The Church of England has said it backs making it easier for people to ‘self-identify’ as a gender to make society more “welcoming” and “affirming of transgender people”.
While the Church has not given an official response to the government’s consultation on whether processes should be made simpler for transgenders to gain a gender recognition certificate, a representative for the seat of the worldwide Anglican communion said that people who want to legally change their gender should not face “excessive bureaucracy”.
“Trans people with gender recognition are already able to marry in our churches. Being transgender does not prevent someone offering themselves for ordained ministry and we have transgender clergy as well as laity,” Reverand Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church of England’s director of mission and public affairs, told The Times.
“We can say with some confidence that excessive bureaucracy in the process of gaining a gender recognition certificate is neither welcoming nor affirming of transgender people in relation to the structures of the law and society at large, but we do not have a settled view in the Church of England about precisely which aspects of the legal process are necessary,” Rev Dr Brown added.
The Church’s position on gender and sexuality is the subject of an internal consultation, which will not be complete until 2020. Its social progressivism is apparent, however, after last November it advised its schools to allow pupils, including those as young as four, to “explore the possibilities” of their “gender identity” through play.
This year, the Church backed the use of a ‘reaffirmation’ service to mark a congregant’s transition from one gender to another — with a left-wing figure in the General Synod complaining that that was not enough and a new service should be written, saying that changing gender should be marked in the same fashion as births, deaths, and marriages.
The government’s consultation period, where it collected testimonies for four months, closed last week with LGBT pressure group Stonewall hoping that the notionally ‘conservative’ government will reform the Gender Recognition Act to not only drop a medical diagnosis for the transgendered to legally change gender, but open self-identification up to minors of the age of 16 and 17, and to recognise “non-binary” (neither male nor female) “identities”.
Before consultation closed, UKIP Member of the London Assembly David Kurten criticised proposals to allow self-certification, days after a male convict who claimed to identify as a woman to gain access to vulnerable women in a female prison was sentenced for sexually assaulting two female inmates and the prior rapes of two other women.
Mr Kurten condemned the “aggressive promotion of transgenderism” which allowed men into women’s and children’s spaces, and accused transgender activists of “target[ing] primary school children for gender confusion, interfering with their normal development as boys and girls” resulting an “epidemic of mental illness in children, who then go on to receive very expensive puberty-blocking hormones, cross-sex hormones and surgery rendering them sterile”.
“There is no difference between sex and gender, and sex is determined by anatomy and chromosomes. For the government to dissolve this natural self-evident truth and attempt to write it into British law is insanity,” he added in a statement.