Thinking Anglicans

Changing Attitude and LGCM announce merger

Updated to add press link

Changing Attitude and LGCM announce plans to merge their work to create ‘new missional movement for transformation and change’.

Changing Attitude and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, who have between them been working for over 60 years for LGBT inclusion across the Christian churches, have announced plans to merge.

Tracey Byrne, LGCM’s Chief Executive said, ‘We’ve been working closely with Changing Attitude for some time now and we have so much in common, and so much to gain from working together. We both bring wisdom and experience to our work, and Changing Attitude’s deep understanding of the Church of England is complemented by LGCM’s insights from across and beyond the denominations. We want to see all that energy, commitment and vision combined to bring about real and lasting change.’

LGCM marked its fortieth anniversary in 2016, and Changing Attitude celebrated 20 years of Colin Coward’s leadership on his retirement in 2015. Tracey went on to say, ‘Both LGCM and Changing Attitude have been blessed with extraordinary and prophetic founders and leaders – people like Colin, Malcolm Johnson, Jim Cotter and Richard Kirker. We shall not see their like again – but of course we’re also part of a world and a church which functions very differently to the way it did in 1976. We have a really firm foundation from which to build a new movement which draws in all people of goodwill who want to see the church welcome LGBT people on equal terms with our sisters and brothers.’

Jeremy Timm of Changing Attitude said, ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for us to further LGCM and Changing Attitude’s work, to make ourselves a resource and a force for change in the churches as they continue in their journey of understanding in relation to sexuality and gender. We firmly believe we can do this better together, and as both boards of trustees have been talking and listening to one another over the past six months, we’ve become really excited and energised about what the future holds.’

LGCM’s Chair of Trustees, Jeremy Pemberton added, ‘If we’re going to reach out to a new generation with the message that the gospel is good news for everyone, then we’ll all need to commit ourselves to making that a credible and authentic claim for LGBT people too. That will involve humble listening and prophetic action at every level of the churches, from our leaders and from the many people we know are longing for change. The new movement will be uniquely placed to resource that kind of transformation.’

Notes for editors:

1. LGCM is a charity which is committed to the full inclusion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the life of the Christian churches.

2. Changing Attitude campaigns for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Church of England.

3. Further enquiries to Tracey Byrne, Chief Executive on 07497 203635

4. Further information about the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement can be found at www.lgcm.org.uk

5. Further information about Changing Attitude can be found at www.changingattitude.org.uk

Update

Carey Lodge Christian Today ‘We Want Real Change’: Gay Lobby Groups Join Forces To Fight For LGBT Inclusion In The Church

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KateErika BakerSusannah ClarkJames ByronJeremy Pemberton Recent comment authors
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Kate
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Kate

My trans and intersex Christian friends will be concerned about an LGBTI* group merging with a group which is shy about the BTI* bit. Certainly the new name will be important.

Phil Groom
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Excellent news: lovely to see this. Congratulations to all involved!

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

This is a very welcome initiative. There’s a lot to be gained by joining forces and pooling energies.
I shall continue to do what I can to support the merged group and to progress the cause of lgbt equality in our churches.

James Byron
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James Byron

Excellent news, strength in unity. I wish the new group the very best.

Kate, even if there were a serious prospect of lesbian and gay advocates in 2016 neglecting bi and transgender people (and I don’t for a second believe that there is), the CoE has already recognized trans people’s authentic gender in several instances.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

I was fortunate in being present at the meetings where the merger of the charities was discussed by the trustees of both (I have no vote – I was there to provide financial information). I don’t believe I am breaching confidentiality in reassuring you, Kate, that there is no danger of the ‘BTI bit’ being overlooked by the newly merged charity. As you say, the new name will be important in signalling this. Kind regards, Laurence. (Treasurer of LGCM)

DBD
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James: “the CoE has already recognized trans people’s authentic gender in several instances.” may very well be accurate, but is unlikely to be useful for anyone — there is yet very much indeed to be achieved for TI* folk in the CofE (LGBTI Mission’s priorities are an excellent start@ https://lgbtimission.org.uk/our-priorities/)

Kate
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Kate

“Kate, even if there were a serious prospect of lesbian and gay advocates in 2016 neglecting bi and transgender people (and I don’t for a second believe that there is), the CoE has already recognized trans people’s authentic gender in several instances.” But they do. This is how LGCM describes its purpose: “The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the Christian churches.” And there is a huge amount to be done: 1. Ministers can opt out of marrying people with a Gender Recognition Certificate. That means the Church has… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Actually, now I have found more details, Changing Attitude is abandoning trans, intersex and gender queer folk because it is the organisation which is going:

“The trustees of Changing Attitude have decided that our ongoing work will be best served by pooling resources with LGCM to form one new organisation. This will involve Changing Attitude surrendering its charitable status, and merging our assets with those of LGCM.”

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Kate, You are simply not correct in your assertions. CA has not abandoned bi, trans, queer, intersex and other sexual and gender minorities. It has taken the decision to vest its work in LGCM and to close as a separate charity. In the very careful negotiations that have taken place preparatory to this difficult decision, there has been important work done on how LGCM’s Aims and Objectives will need adjusting so that the concerns that you rightly highlight are included in the A&O of the new body in the future. This is in process. I would ask you and others… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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As a transsexual woman, looked after in an Anglican convent for 8 weeks after my gender surgery, and 4 years later prayerfully invited to join that convent, and wholly affirmed for who I am… I must agree that there are wonderful instances of love and acceptance in the Church of England towards people who are trans. Equally, there is still a mountain to climb to gain warm affirmation in many churches. So yes, there is work to be done. I don’t doubt that the new alliance will faithfully campaign for trans interests (I’ll assume intersex interests too, though that’s not… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

I fully agree, Susannah, but I think that Kate wasn’t “reminding” people to work together but rather surmising that they would definitely not do so. Jeremy Pemberton is right. It is important to recognise that we are all on the same side and to approach this merger with a level of trust rather than a deep sense of suspicion. We are all in this together – everyone on the gender spectrum and everyone on the sexuality spectrum, and all disabled people on those same spectrums. It doesn’t do to divide us into sub-groups. We hate it when it’s done to… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Well said, Susannah and Erika.

Kate, let’s put it in terms of brute realpolitik: even if, arguendo, everything you say is true, are trans rights more, or less, likely to be respected in a church that affirms the rights of lesbian and gay people?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Erika, nothing wrong with a merger, but it was LGCM which should cease to exist, not the other way around. The LGCM name *HAS* to go – a name which ignores TIQ is useless and discriminatory from the off – and if both names go, both brands are lost with their associated built up visibility. So the only viable option is to close LGCM and keep CA.

Kate
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Kate

“Kate, let’s put it in terms of brute realpolitik: even if, arguendo, everything you say is true, are trans rights more, or less, likely to be respected in a church that affirms the rights of lesbian and gay people?” Less likely, but if you put it like this… “are trans rights more, or less, likely to be respected in a church that is agnostic about sexual orientation?” …more likely. Language is everything. The first speaks to a gendered church which respects gay and lesbian rights. The second stresses a church which is entirely agnostic about gender. In which do you… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

But Kate, the human race itself is strongly gendered. Most trans women are too, otherwise they wouldn’t go through the ordeal and social hostility involved in transition. I am strongly gendered. I am also lesbian, with a strong and gendered attraction to other women. I recognise that some people say they’re non-binary, and they can identify for themselves, and should be respected. BUT, all over the world, and through human history and evolution, sex and gender have been recognised and understood: a gender difference between men and women… and a sexual reproductive functionality difference too. Evolution has made us predominantly… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Gender transition is more than a lifestyle choice. It comes with family hurt, loss of employment, street abuse, sometimes surgical intervention, evaporation of friends, financial cost, social disdain, marginalisation or vilification in church… … if I wasn’t ‘strongly gendered’ enough to go through all of that, and come out the other side happy, at ease, alive, myself… then why would I have bothered? It’s about authentically being yourself. And for most people on this planet, that includes being male or female. So I don’t see why lesbian and gay advocates should not embrace that too, and acknowledge that gender is… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Kate,
if I understand it correctly, mergers differ from takeovers in that the new organisation is not 100% like either of the two it arose from but that it is a new entity.

I still think we can trust Jeremy Pemberton when he says that the whole team behind this has the best interest of all lgbt+ people at heart.

Shall we wait and see what happens?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Susannah Of many of course those who transition from one social gender to another have a strong sense of gender but so are many people who do not transition. That though is different. I recall a strict Jewish father who was struggling to accept his daughter’s transition because he had strong, religious ideas of gender. He stood by his daughter, but he struggled. His struggle had nothing to do with her (he was very supportive) , but from his concept of what gender meant within the Jewish religion. When religions stress gender, they make it harder for people to change… Read more »