Guest editorial by Susannah Cornwall
from Modern Believing Vol 58:4 - October 2017

Variant Sex and Gender, Law and the Churches

Whilst sex, gender and sexuality in religious perspective are impassioned topics of discussion both within faith communities themselves and among their observers, variant sex and gender are still relatively under examined. This special issue of Modern Believing focuses in particular on intersex and transgender, and examines how legal recognition of transgender and intersex people impacts on religious (especially Christian) communities, and on the implications for intersex and transgender people’s spiritual wellbeing of their participation in and full recognition by churches.

by Rob Clucas
from Modern Believing Vol 58:4 - October 2017

Abstract:

In this article, I discuss the situation of trans people within the Church of England. I outline instances of legal and institutional discrimination in the following situations: the Equality Act 2010 in the context of employment, promotion and training; trans candidates for ordination; and marriage involving (a) trans person(s). I discuss some theology relating to this discrimination. I explain the impact of disadvantage and discrimination for minority groups with reference to minority stress, and clarify the microaggressive messages contained in differential institutional treatment for trans people. I suggest that the harm done by Church discrimination against trans people is real and significant, and ought to be recognized and addressed. 

Keywords:

CHURCH OF ENGLAND; DISCRIMINATION; DISCRETION; EQUALITY ACT 2010; LGBT; MARRIAGE; MICROAGGRESSIONS; MINORITY STRESS; ORDINATION; PREJUDICE; TRANS; TRANSGENDER.


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University website, or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

by Andrew Worthley 
from Modern Believing Vol 58:4 - October 2017

Abstract:

Despite recent legislative and policy improvements regarding transgender equality, levels of awareness and understanding vary significantly. The Equality Act 2010 extended protection of trans rights through the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”), forming part of what Cathi Albertyn terms ‘transformative equality’. The Church constitutes the statistically major faith group in the UK, with the Church of England holding the greatest claim to quasi-public status. This paper therefore proposes that the Church of England volunteers to bring itself into line with the Public Sector by adopting its own version of the PSED, or a ‘Faith Sector Equality Duty.’ Commitment to such an overarching ethos would effectively constitute an optimal form of ‘enforced self-regulation’ and so invigorate the rights of trans people in the UK.

Keywords:

CHURCH, DUTY, EQUALITY, FAITH, LAW, PUBLIC, RIGHTS, SECTOR, TRANS, TRANSFORMATIVE.


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

by Jonathan Herring
from Modern Believing Vol 58:4 - October 2017

Abstract:

This article considers the definition of sex in English law. It argues that the current position is deeply flawed and reflects a heterosexist binary model of sex. With a particular focus on intersex people and theological writings on sexuality, it argues for the abolition of sex as a legal category. This opens up exciting new ways of thinking about, for example, marriage, as a relationship based around care, rather than sex.

Keywords:

SEX, INTERSEX, LAW, MALE, FEMALE, CARE, MARRIAGE


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

by Duncan Dormor
from Modern Believing Vol 58:4 - October 2017

Abstract:

Over the last couple of decades many liberal and mainstream Protestant denominations have welcomed transgender Christians as congregational members and affirmed their ministry as leaders and teachers. A growing number of Protestant churches in Europe and the USA ordain transgender people as pastors and teachers and conduct weddings for transgender people in their confirmed gender. The issues raised by transgender are complex for religious authorities and churches in the modern world, as they have an impact upon communities, relationships between believers, and shared understandings of the sacred. Three catalysts for change have been ministers or priests who have transitioned and sought clear validation about their continuing public role as Christian teachers and leaders; the requirement for churches to respond to newly-introduced legislation which gives transgender people certain marriage and employment rights; and the consciousness-raising of a growing number of advocates and lobbying groups within the churches. Consequently, there has been slow but steady progress in the acceptance of transgender people within the Christian community across the spectrum of mainstream Protestant denominations.

Keywords:

TRANSGENDER, PROTESTANT, CHRISTIANITY, LEGISLATION, LEGAL STATUS


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.