The Church of England has released new guidelines encouraging parents and teachers to allow children to explore their gender identities free from pressure, reports Isla Russell
The Church of England has released new advice to their 5k schools with the message that children should be free to explore their identities without facing pressure to conform to one particular role. This unexpected update to the Church’s guidelines on matters of sexual identity is the first in three years, and adds biphobic and transphobic bullying to the list of behaviours it seeks to discourage.
The updated guidance has been released to coincide with Anti-bullying week (13th to 19th November) and marks the intensifying of an increasingly liberal trend for the church. The consensus is that children should be able to explore their identities by being creative whether that’s through wearing a tiara and tutu or a superhero’s cape. Their gender should not restrict them in the limits of their exploration.
Despite traditional Anglican beliefs that marriage is symbolised by the joining of a man and woman, the Church of England has accepted civil partnerships and gay marriages since 2002. However, sexuality and the question of gender has been a controversial topic within the church and its followers. As such their new guidance has been met with very mixed views. Andrea Minichiello Williams, an evangelical member of the Church of England’s parliament accused the church of pursuing “an agenda that runs counter to the church’s teaching”, and Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan has dismissed gender non-conformity as “a fad”.
Although the Church of England’s new advice has caused controversy there is hope that this will be a step forward towards acceptance for LGBT communities within the Christian church, as well as within other religions. Letting children explore their gender at an early age is believed to be linked to lower rates of mental malady and a higher acceptance of gender fluid individuals in wider society.