A petition calling on the Church of England to scrap its transgender guidance for schools has been signed by 15,000 people.
Valuing all God’s Children is the Church of England’s official policy document for anti-LGBT bullying prevention across its thousands of schools. It provides a framework for how Church of England schools should handle “homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying”.
According to the Christian Concern petition, Valuing All God’s Childrensays that children as young as five should be affirmed if they want to identify as the opposite gender. The Church of England has denied this claim.
The petition calls the guidance “deeply damaging and wrong” and says that “trans affirming guidelines have no place in Church of England schools”.
The petition is being supported by Nigel and Sally Rowe, a Christian couple who withdrew their children from a Church of England primary school over its affirming approach to a transgender pupil. The couple said that when they challenged the policy, the school referred to Valuing All God’s Children and told them that it would be ‘transphobic’ not to affirm the pupil’s transgenderism.
The government recently settled with the Rowes and agreed to pay their costs after the couple sought a legal review into the education department’s transgender policies.
Delivering the petition to Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rowessaid: “The Church of England must urgently recognise the significant concerns that so many parents have about the dangers of transgender ideology in our schools.
“We have a wonderful message for our young children today that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God has made each one of us male or female, and that we are called to either sex within marriage to someone of the opposite sex, or chastity outside of it. Children need to hear that we do not need to believe the lies in the culture or in ourselves that we need to change our bodies or should engage in anything we feel we desire. To be who we truly are is to know Jesus.
“We want our children to grow up and see the goodness and beauty of God’s pattern for the world. This petition shows that there are many who are concerned about the guidance and the effect it is having on our children. It is shocking that this guidance has been accepted and promoted for so long within the Church of England and it must be dropped immediately.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported the Rowes in their legal case, said: “No matter how much the Church of England would like to spin it, its Valuing All God’s Children guidance says that children as young as five should be affirmed if they want to identify as the opposite gender.
“This guidance covers over 4,700 CofE primary schools and tens of thousands of pupils. We believe this guidance is deeply damaging and must be scrapped.”
In a recent statement, the Church of England’s chief education officer, Nigel Genders, said that Christian Concern’s claims were “simply false”.
“Valuing All God’s Children does not say that children as young as five should be affirmed if they want to identify as the opposite gender. It doesn’t use the language of affirmation at all, anywhere,” he said.
“This is a misrepresentation of a resource which is designed to help schools ensure all children are treated with the dignity they deserve.”