Church of England supports trans students
November 13, 2017 5:38 PM   Subscribe

"In a directive called “Valuing All God’s Children,” the Church [of England] said elementary school students 'should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision'...'All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide,' Archbishop Welby wrote, 'This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.'." SLNYT
posted by Grandysaur (13 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
[this is good.]
posted by nickmark at 5:42 PM on November 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

Someone ought to tell the Archbishop of Sydney.
posted by prismatic7 at 6:01 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ah, this post is warming the heart of this grumpy, queer atheist.
posted by SansPoint at 6:03 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Someone ought to tell most of so called Christian America.
posted by adamvasco at 6:04 PM on November 13, 2017 [8 favorites]

Biphobia is mentioned! Yes!! :fist-pump:

A glimmer of light in this dim age. Thank you for sharing.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:42 PM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

This is more or less how I got a unanimous vote on my local school board -- including 3 Republicans and 2 black-church Democrats (and two white Democrats, incl me; I was a progressive Democrat and the other was a union Democrat) -- to give trans students rights to use the name and bathroom they chose and to be protected from bullying and harassment. At least two of the people who voted for my policy didn't actually "believe in" trans identity as a thing, they thought people were just "confused," but I convinced them that our job was to protect children and give them space to grow and come to know themselves, and that students who identified as trans had a higher rate of suicide and we owed them a safe place to be themselves -- or be confused, if confused they were -- so we could get them to adulthood where they could make adult decisions, and that our job was not to tell them their identities or decisions were temporary or wrong, but to protect them and to provide them a safe place to grow to adulthood, where they could sort that out. Even a super-conservative (later Trump-voting) Republican was convinced by that.

We were the first district in the state to provide protection for trans students, which I consider a major achievement since we were a downstate district and had significant culturally conservative opposition (not just Republicans, but Democrats in the area are about equally drawn from "ethnic union Democrats" who don't share urban Democrats cultural progressivism but are like 60-year-old Irish Catholic plumbers and stuff; black-church Democrats who are very conservative on sexual issues, including marriage equality; and progressive Democrats), but I talked and talked and talked for basically two solid years -- to Republicans, to pastors, to bathroom-panicking parents, to an utterly endless string of lawyers -- and enough of them got on board that we passed it unanimously, and without controversy.

Now I live in a much more progressive area (since we moved in August) and my kids' school district is bringing protections for trans students up for a vote. I was like, "Oh, I should contact them and see if my experience is any help," so I looked up the policy they're trying to pass and they lifted the whole thing from my old district and from the policy I wrote and I was like, "Never mind, my work here is done."

Anyway. Protecting children is the thin end of the wedge. Even people SO HORRIFYING they'll vote for Trump can get on board with giving children space and time to discover themselves, and protection from harassment while they do. And I have great confidence once we normalize trans students in schools, we'll have an entire generation of children who are like "WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM, PEOPLE JUST WANT TO BE THEMSELVES AND PEE IN PEACE!" My kids are already "Most guys with penises are boys, but some guys with penises are girls," which is not a thing I deliberately taught them, it's just a thing they picked up from it being normal at school. (Like I figured it'd be a thing I sat down and deliberately taught them at some point, but they're already on board, I am obsolete!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:00 PM on November 13, 2017 [120 favorites]

We Episcopalians have been waiting for the mother church to catch up to us! This won’t make any of the South American or African Anglicans happy, though.
posted by Biblio at 7:23 PM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Thank you for your work, Eyebrows.
posted by greermahoney at 7:30 PM on November 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

The transphobes, and TERFs in particular, have spent the last several weeks mounting an all-out assault on the transgender community, including numerous hatemongering articles in the mainstream press as well as fostering and engaging in physical violence. Looks like the better and more progressive leaders of religious communities in England have finally had enough.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:36 PM on November 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

"Thank you for your work, Eyebrows."

It was literally just what anybody would do. All I did was talk and talk and talk and talk until I wore the opposition out; when you know you're right, and you only have to convince six other people (and their community constituencies), it is not that many people to talk at! You don't have to convince a whole country or even a whole state, just half a dozen people!

If it is up in your community, or your community doesn't have school policies protecting trans students, it is time for you to start talking. Memail me if you want pointers, but it is really mostly just talking and talking and talking, and most people who care enough to be involved in schools care a lot about what happens to children.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:15 PM on November 13, 2017 [9 favorites]

It was literally just what anybody would do.

If only it were.
posted by pompomtom at 4:34 AM on November 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

This isn't happening in a political vacuum (and isn't being reported as widely as you'd hope - no mention seen on the front page of the BBC news site for example). The weeks and weeks of TERF action and awful editorial after awful editorial here in the UK are part of the same thing as this: fundamentally, a distraction from Brexit. We're a sideshow now, effectively. How do I figure this? Well, this is all just gearing up to the government engaging in a consultation on reforming the GRA sometime in the next few months. Because, while it'll lead to a lot of column inches and airtime being filled with bitter argument, it'll fundamentally be less controversial than Brexit.

I mean, don't get me wrong, that reform is an absolutely necessary thing - the GRA is simply not fit for purpose. But as a trans EU citizen living in Britain, I am fucking pissed off about one aspect of my identity effectively being weaponised against another.

Still, good on the Church of England. Took 'em bloody long enough, but they got there in the end.
posted by Dysk at 5:06 AM on November 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

I think there's good to be seen in this directive and this article, but I must say that I have next-to-no patience left for journalism as "dispassionate presentation of facts". There are many reasons I'm not an editor at the New York Times, but probably among them is that, if this article came to me for review, I would strongly suggest changes including
  • Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the evangelical group of Christian Concern, took issue with the new rules, using a completely asinine argument that "anti-bullies are becoming the bullies".
  • Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in most parts of Britain in 2014, Anglican doctrine still forbids priests from performing or blessing those marriages in church, showing that while it may want to protect what it sees as experimentation during childhood, it thinks you should make a decision by the time you become an adult.
posted by cardioid at 10:52 AM on November 14, 2017

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