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Church of England bishop wants gender ‘affirmation’ services for trans people

Nick Duffy February 4, 2016
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A Church of England bishop has called for ‘affirmation’ services for people who have changed gender.

The New Chapel (Unitarian and Free Christian) in Greater Manchester recently enacted changes to allow trans people to get baptised again after changing their gender.

According to the Telegraph, Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson said it could be possible for the Church of England to introduce something similar, as he launched church group LGBTI Mission.

He said: “I’m not into ‘rebaptising’ – as an Anglican I think you are baptised once – but I think if people change gender that should be acknowledged and affirmed.

“If Bob is now Carol the person you are talking to is now Carol not Bob.

“In terms of how you mark a transition and what is the right way to do it I think it is an emerging area.

“We just have to provide a liturgy which is truthful and personal and sensitive.”

He also called for the church to actually take action to end its divisive anti-LGBT record, rather than simply apologising for it.

The Bishop, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, said: “Lots of people are going around saying sorry, it’s great fun saying sorry – but what has actually changed?

“The LGBTI Anglicans say we can’t carry on as we have done – you can’t say ‘can we carry on having blacks-only beaches’ if you say you want to dismantle apartheid.

“Repentance is about change of mind and renewal.

“There is plenty of evidence of a change of mind, there is a genuine wanting to move on but if you want to move on you have to go somewhere different to where you are now.”

“In a lot of this I don’t think the Church has to change its doctrine of marriage – it just has to apply it to same-sex couples.”

Simon Sarmiento of the LGBTI Mission said: “Now is the time for the Church of England to practise what it preaches and show love towards its LGBTI neighbours.

“We’ve seen the Church make huge strides towards equality in recent years, most notably through the 2014 legislation enabling women to become bishops, and it’s now essential that LGBTI equality is similarly cemented in our institution.

“We know that this is what most people in the Church of England want.

“We believe that each of the asks we’ve outlined is achievable and, frankly, essential.”

Church of England bishop wants gender ‘affirmation’ services for trans people
The Church has come under fire on LGBT issues a number of times in recent months.

Church leaders recently used an exemption from the Equality Act to sack a gay chaplain who married his partner, while Archbishop Justin Welby presided over the global Anglican Communion last month as it ‘punished’ the US Episcopal Church for embracing gay weddings.

More: Alan Wilson, bishop, Bishop of Buckingham, Church of England, England, Gay, LGBT

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