In a landmark move, the Church of England is voting on 'welcoming transgender people' during transition.
The General Synod – made up of bishops, clergy members and the laity (ordinary folk) – is currently considering a motion on the need for transgender people to be 'welcomed and affirmed in their parish church' as part of the 'long and often complex process' of transition, reports the Guardian.
The vote, which is a significant move in the Church and the LBGTQ community and was debated on Saturday, follows backing from several bishops, the Royal College of GPs and the UK Council for Psychotherapy who have called for a ban on 'unethical' conversion therapy for gay Christians.
While stating his view on the subject, Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu reportedly said during the debate: 'The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night.'
The move to provide better services for transgender individuals was brought to the table by Reverend Chris Newlands of Blackburn, who is a campaigner for LGBTQ rights within the Church.
And while the Church's 'fundamental belief' is that baptism can occur only once and that a re-baptising of an individual in a new gender is impossible, the Church highlighted the need for finding a way to positively provide 'the opportunity of a liturgical marking of a person's transition, which has the full authority of the C of E (Church of England), as an appropriate expression of community and pastoral support to trans people'.
The move also acknowledges that it cannot require clergy to offer to perform such services if they 'cannot in good conscience offer support in a liturgical marking of a person's transition'.
In this case, a member of the Church is urged to find compassion and have the 'generosity' to point the person towards a church or other individual within the Church where such liturgical provisions are possible.
The motion also asks the House of Bishops 'to consider providing some nationally commended liturgical materials which may be used in parish churches and chaplaincies to provide a pastoral response to the need of transgender people to be affirmed'.
The bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, said: 'As the world listens to us the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a crime. LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sin.'
We're glad to see the Church finally embracing the LGBTQ community in its entirety.