:04pm BST

"It was passed on a show of hinds."

O deer.

typo fixed ED.

Posted by Interested Observer at Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 9:11pm BST

Almost identical votes in favour as the conversion therapy motion. Presumably there's very close correspondence. The non supporters in clergy, and, more importantly, in laity, will no doubt be disgruntled, not least because they got virtually no episcopal agreement.

Posted by Bernard at Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 10:53pm BST

Almost identical votes in favour as the conversion therapy motion. Presumably there's very close correspondence. The non supporters in clergy, and, more importantly, in laity, will no doubt be disgruntled, not least because they got virtually no episcopal agreement.

Posted by Bernard at Monday, 10 July 2017 at 10:13am BST

The church's official position (such as it was: mostly decisions by individual bishops) has been pro-trans since the '90s, but with much variance on the ground, it's heartening to see it receive official endorsement. Long overdue.

Posted by James Byron at Wednesday, 12 July 2017 at 3:24pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.