Thinking Anglicans

Trans People and LLF

Christina Beardsley has written a paper with this title, which was published in Modern Believing in December 2022. Normally this publication is not available electronically without a subscription. The Liverpool University Press has kindly allowed it to be on Free Access for the calendar month of June 2023.

Trans People and LLF is available in two formats, as a web page, and as a PDF file. Here is the abstract:

Since the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) project began, gender-critical discourse has become increasingly prominent and trans people’s lives routinely debated in the British media. Gender diversity is respectfully handled in LLF‘s resources, but LLF‘s Next Steps Group (NSG) has proposed a working party on ‘gender identity and transition’ to consider current ‘societal debates’. This problematising of trans people conflicts with LLF‘s premise that ‘no person is a problem, or an issue’. The NSG’s proposed bibliography, setting gender-critical texts and gender-affirming texts side-by-side, could also undermine the Church of England’s trans-affirming policies and pastoral practice. As an alternative I offer a theological critique of three gender-critical texts contrasting them with a generous, tradition-sourced Christian anthropology.

In relation to this, readers may find it useful to see a letter, also written by Christina, to the Bishop of London in July 2021, which was originally published at Unadulterated Love. This letter sets out in detail the Church of England’s then current policy and practice in relation to trans people, and begins this way:

I understand, from the recent minutes of the May meeting of the House of Bishops that the House ‘agreed in principle to the formation of a working group on gender identity and transition under the auspices of the LLF Next Steps Group, details of which will be announced in due course.’

As I explained in my letter of May 21st 2021 my own view is that to convene such a working party suggests that trans people are a problem for the Church of England or that there is some uncertainty about their status as members of the Body of Christ.

Given the Church of England’s policy and practice in relation to trans people, I see no such problem or uncertainty. Here is my understanding of the current position of the Church of England regarding trans people…

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Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
10 months ago

Many thanks for this article from, Modern Believing. Christina Beardsley’s work is new to me. I am familiar with the American theologian Fr. Daniel Horan from National Catholic Reporter. Excellent integration of this aspect of one line of Catholic thought into Beardsley’s article. I’m not familiar with the LLF process; but I have found some of the theological reflection made available on TA very helpful.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo
10 months ago

I would implore anyone who reads Christina Beardsley’s article not to take for granted what she calls “the gender-affirming evidence-based good practice recommended by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH 2022)”. WPATH’s latest guidelines are absolutely unhinged, the work of activists. People should read them at least before taking a stand in the trans debate. They go so far as trying to validate ‘eunuch’ identities, and the transitioning of infants. Our own NHS, in the Cass review, is moving away from their blanket affirming approach. France, Sweden, and Norway’s health services have all discontinued the use of puberty… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Lorenzo
10 months ago

To your point, there are serious concerns within the medical community about the increase in requests for gender transitions especially from teen age girls. I’ve attached a link to an article published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute: Gender Dysphoria in Children: Risking Harm from Well intentioned Parents and Doctors. “Dr. Bowers [ who is herself transgender] and transgender psychologist Erica Anderson are distressed and sound an important alarm. They are concerned that children are, on the basis of little or no clinically-proven evidence, being subjected to immediately harmful, complicated, and often irreversible medical and surgical interventions.”  Beardsley writes, “Imagine telling J.K.… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Lorenzo
10 months ago

Perhaps you could quote what you consider “unhinged”? And rather than make people wade through a lake of bad-faith transphobic nonsense to find the one genuine problem you might want to highlight what care you consider “barbaric”.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

Unhinged? Have a look at their 8th chapter, alleging that certain people are born with a ‘eunuch’ identity that should be affirmed. Or that ‘trans’ children’s puberty should be prevented. Gender dysphoria resolves itself in a majority of teens if allowed to experience puberty, whereas if they are put on blockers (that is to say chemically castrated) about 98% move on to cross sex hormones and surgeries which, I maintain, are barbaric. The deleterious effects of blocking puberty and injecting cross sex hormones are well documented.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Lorenzo
10 months ago

Quite the reverse. Rather than barbaric it was incredibly compassionate. The real problem has been the lack of proper funding. That’s somewhat common across the NHS but especially true in the case of gender identity healthcare. With proper funding patients could see doctors as often as necessary. This is reflected in the Cass review which is replacing GIDS with MORE gender clinics. In general affirming care reduces suicidality by 76%. And definitely don’t rely on Hannah Barnes’ book – or even Cass. Rely on the latest academic research. Cornell University has put together a helpful list. And WPATH remains the… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
Reply to  Lorenzo
10 months ago

No. Please don’t take anything I say for granted! But I think it’s unfair to describe the WPATH Standards of Care (SOC) as ‘unhinged, the work of trans activists’. It’s quite usual in healthcare for representatives of a client group to be involved in improving patient pathways. The only reference I can find to infants in the SOC is about surgeries on infants with differences of sex development, which as the text explains is very different from gender incongruence, but if there is another reference please let me know. Katy Hayes, whose teenage daughter was treated at the Tavistock reviews… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
10 months ago

I understand trans issues are contentious in contemporary debate, but I’m sorry to see on this website the misleading response from “Lorenzo” to Christina’s article.  . Lorenzo’s description of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health guidelines as “unhinged’ and “the work of activists” is deeply inaccurate. Appendix A of the WPATH guidance (available online) sets out the careful methodology involved in the production of the guidance, with the involvement of an extremely large, international and multi-disciplinary team with high levels of academic and clinical expertise in the field; the bibliography at the end references over 1500 peer-reviewed articles presenting… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Charles Clapham
Lorenzo
Lorenzo
Reply to  Charles Clapham
10 months ago

By all means, read the latest WPATH guidelines and make up your own mind. They are indeed online and this was the gist of my reply. My full name is Manuel Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal, I do not mind being public about this at all

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Charles Clapham
10 months ago

I am not going to comment on the trans issue.

I do however want to appeal to the moderators to ignore your attempt to control what can and cannot be said on this site and to impose your view on anonymity.

This is the only moderated site I have encountered which is run by people who are genuinely committed to free speech. And I say that as a conservative whose comments are moderated by people who are certainly not conservatives.

This is a really valuable public forum. Please continue to safeguard free speech.

Last edited 10 months ago by Peter
Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
10 months ago

I hesitate to enter this debate as online discussions of these matters often end unhappily. However, I do wonder why Christina Beardsley seems to think it a problem that the NSG’s proposed bibliography sets “gender-critical texts” and “gender-affirming texts” side-by-side. How does she expect any meeting of minds or exploration of issues to take place if only one perspective is aired? I also wonder if she would welcome a theological critique of “gender-affirming” texts in response to her contribution. Whilst Chrisina Beardsley is more eirenic in tone than many trans activists, I suspect that she shares the approach of many… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Fr Dexter Bracey
Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
10 months ago

My difficulty with setting gender critical and gender affirming texts side-by-side is that it suggests that they’re equivalent whereas the former – like the three texts I discuss in the article – are usually opinion pieces that ignore the considerable evidence-based practice highlighted by Charles in his comment. Furthermore, the gender critical position would undermine the Church of England’s own policy and practice in this area, summarised above in my letter to the Bishop of London, a key element being the July 2017 General Synod debate on welcoming and affirming trans people, which was passed by a significant majority in… Read more »

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Christina Beardsley
10 months ago

Christina, I totally understand and sympathise with where you’re coming from. The Church of England did make remarkable strides towards welcoming and affirming transgender people – all the more remarkable when one thinks of its struggles and battles with other aspects of human sexuality. It would be a tragedy if any of that is now undone. Your timeline of the development of policy and practice in your 2021 letter to the bishop of London sets out the steps by which this was achieved. I was a member of General Synod at the time of the 2017 debate and I voted… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 months ago

Odd, isn’t it that when it comes to same sex marriage we hear that the church has made up it’s mind and that shouldn’t be questioned, and changes in social attitudes are irrelevant, but when it comes to trans people the refrain is, I” don’t believe it’s helpful to say that the Church has made up its mind and there is nothing further to discuss. It’s all too obvious that the picture has changed radically and is still changing and unless the Church is to be off the pace of the wider society yet again, it will have to keep… Read more »

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

Kate, by ‘keep up and play its part’ I mean that the church has to address the questions society is actually asking and the context in which they are being asked – not that we have to fall in with society’s views. I do think society has travelled some distance on the subject of transgender inclusion since the Synod debate in 2017 and new questions have arisen that the church has not yet responded to. And if anyone says that the church ‘shouldn’t be questioned’ about same sex marriage I can only say ‘good luck with that!’ The questioning will… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 months ago

Jane, I think I’m with you to a degree on this (and I thank you for your underlying goodwill and support for trans women and men). As John Scrivener has suggested (below) I think problems for trans people have been accentuated by a degree of ‘overreach’. I do not accept the fundamentalist (and I suspect ideologically-driven) argument of conservative Christians and some feminists, that you are only a woman if you are born with female genitalia. I find that deeply reductionist (and in a way populist as it plays on a simplistic one-liner) and consider the complex interplay of gender… Read more »

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Susannah, I think you are right that unregulated self ID and the premature attempt to introduce it has been one of the rocks on which transgender inclusion has temporarily foundered. It might go a long way towards unlocking the problem if we could distinguish between ‘self ID’ (how someone understands, experiences and expresses their own personhood which they have every right to do) and ‘social ID’ which is somewhat differently constructed and in fact places at least some constraints on all of us that we have to live within. I tend to think that focusing on behaviours rather than beliefs… Read more »

John Scrivener
John Scrivener
Reply to  Christina Beardsley
10 months ago

‘the date of that [General Synod] debate is significant’. I agree. The date of that debate was July 9 2017. It was on the 23rd of that month that the Guardian reported the then government’s plans to ‘streamline the process of changing gender’. The headline was: ‘Gender reassignment could be streamlined under proposal: the equalities minister, Justine Greening, proposes removing need for medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria’. It was the prospect of ‘gender self ID’ that provoked the ‘gender critical’ reaction of, for example, Kathleen Stock, J.K.Rowling and Helen Joyce and set debate on these matters on a new course.… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
10 months ago

Because a lot of gender critical material is misinformation according to the United Nations and fuels hate against trans people

https://sex-matters.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/eom-statement-UK-IE-SOGI-2023-05-10.pdf

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
10 months ago

My criticism of so much of the discourse around trans issues today is that we use a very limited cultural lens, looking only western, Christian influenced experiences and knowledge from the last one hundred years or so. For as long as we have this limited world view we will handicap our debate. If we could widen our lens to look at other cultures we might learn something useful, and in particular learn that behaviours and social constructs which appear similar to what we today label trans have existed widely across cultures and across history. People occupying such roles have often… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
10 months ago

Continued from previous Wilfred Thesiger’s Marsh Arabs, continued “Previously, while staying with Hamud, Majid’s brother, I was sitting in the diwaniya when a stout middle-age woman shuffled in, enveloped in the usual black draperies, and ask for treatment. She had a striking, rather masculine face, and lifting her skirt exposed a perfectly normal full-sized male organ. “Will you cut this off and turn me into a proper woman?” He pleaded. I had to confess that the operation was beyond me. When he had left, Amara asked compassionately, “could they not do it for him in Basra? Except for that, he… Read more »

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

Thank you, Simon, for reminding us that transgenderism is not a new or a Western phenomenon. In every time and place, so far as we know, there have been a small number of people who have wished, for whatever reason, to live as members of the other sex. In very many cases, as you’ve noted, they have simply been quietly included and I think that was largely the case in this country too until comparatively recently. Christina has identified ‘five years ago’ as the turning point and that fits with what I’m observing too. What has changed? I’m inclined to… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 months ago

Jane, thank you for your comments. It is an interesting question why we have gone from quiet compassionate acceptance to culture war. We cannot understand that without including discussion of the role of right-wing press, politicians, and social media click bait seekers. You are right that some on the pro-trans side have made strong and radical demands, but such demands should not be a problem within calm rational debate. I would argue that the problem here is that the demands of this radical minority fringe have become toxically amplified and weaponised by right wing culture warriors using this debate to… Read more »

John Scrivener
John Scrivener
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

If I may say so, I think you are misreading what has happened. If the reaction to self-ID and the ‘radical demands’ of trans activists had only involved ‘right wing culture warriors’ it would have got less traction. It was the fact that those criticising and opposing the demands were women, most of them politically on the left and a number of them lesbians, that made the pushback effective in a way it would not have been had it only involved the usual suspects. This in turn led to a wider public becoming aware of how extreme the ‘radical demands’… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

Simon, such an awesome post. It’s just how some people are – all over the world. And in desperate need of kindness and respect. As churches, we need to develop and maintain an intelligent, educated, informed understanding of the realities of trans people’s lives, in the same way that gay and lesbian and bi people should be understood and accepted too. You do post some wonderful comments. Voice of sanity and kindness.

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

I come at this from the lived experience of a trans woman, first referred to clinicians in 1993, after a life ravaged by gender dysphoria and self-harm since childhood. Gender transition transformed my life, ended decades of self-harm, allowed me to just be myself, and empowered me – after gender surgery and a 10 week period of being looked after by Anglican nuns, I re-trained as a nurse, and my life became flourishing, deeply happy, and spiritually I came alive. I would like to stress that 1. Gender transition is endorsed by medical authorities in countless organisations around the world.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Trans people: pastoral issues. 1.Trans people in early transition may come to your church in desperate need, distress, loneliness, near-suicide, victims of street abuse. They need to encounter love and practical support, not abstract theology. 2.Their sense of self-identity is badly wounded by rude rejection of their name, their pronouns, their dress. Treat them with careful and protective respect, whatever your views. 3.Toilets. Gee. Culture warriors really like to politicise them. If a trans person at your church needs to pee, don’t expect them to use the loos of the gender they don’t idenify as. They – just – need… Read more »

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Trans people: pastoral issues (contd). 10.Trans people who appear at your church, or have been in your church for years and are transitioning… are quite likely to have FAMILIES who may also attend your church. A trans person’s partner or children may very well also have acute pastoral needs (though not necessarily). So it can get complex. The church has responsibilities for the family, and not only the trans person. There may be deep domestic distress. How do you avoid taking sides? How do you support? 11.What about letting trans people be priests? LLMs? Youth leaders? People up front who… Read more »

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Trans people: pastoral issues (concluding). 14.’What about trans people in sport?’ …At the top level of competitive and international sport, I’d concede that trans women develop a certain amount of bodily framework strength before transition, and I personally feel at that top level that it should be reserved for those born with female genitalia, even though that’s really hard on trans women, and even though I have argued strongly that trans women are women. Having said that – and this is where things may apply to a church too – I do believe that trans women should be allowed to… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
10 months ago

It’s great to see people engaging with this subject on TA as so often items about trans people have been passed over with little comment. But not this time! As I write some points I planned to comment on have already been addressed, and I won’t repeat them.  As Simon notes, gender diverse people have always been there and – thank you Jane and others for supporting the Blackburn Motion in 2017 – gender critical opinions are not new, were expressed in the General Synod debate, and their contemporary secular manifestations (as I note in the article) resemble conservative theological… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
10 months ago

Many of us predicted that UK ‘independence’ from the EU would be catastrophic for trans people and if we think things are bad here, it is far worse in the US. There the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies have consistently spoken out against bathroom bills and other draconian measures that discriminate against trans people and my hope would be that our Archbishops and bishops would do the same in what many of you acknowledge is an increasingly toxic context. The Church of England’s affirming policy and practice towards gender diverse people has been developed on a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Christina Beardsley
10 months ago

Christina (and responding to a point Jane Charman made)… I think a big problem for trans people is that critics have grown emboldened who are not only against self-ID but who don’t believe in gender transition itself. The bottom-line parody of some of that critique is the claim that trans women are blokes who are “acting out” stereotypes of women, and pretending to be women, but can never actually be woman on the terms the critics set: biological female genitals at birth. These critics include some politicians (mostly trying to cash in on votes for being ‘anti-woke’ in a manufactured… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Susannah, your comments, as often, are both irenic and experience driven, and therefore helpful. It is imperative that people be supported in who they know themselves to be. With regard to the development of public policy, I find it helpful when the perspective of bio-ethics is brought to the table. It facilitates weighing harms and benefits based on empirical evidence. However, there are often further questions about both competing harms and competing benefits–and that is even before we get into religious or activist considerations. The mantra ‘following the science’ has merit if that means considering evidence based policy making. However,… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

You are overlooking one dynamic. Transness is completely normalised in most schools. In 5 or 10 years, those who are now children will be voting adults. If the situation in schools continues, that cohort will continue to grow. In 20 years many of them will be MPs and councillors.

Now is the last chance for those who are anti-trans to try to stop the tide of complete acceptance.

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Hi Susannah, I really appreciate the work you do in this area, not least your dialogue with the conservative Christian minister and its focus on pastoral matters that arise in parish communities. It does sound, though, as if you’re buying into the media misrepresentation of gender recognition reform. Self ID is about paperwork not access to spaces: we don’t need to produce a birth certificate to go to the toilet or enter a retail changing room and I hope we never will! Access to single sex spaces is governed by the Equality Act which already includes provisions to cover precisely… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

I cannot agree Susannah. In general I dislike “slippery slope” arguments, but I believe that to give way on self ID is the beginning of a very slippery slope. There are real problems in what you propose, both administratively and in fundamental principle. As Christina has pointed out, the right to self ID is a fundamental human right, whether it is saying “I regard myself as a woman” or “I regard myself as a Christian”. It may seem that in the current toxic debate there may be rational arguments for giving way on this, and for giving someone else the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

Simon, I also believe that the right to self-ID is a fundamental human right. Anyone should have the right to identify as a Christian, or a vegan, or a socialist, or a writer… and so on. However, that does not give a person an automatic right of access to other people’s social spaces. Being trans within a society is not just about me, me, me. Access to social spaces is by social agreement, and that can become political, and in some senses needs to, to protect people from arbitrary discrimination. Some kinds of social acceptance and contract are always needed.… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

“Access to social spaces is by social agreement”

Withholding of social agreement is the basis of segregation. We have seen it countless times.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

Dear Kate, That’s a scary soundbite, but things are much more complex. Different organisations and groups hold a range of views on access to women’s spaces, if that access is to be claimed on the basis of “because I say so”. I spent 6 months worshipping at East London mosque, where female modesty is highly respected, and where segregation in worship is fundamental. If I’d just gone there and demanded access to the sisters’ meetings “because I say so” I would never have had that privilege. But I had a meeting with the imam, showed him all my credentials, and… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Recognising that you are highly knowledgeable and draw on lived experience with this, do you think the attitude of trans women who have medically and/or surgically transitioned has an element of gatekeeping to it (a sort of “well I went to all this effort and expense and others should have to prove themselves the same way” attitude)? And is there also an element of privilege talking, in the sense that those women who have medically/surgically transitioned are by definition those who had access (either by luck or money) to sympathetic doctors and were able to medically/surgically transition? For a lot… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

Trying to respond honestly Jo, I would first of all concede these are very good questions and points which you raise. I can only answer for myself.I think anyone whose life has been racked by dysphoria (which is dreadful torment) would not wish the same on anyone else. I would certainly wish that all trans people could get the psychological, medical, surgical support to the extent they want and need it. The truth is that as more and more people have found confidence to express gender true to themselves, the NHS (admittedly under huge pressure) has failed to supply the… Read more »

Harry
Harry
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Susannah, I also appreciate your irenic tone, if not always the length of your posts. However, I believe that you have mischaracterised the gender-critical argument for protecting women’s spaces as single sex. This may not be your fault: I have yet to see the argument described honestly by one of its opponents. But when arguing it’s always better to argue against an iron man (the strongest characterisation of your opponent’s argument) rather than a straw man (the weakest), I find. It is certainly true that this issue has been horribly politicised and that there are plenty on the right who… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Harry
10 months ago

Thanks Harry. I’ll keep it short (!). I think the concerns of all women are that their spaces and safety may be jeopardised more easily, under cover of claimed self-id rights. The more extreme branding of trans people as generically perverts is massaged by the media, and insinuated by some feminist and religious extremists. The concerns I have are that the general public start to buy the mantra that trans women (and trans guys) are essentially fake. But I think everything needs to start from guaranteeing the safety of women. Trans women are of course some of the least safe… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Harry
10 months ago

The case in Scotland highlighted what is already the case – that prisoners are subject to risk assessments (both of their own and others’ safety) before being put in the general prison population. There are cis women who are a danger to others, just as much as there are (people who claim to be) trans women. Women’s space should be allowed, nay encouraged, to take seriously the risk of harm from particular individuals. I’m not at all convinced that it should extend to allowing a blanket exclusion of trans women, not least because that exclusion and the gatekeeping that surrounds… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

Jo, as a former prison governor myself (in the distant past) I agree that the challenge should not be generically just trans people, but every inmate who enters through the gatehouse. And yes, as with the whole toilets issue, there are cis-women too who may be predatory, or gender non-conforming, or lesbian paedophilic and so on… so I don’t want blanket bans of trans women either. A woman belongs in a women’s prison, and when a women needs to pee, it’s obvious that female bogs are the place to go (and get out of, asap, because who wants to hang… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Harry
10 months ago

That’s the old argument that because one black man was a hoodlum one has to assume they all are to protect good white folk. That was a racist argument then, and with race and gender reassignment swapped mutatis mutandis it’s a transphobic argument now as you present it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Kate
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

I think Harry’s comment wasn’t against trans people, but against men who might exploit the Self-ID principle as a means of access to spaces where women should feel safe?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

But he is using the one bad apple argument to justify the exclusion of an entire class of people. Fundamentally that is always wrong.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Susannah, I acknowledge your great personal experience here, and so if you are arguing in favour of something then I need to take your concerns seriously. But my one concern is to bear in mind who one is negotiating or arguing with. A sensible concession agreed with reasonable people might well resolve a problem. But a sensible concession offered to culture warriors will be seen as a sign of weakness, and they will come back demanding more and more, and never be satisfied. There are certain cases where it is important to stand on principle, and be very careful about… Read more »

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

Simon, the right you seem to be contending for here is not self ID, which Susannah has said she strongly supports and I do too, but the right not to have to produce evidence of ID. That’s not a human right, or a civil right, or a right that is available to any other group of people that I can think of. While there are some sturdy libertarians who resist carrying any form of ID, the vast majority of people see this as a practical necessity, not an affront or an injustice. Our rights are established in law, they are… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 months ago

It’s important to set a geographic context on remarks such as yours. In Scotland self-ID was passed with overwhelming cross-party support and is now being blocked by an English minister – possibly unlawfully. It is likely that Wales would follow Scotland. Northern Ireland is complex and traditionally has been even more conservative than England but is moving towards a more progressive position of self-ID as in the Republic of Ireland. So really self-ID is only problematic in England and I think it is right to ask why England should be an exception. Even in England self-ID exists and is here… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

A British minister, actually; a minister of the United Kingdom government. A subtle distinction (even if you think it a distinction without a difference).

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 months ago

“Simon, the right you seem to be contending for here is not self ID, which Susannah has said she strongly supports and I do too, but the right not to have to produce evidence of ID.”

But need a request (or demand) to produce ID include the production of identification of gender? In the US, it is not uncommon among cross-dressers and transgenders who “live” in both genders to have two different forms of ID, one for their male self and one for their female identity.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 months ago

Thanks Jane. I understand fully the logic of what you are saying, and what Susannah is saying also. But there are different attitudes to how one approaches these issues. And that is how these things work, and have always worked. If one looks at the history of, for example, Harry Hay and the Mattachine society in 1960s USA, or the tensions between Stonewall and Outrage in 1980s/90s UK, there is always a tension between those who want to be reasonable and negotiate and find a balance, and those who say that the opposing forces will never be reasonable, so we… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

“the way forward is found in the creative tension between both points of view…” Such a good point. The evangelical minister and myself found a creative tension as well, and some times when different minds engage, the end sum can be greater than the parts. Respectful discourse is much needed. The Church faces real pastoral needs and challenges over the growing number of trans people (not to mention the gifts they might bring to the Church). It is rare that a post here on trans issues gets so many contributions (sometimes it has just been 2 or 3 comments, making… Read more »

Susannah Clark
10 months ago

Three other short notes: Much of the discourse tends to focus on trans women (I write from that experience). Trans guys, of course, have their own significant challenges too. While I believe further (and ongoing) work needs to be done over trans people and the Church of England, it’s been two years since a working group was mooted (and then promised) to address this area of the LLF programme. To the best of my knowledge, that working group has STILL not been created or commenced. It’s as if the gay marriage issue has kicked the trans issues into the long… Read more »

Richard
Richard
10 months ago

For a look at the ACNA take on trans issues, have a look at the Pastoral Address by Bishop Julian Dobbs to his ACNA Diocese of the Living Word. The rant starts on page 3 with the paragraph beginning “Look with me….”

https://www.scribd.com/document/648573976/Pastoral-Address-Public-2023#from_embed

This is the view of “orthodox” Anglicans in America.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Richard
10 months ago

Just more of the same from people who believe the best way to read the bible is to understand it as ghostwritten by God (pun intended). To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, moralizing is often a substitute for understanding science and technology. The 1st reading here for Trinity Sunday was from the Genesis creation narrative. I thought, whatever this contributes to our understanding of a longing for transcendence, as story it describes only what exists in religious imagination. It is not isomorphic, or verisimilitudinous even, with physical reality as we know it from modern insight. But then to point that out is… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Rod Gillis
10 months ago

Their belief is that God “told” the evangelists, Paul and others what to write, word by word. Subsequent translations of the Bible over the centuries have also been dictated by God, except of course the translations they do not like. Special emphasis is on the fact that God didn’t tell any women what to write.

Danielle
Danielle
3 months ago

I’m a 40 year old woman who has been around church to a greater or lesser degree since childhood. In the past two years I’ve begun to take my faith seriously again and have thrown myself into church involvement and am on all the rotas, serving and reading and helping with the refreshments and trying to get to know as many of my brothers and sisters in Christ as I can. I pray and read scripture each day and I love Jesus. I am an Anglican of Catholic persuasion, love the traditions and liturgy of the church, and hope to… Read more »

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