Thinking Anglicans

Support for the pastoral guidance on gender transition

We linked recently to reports of a meeting between three Church of England bishops and a delegation representing those who signed a petition some time ago asking the house of bishops to withdraw their guidance on using the existing Affirmation of Baptismal Faith liturgy to affirm trans people in their Christian faith after transition.

The website LGBTQ Faith UK has published a detailed critique of the most recent statement, which you can read here: Episcopally led, synodically governed.

The same website had earlier published a lengthy and detailed critique of the original petition. That can be found here: Why the bishops are right.

Both these analyses by Ann Reddecliffe  are commended for reading in full.

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David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

This is very helpful and good critical engagement. Thank you. Is there a reason why the two reports though written in the first person are not signed? I had to push long and hard before the names of those who wrote the original letter were made public. I felt it was an important principle. The group’s summary of the meeting is, as noted here, wholly from their own side and concerns. But since I am aware how widely the LLF is consulting people and groups I find their claim to have been invited to ‘join’ it rather over-blown frankly. Thank… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

The article says: “Whether that collation was someone with a pen and paper scrolling through the screens to see who had signed in their diocese or someone doing a statistical analysis of this publicly available information or something in between, collation and analysis is an inevitable result of putting large amounts of data into the public domain.” As the person who collated this information, I would just like to say that all that I did was to copy and paste the information on the website into an Excel file. The only difference from the website is that the website information… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“I must say that having reread this article and the original open letter, I am led to wonder if the complaint is more about opposition to gender transition itself than to the actual guidance from the House of Bishops.”

I am pretty sure that is the case and that a large part of the objection to the guidance is a fundamental dislike of anything which normalises or validates transition

Anne Lee
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Anne Lee

Thank you so much for pointing us to these very helpful critiques. One thing that bothers me is that they are anonymous, other than that they come from LGBTQ Faith UK. Would it be possible for the author(s) to add their name(s) to their critiques? Thank you David Runcorn for making this point so helpfully and for giving us the background to the publishing of the names of those who wrote the ‘original letter’.

Kate
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Kate

Why does anonymity bother you?

In this context there may well be LGBTI members of the church who are not out. Wanting all LGBTI contributors to be out is oppressive IMO.

Anne Lee
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Anne Lee

Kate, you make a very good point. I appreciate that some LGBTI people may not be ‘out’ and that is, of course, a major concern, because it demonstrates that the church is not a safe place for them. Which we knew, sadly, already. But anonymity bothers me because it is so easy to hide behind anonymity (cf the problems people have with anonymous ‘trolls’). Secrecy should have no place in the church and anonymity is secrecy. I realise that it is a dilemma, but is there not somebody behind LGBTQ Faith UK who is not able to put their name… Read more »

Ann Reddecliffe
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Anne and Kate, I take your points. I have edited the post and added my name to it. It is my website. When I first set up the website a few months ago, it just never occurred to me to put my own name to it, I was more concerned with domain names etc. I never imagined the number of people who would be reading my work. Anonymity from a position of power or that is used to hide abuse, like anonymous trolling, is wrong. Anonymity to protect someone who is vulnerable and whose voice might not otherwise be heard… Read more »

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Ann Thank you for your two pieces that make a really helpful response to the ongoing discussion – as well as a courteous and informed challenge to the views of ‘group’ issue here.

Anne Lee
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Anne Lee

Thank you so much Ann, both for explaining why the post was anonymous and for adding your name to it. Your openness is much appreciated.

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Kate – not sure if this is response to me? If so I am not, of course, wanting all LGBTi contributors to be out. As the two reports were written in the written person it is odd, apart from anything else to have no name. Had they not wanted to be known the more obvious tactic would be a collective comment.

Kate
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Kate

David, I was replying to Anne Lee, although the threading isn’t always clear so I should have mentioned her name, sorry

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

I like both of those articles, and broadly agree with their arguments. However, people quoting the “1.7% intersex” figure would do well to read the original paper from which that number comes. You might need a university or library login, unfortunately. The 1.7% is hugely dominated by the 1.5% estimate for late-onset 21-hydroxylase deficiency (see Table 8) and the authors admit that it is unclear where the estimate came from (“We could not locate articles confirming the reported frequencies of Speiser et al. (1985). Thus, while we use this estimate in the final calculation of nondimorphism, future reports may contain… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer
Kate
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Kate

Very interesting paper, thank you, but you seem to suggest that 1.7% is an upper bound although the paper only covers chromosomal deviations. Several studies have shown that a significant number of those assigned male at birth but who have female gender confirmation surgery actually have many attributes of a female brain. That is, while the cause of transvestism is unknown, there is growing evidence that transsexuals are part of the intersex spectrum rather than the trans spectrum they are often (probably erroneously) lumped into. The incidence of transsexualism is, however, very unclear particularly among those assigned female at birth.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

I don’t know the truth about diethylstilbestrol but my mother took it after two miscarriages before I was born (I was her first-born).

Ann Reddecliffe
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Interested Observer, thank you for the link to this paper, which I have now read. Medically, I can see that it may be useful to distinguish between intersex conditions that are present from birth and those which are late onset. I also accept that the late onset percentage is higher than that from birth. Theologically however, I don’t think the distinction is important. Theologically the questions are about embodiment or what it means to be the body of Christ (see for example Susannah Cornwall’s book Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ), or questions about complementarity or about being… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

I didn’t know to ask before my mother passed but she had a stillbirth before me (probably a thalidomide baby although nobody at the time recognised the problems of thalidomide) so there is a high chance, I think, that she took DES.