Church of England votes to ‘welcome and affirm’ trans people

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: Members of the transgender community and their supporters rally for transgender equality on Capitol Hill, June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Capital Pride Parade and the Equality March for Unity and Pride are both scheduled to take place in Washington this weekend. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Church of England has voted to “welcome and affirm” transgender people in their parish churches.

The motion to move towards greater acceptance of trans people was voted on at the General Synod over the weekend.

Church of England votes to ‘welcome and affirm’ trans people

It was presented by Reverend Chris Newlands who said that the church should act as a welcoming place for trans people during the “long and often complex process of transition”.

Along with the motion to increase acceptance, Newlands insisted that guidance should be distributed throughout the church on how best to provide service for trans people.

Newlands said at the meeting: “I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives.”

He said to Press Association: “I’m euphoric and exhausted. I think it was a good debate with some excellent contributions.

“I did think there were some comments which reflect some of the extreme views which we would wish to counter.

He added that the vote was a move in the right direction.

“I’m getting so many messages from trans friends around the world. Synod has changed – we have turned a corner.

“Since the February decision on sexuality, bishops have realised they cannot continue to do what they have always done.”

During the General Synod, C of E members also voted for a ban on unethical “gay cure” therapy.

During a private member’s motion (PMM) the General Synod overwhelmingly backed a motion for a ban on the unethical practice.

The PMM said because “gay cure” therapy is seen as “harmful” by professionals, and those who largely force the practice are not professionals, it should not be permitted in the church.

“Given that many practitioners are non-medically trained religious leaders, it is imperative that the Church of England is unequivocal in its condemnation of such harmful practices,” they said in a statement.

Jayne Ozanne, the LGBT campaigner who presented the motion, said that “gay cure therapy” should have “no place in the modern world”.

Ozanne had been subject to “gay cure therapy” herself in the past.

She said to the Press Association: “I call it abuse. I believe it is spiritual abuse.

“It (sexual orientation) is a very delicate area that only true professionals should be dealing with. And they won’t try to change people’s sexual orientation, they will help them try to deal with it.

“What people don’t understand is that you can enter into this sort of practice willingly because you think it is the right thing to do because you have been told it is what God wants.

“It is only years later that the impact becomes apparent.”