Updated again 1 July
There are two motions due to come before General Synod in York next month. One is a Diocesan motion from Blackburn, Welcoming Transgender People, to be debated on Sunday afternoon, the other is a Private Member’s Motion from Jayne Ozanne, on Conversion Therapy, to be debated on Saturday afternoon.
The Blackburn diocesan motion reads:
That this Synod, recognizing the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.
The background paper from the diocese is GS 2071A Welcoming Transgender People. This provides a comprehensive briefing, including a helpful glossary of terms, and a detailed explanation of the circumstances which prompted the motion being brought forward.
There is also a background note from the Secretary General, GS 2071B, which includes a discussion of some theological considerations, and reviews the existing liturgical provisions which might be relevant.
OneBodyOneFaith has published an article by Christina Beardsley Welcoming and affirming transgender people: reflections and resources for the Blackburn Motion,which comments on some of the opposition to this motion, and links to a number of resources that reflect modern scientific thinking on this topic.
The Private Member’s Motion reads:
Jayne Ozanne (Oxford) to move that this Synod:
(a) endorse the statement (see below) of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council
for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others that the
practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical,
harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Archbishops’ Council to become a co-signatory to the statement on
behalf of the Church of England.
The statement referred to reads:
January 16th 2017 Statement
We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.
Conversion Therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.
Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses. Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
The British Psychoanalytic Council
The British Psychological Society
The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
GLADD – The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists
The National Counselling Society
National Health Service Scotland
The Royal College of General Practitioners
The Scottish Government
The UK Council for Psychotherapy
The background paper by Jayne Ozanne is GS 2070A Conversion Therapy. This explains how the 2017 statement came into being, describes the position of the UK Government, and lists the comments of various medical professional bodies on conversion therapy.
There is also a background note from the Secretary General GS 2070B which goes into more detail and notes some differences between the 2017 statement and earlier ones.
And OneBodyOneFaith has reproduced another article by Jayne Ozanne A Call to Condemn Conversion Therapy.
The Church Times has this: Ozanne motion seeks to label as ‘unethical’ therapy to change sexual orientation.
This paper by Jayne Ozanne is also published: Spiritual abuse – the next great scandal for the Church.
There is also another paper, written by Professors Michael King and Robert Song: Conversion Therapy – Science Briefing. Copy available here.