The Archbishop of Canterbury is hitting back at criticism from conservatives over the Church of England's advice for schools on combatting bullying.
Valuing All God's Children was published on Monday and called on its 4,700 schools to fight 'homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying'. Primary schools should be places of 'creative exploration' where children can 'try out the many cloaks of identity' and 'explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision', the new guidance document said.
This included allowing young boys to wear tutus or princess' tiaras and young girls to wear tool belts and superhero capes without comment or criticism, the report said.
It was seized upon by some conservatives as evidence the Church was drifting away from traditional teaching that God created humans male and female and that it was conforming to an agenda of gender fluidity.
The Church of England has officially held since 2004 that two opposing positions on transgenderism can 'properly be held' within the Church without issue.
Justin Welby hit back at the criticism on Monday and said: 'The guidance is about prevention of bullying, not sexual ethics. It reflects the Church's understanding that every person has intrinsic dignity as a human being – and acts on the position of the Anglican Communion that condemns homophobia.'
Writing in a blog post for the Anglican news site he added: 'This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and the celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.'