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.
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…