Valuing All God's Children

By Hilton Teper (Hilton1949) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ document is 52 pages long

Teachers are being advised by Church of England (CoE) to permit and also encourage children to understand and explore gender identity. The November 12 guidance by the education office of the church told about 5,000 schools affiliated to it to permit students to play with multiple “cloaks of identity.” This guidance has been welcomed by LGBT campaigners and LGBT charities.

The guidance is named “Valuing All God's Children.” Its release is timed to coincide with the anti-bullying week, instituted post the advisory given in 2014 covering homophobic bullying. The scope has now been expanded to include biphobic and also transphobic bullying. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, added his own contribution to the guidance. He said that, "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 Valuing All God's Children document comprises a total of 52 pages. It outlines a total of 10 recommendations to schools. The list includes faculty and staff training. The latter will help them to offer pastoral support for people who suffer from transphobic, homophobic, and biphobic bullying. The document suggests that the curricula should provide due opportunities for students to value their bodies and themselves. Other than these kinds of concrete guidance, this document explains in detail to point out that schools imparting primary and secondary education are places where the students could explore their respective identities in any form which the latter takes.

This guidance invariably brought out outrage from a few quarters. Conservatives gave furious soundbites. Newspaper headlines were also skeptical. All these were dismissed by Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner. He opined that this guidance constitutes a substantial progress for the CoE. The church has been traditionally against LGBT rights.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, who is an important figure in the organization Christian Concern, and a number of other conservative-minded Christian activists condemned these new rules. They accused CoE of following an agenda which is against the teachings of the church. These conservative voices have found a supporter in Piers Morgan, the co-host of Good Morning Britain telecast by ITV. He termed these developments as “a new fad.” He told his viewers that as a father of a daughter who is only six years old, he wants boundaries to be set up for children when they are at an impressionable age.

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