Belfast Telegraph

Anglicans vote for transgender services

By PA Reporters

The Church of England has "turned a corner" after its ruling body voted overwhelming in favour of welcoming transgender people, the vicar who brought the motion said.

The General Synod backed Rev Chris Newlands' motion, which said transgender people should be "welcomed and affirmed in their parish church" as part of the "long and often complex process" of transition.

Mr Newlands had also called for the Church to provide guidance to help clergy provide services for transgender people to mark their transition.

Bishops voted 30 to two in favour, while 127 lay members voted for and 48 against, and clergy backed the motion 127 to 28.

The vote came after bishops overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for a ban on "unethical" conversion therapy for gay Christians.

Opening the debate, Mr Newlands said: "I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives."

Speaking afterwards, he told the Press Association: "I'm euphoric and exhausted.

"I think it was a good debate with some excellent contributions. I did think there were some comments which reflect some of the extreme views which we would wish to counter.

"I'm getting so many messages from trans friends around the world. Synod has changed - we have turned a corner.

"Since the February decision on sexuality, bishops have realised they cannot continue to do what they have always done."

He was referring to an amendment to his motion that asked for the Church to determine the theological arguments before any liturgy - or Church customs - are adopted.

Lay member Tim Hind said the amendment would make the Church look "foolish".

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