Transgender priest urges Christians to support MPs report on equality
Christians have been urged to support the findings of a transgender equality report released this morning which says Britain has "a long way to go" to ensure full equality for transgender people.
The Women and Equalities Committee of MPs made over 30 recommendations to tackle what it said was hostility experienced by transgender people on a daily basis, undermining their careers, living standards and access to services.
Rachel Mann, a transgender vicar in Manchester, told Christian Today she welcomed the recommendations and said they represented a "serious signal of intent by the government and an important direction of travel of society to stop treating transgender people as a problem."
She urged Christians across the theological spectrum to "welcome the recommendations of this report".
"Despite the fact some struggle theologically with the way this report understands what it means to be human, I hope Christians support any measure that would reduce transphobia in this society," she said.
However Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said in a statement the report was "a denial of reality and is very concerning".
"The report calls our society and its institutions towards a collective denial of reality. Imposition of 'gender-neutral' toilets and school uniforms harms the majority and indulges a self-proclaimed minority," the statement added.
"These are extreme measures designed to obliterate gender in public life. It is scary stuff."
Williams said the recommendations would deny children a safe space in schools and only add to the confusion young people face.
"We must encourage young people to be that which God has created them to be, not condition them to distort their God-given sexuality."
Nicky Morgan, a Christian member of cabinet, said progress on equality was a priority for the government.
Among the 30 recommendations, the report, which is the first by a UK parliamentary committee tackling transgender issues, called for a "root-and-branch" review of NHS treatment of transgender people.
Official recognition of gender should be based on "self-declaration" rather than "medicalised" asssessment, the report says, and calls for the option to recognise gender as "X" in a passport.
It also proposes an urgent clarification on the position of transgender prisoners given the "clear risk of harm" if trans people are put in prison according to their gender assigned at birth. The recommendation comes after two transgender women died in male prisons in 2015.
Conservative MP Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, said that although Britain leads the way on lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, it fails on transgender issues.
"This is something that needs urgent action because trans people deserve to be able to live full and successful lives in the way that any other person does in this country," she said.