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Church of England takes stand against LGBTI bullying in school

They released new guidelines for anti-bullying week

Church of England takes stand against LGBTI bullying in school
Students visiting a cathedral

The Church of England today (13 November) pledged itself against LGBTI bullying in schools during anti-bullying week.

They released a guide for their 4,700 schools, titled Valuing All God’s Children. This second version, updated from the initial 2014 release, now includes biphobia and transphobia alongside homophobia as forms of bullying.

‘All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders,self-harm, depression and suicide,’ writers Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury in the foreward.

The guidance is extensive, offering background and statistical information on bullying, legal framework, and more.

It also includes recommendations for their schools, including an inclusive school vision, clear policies, recording bullying incidents, collective worship, and more.

Children should be allowed to be children

In a Facebook post, the Church’s Chief Education Office Nigel Genders calls the guidance ‘practical’.

Overall, ‘children should be able to explore their identities as they grow up. For smaller children this may involve getting the dressing box out. For older pupils it might mean having informed conversations to grow in knowledge and respect for each other.’

The point of the guidance is to let children be children.

They ‘should be free to explore and play without adults making assumptions about them or being bullied by others’.

Posted by Church of England on Monday, November 13, 2017

Divided reactions

Unsurprisingly, there are wide and varying responses to this guidance.

The organization Stonewall UK supported the decision.

As did trans activist Paris Lees, asking: ‘Why on earth should a boy be criticised for wearing a tiara if that’s what he wants to do? What is the big deal?’

Equally unsurprising are the responses from people like Piers Morgan.

On Good Morning Britain, which Morgan co-hosts, he called it a ‘fad’.

‘I’ve got a six-year-old girl, she doesn’t know what gender identity is, yet teachers are now asking a five-year-old child: “How are you feeling today? Do you feel male or female?” It’s not about judgment, it’s about having some sort of boundaries.’

He also hit back at people on Twitter.

However, as Genders gently reminds, ‘there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority’.

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