The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has adopted a new doctrinal statement on gender identity at its annual Synod this week that continues to direct transgender people to pray for change and dissuades them from transitioning.
“The Bible never endorses a divergence between biological sex and gender identity or expression,” the Anglicans’ Doctrine Statement on Gender Identity says, before blaming the experience of gender dysphoria on the original sin of the human race.
“The experience of incongruence between objective biological sex and subjective gender identity is one of the consequences of human rebellion in the Garden of Eden,’ the document claims.
“Blurring the distinctions between male and female, or seeking to present one’s sex as contrary to one’s biology, is an attempt at self-creation that involves a denial of the biologically-sexed body that God has given to us.”
The statement goes on to say that Christians should encourage transgender people to “embrace God’s pattern for human wholeness.”
In an accompanying document, “Pastoral Guidelines for Churches, Schools and Organisations” the Anglican Diocese sets out how Anglicans are interact with transgender people in their communities.
“The reality and intensity of gender incongruence is something we acknowledge as part of the disruption of the world following the first sin,” the guidelines state.
‘God … is able to bring healing to the experience of gender incongruence, however in his sovereign wisdom, that healing might not be fully experienced in this life.”
Transgender Christians are instructed to, “seek options that maintain the integrity of your physical and mental unity, and which honour and preserve the maleness or femaleness of the body God has given you.”
Anglican organisations are advised to pursue “evidence-based pathways for treatment, which are consistent with Scripture.”
They are also urged to differentiate between, “compassion for the [transgender] person, including an understanding of the distress of their situation or condition,” and, “agreeing with, celebrating, or validating any treatment protocol for transition.”
Anglicans are also instructed to differentiate between “those who promote transgender ideology” and individuals who experience “gender incongruence, who are vulnerable members of our community.”
The documents have been criticised by national LGBTQI Christian network Equal Voices who accused the Sydney Diocese of promoting forms of conversion practice ideology against gender diverse people.
Equal Voices spokesperson and Anglican priest, the Rev. Dr Josephine Inkpin, said that the resolution put before the Synod was “cruel in its implications.
“This action represents a disturbing precedent in the light of current religious discrimination discussions,” Rev Inkpin said.
“We understand Churches may be wary of what has so long been hidden. However, reacting so negatively, and excluding the voices and lived experience of gender diverse people themselves is disastrous for all.”
“Orientation change efforts need outlawing. We call on the Sydney diocese to repent of its callousness, and to join the increasing demand, led by the Survivors of SOGICE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Change Efforts) for an end to conversion practice ideology.’
Equal Voices is calling on all Christians to “engage in listening and dialogue, rather than condemnation or demanding attempts to change orientation, which overwhelming evidence shows leads to increased mental health issues and significant increases in suicidality.”