This church is taking major steps to be LGBT inclusive.
The Church of England has issued new guidelines for its schools addressing how teachers should support children who are gender nonconforming or exploring their gender identity in order to reduce bullying.
The guidelines, titled “Valuing All God’s Children,” says students should be able to “play with the many cloaks of identity,” which may mean a child of any gender can choose a “tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.”
A previous version of the guidelines, published in 2014, primarily focused on addressing bullying against the LGBT community as a whole, with little focus on the needs of trans students.
The updated policy prominently addresses trans students and says schools in the Church of England must not discriminate against a pupil because they are trans. This may include inflexible uniform policies and the use of transphobic language. The guidelines stress that trans students may need extra support in making changes to bathroom facilities, their name and gender pronouns.
The move, ahead of Anti-Bullying Week in the United Kingdom, looks to diminish anti-LGBT bullying in Anglican schools. Archbishop Justin Welby, of Canterbury, wrote in the forward that bullying against gay, trans and bi children causes damage that leads to mental health disorders, self-harm and suicide.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, leads the Church of England in including LGBT and specifically trans-inclusive language and guidelines to their schools.
“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and the celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion,” Welby wrote.
In a blog post by the Church, Nigel Genders, the Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, wrote that “children should be free to explore and play without adults making assumptions about them or being bullied by others.”
There are about 5,000 schools in the Church of England educating about one million children.