In a written reply to a question submitted to General Synod of the Church of England, a senior Bishop said that although the meaning of the word woman was previously “thought to be self-evident”, “additional care” was now needed.
In our world we may encounter more and more people who decided to change their nature. People want to see certain features by certain people, though them themselves prefer to have another identity. Their gender identities incorporate behaviours and traits traditionally associated with the opposite sex, which makes others to raise the eyebrows.
The church of England has to see or is confronted like other people, with transsexuals, transgenderists (in one usage of the term, persons who gender-identify with the opposite sex but who choose not to undergo sex-reassignment surgery or hormone treatments), and androgynes (biologically or psychologically androgynous persons), among other groups. Certainly that last bit, the condition in which characteristics of both sexes are clearly expressed in a single individual, for several ages, has been a very difficult issue.
In its broader sense, transgender is closely related to the more-recent term genderqueer, which is self-applied by persons who are either transgender or who have no gender, a third (neither male nor female) gender, or a fluctuating gender.
Gender-critical campaigners in the Church of England are saying that
“whether your starting point is biology or the Bible the answer to the question of what is a woman remains the same.”
In very conservative church circles, it is assumed that the woman is a secondary type who must be submissive to the man.
In his role as chairman of the Faith and Order Commission, Dr Robert Innes, the Bishop in Europe said:
“There is no official definition, which reflects the fact that until fairly recently definitions of this kind were thought to be self-evident, as reflected in the marriage liturgy.”
“The LLF project however has begun to explore the marriage complexities associated with gender identity and points to the need for additional care and thought to be given in understanding our commonalities and differences as people made in the image of God.”
Rev Angela Berners-Wilson, who became the first woman to be ordained as a priest in England in 1994, and who has recently retired, told The Telegraph in response to the Bishop of Europe’s answer:
“I’m not totally happy with it. I mean, I do think certain things like men can’t have babies just to say the complete obvious thing.”
Naturally, we also may wonder how we are all in the image of God. When the man, as well as the woman, are in the image of God, has God then elements of a man as well as of a woman, or is He both man and woman?
Responding to a report by the Women and Equalities Committee, released in December 2021, which said that several steps required before a trans person can obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) should be removed; the British Government said it had already consulted on the controversial subject and
“the current provisions allow for those that wish to legally change their sex to do so, and we will not be changing the legislation”.
The recommendations of the committee to move toward a system of self-identification were made despite warnings from women’s rights campaigners and legal experts that they could jeopardise single-sex spaces, which are also protected under equality law.
Jayne Ozanne, synod member and founder of the Ozanne Foundation in 2017 – which works with religious organisations around the world to tackle prejudice and discrimination of LGBTQI people – finds that Mr Kendy’s question is sadly a prime example of a passive aggressive question that is designed to upset the LGBT+ community and particularly the trans members in their midst.
Not only the English Church has problems with people who feel differently than what the majority is used to seeing in gender roles. for many it is also impossible that a person would be “asexual,” “aromantic,” or “agender, but in today’s society we have to understand that not everything has to be so black and white and clearly stated.
“It’s time these anti-LGBT attacks stopped and that we learnt to acknowledge that life is not quite as black and white as some appear to think it should be.”
Dr Jane Hamlin, president of Beaumont Society charity, which supports trans people, added:
“I am puzzled why some people are so obsessed with defining ‘woman’. Why might this be an issue for the Church of England?
Are those male priests going to want to define sex partners extensively, like they now want to define women? One can also ask why it took so many years for the Church to realise that besides ‘the man’ and ‘the woman’ there are also people who have elements of both – ambivalence is still something that many do not want to know about -. Many also do not want to show understanding for those people who do not feel good at all in the skin they were given by birth for their appearance. Should these people slide through life like lonely snails all their lives in a wrong shell?
“Is it that women should be treated more favourably or less favourably?
Why does it matter to the Church of England whether someone is a woman or not a woman? Surely it only matters to the individual themselves.”
says Jayne Ozann.
Do those clergy, in the same way, question to what is a man?
For many years, the Church has been a bastion of men, repeatedly seeking to teach its members that men are the masters of women and that the latter must always be submissive and acquiesce to the desires of men.
For centuries the Church pointed with their finger to people who had another feeling to people of the same or other sex. They were all too quick to point out to those who felt differently the danger that they would land in hell, to be tortured by an eternal fire. In doing so, they turned the Divine Father into a hideous being who would take pleasure in seeing his creatures suffer eternally.
No one seemed to stop to think what a difficult dilemma those people had to go through to come to terms with their feelings.
For years, several people had to go through figurative hell and wrestle with their uniqueness, which they could not place well in their environment or where they could not get an audience for their feelings.
Several vulnerable people did not dare to begin with and asking themselves to focus inwards. For many it has been horrible to give themselves a place in a society where it was clearly indicated people like them were (or are) not welcome.
Addiction therapist, mental health advocate and author Gillian Bridge discusses the cause behind a whole range of societal problems in a new book.
“We’ve been living in a gross-out world of personal emotional self-indulgence and sentiment for decades now … decades which have seen the nation’s mental health worsening”
– is a succession of equally magnificent declarations.
She has pinpointed the cause of a whole range of societal problems, from mental distress and the determined fragility of the young to the woke chaos of universities and cancel culture. And in that changing culture it looks like the Church of England does not know how to place itself or to cope with the changing culture of accepting
the individuality of each individual.
Please read: The Telegraph 2022 July 11 – July 17 > July 11 > Church of England comments provoke criticism on their remark: There is ‘no official definition’ of a woman