Boys as young as five should be able to wear tiaras at school without criticism, teachers in Church of England schools are to be told.
Male pupils should also be free to dress up in a tutu or high heels without attracting any comment or observation, according to anti-bullying rules sent out by the Church yesterday.
The instructions for the CofE’s 4,700 schools said they should not require children to wear uniforms that ‘create difficulty for trans pupils’.
The CofE rules say children in nurseries and the primaries that make up the majority of Church schools should be free to follow their own inclinations when they dress. They state: ‘In the early years context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration.
‘Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity … Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision. For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.’
In a foreword to the advice, the Archbishop of Canterbury says: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders,self-harm, depression and suicide.
“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.
“We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem.”
The Most Rev Justin Welby adds: “This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and the celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”
Well. Certainly bullying of any sort, of any child, is not to be tolerated. But this goes much too far. Earlier this fall, Welby was asked by an interviewer if he thought gay sex was sinful. He memorably replied, “You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.”
But he can give a straight answer to the question of whether Church of England schools should allow little boys to come to school in dresses. If you disagree with him, then you are a bully, according to the rules of the Church of England.
Meanwhile, Joshua Sutcliffe, a mathematics teacher who is also an ordained pastor is facing discipline, including possibly the loss of his job, for saying, “Well done, girls” to two students in his class. One of those students is a female who identifies as male. Her parents filed a complaint against Sutcliffe, accusing him of “misgendering” their child. More:
The maths teacher, who is also a pastor at the Christ Revelation church in Oxford, said he tried to balance his beliefs with the need to treat the pupil sensitively.
He claimed he did this by avoiding the use of gender-specific pronouns and by referring to the pupil by name.
“While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs… I have never looked to impose my convictions on others”, he said
He said he had apologised to the student, but said he did not consider it “unreasonable” to call someone a girl “if they were born a girl”.
He apologized to the kid for saying what he said. But they knew he was a Christian, and that he doesn’t believe in gender fluidity, even though he keeps his views out of the classroom (this was a slip). Yet his job is now on the line. The school was apparently not a Church of England school, but still, the Church of England ought to be defending this fellow Christian. Even if it had been a C of E school, I suppose under the new guidelines they would still be throwing the poor man to the lions.
A highly-regarded adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury has quit the inner counsels of the Church of England in protest against an “agenda of revisionism” that she says is promoting “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness.
Lorna Ashworth resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod, saying: “We have a liberal agenda because the church is not anchored in the Gospel. There is no more conversation about Heaven, Hell, sin, forgiveness, judgment.
Her resignation illustrates the fissure in the church between liberals and traditionalists which is now threatening outright schism. The immediate flashpoints are gender and gay issues. Last July, the synod voted to ban sexual conversion therapy and to consider special services for transsexual people. A motion to permit the blessing of same-sex marriages has been submitted for next February’s synod but has yet to be adopted for debate.