In a move to hopefully curb anti-LGBTQ bullying, the Church of England has announced a measure that encourages children to explore their gender identity.
The guidance, issued to the Church's 4,700 schools, makes 12 recommendations for schools to help prevent students from "being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity."
The recommendations advise teachers to allow students to "explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision," including in manners of dress.
"For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, toolbelt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment," the guidance reads.
Earlier this year, the Church took what many have seen as a progressive step when it voted to welcome and affirm transgender members. While the Church issued guidance in 2014 to prevent homophobic bullying, this is the first measure that addresses gender identity and expression.
"Our guidance is practical," Nigel Genders, the chief education officer, said in a statement. "It says that 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," Genders added, though he says we shouldn't conflate the two.
"I know we will not all agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage, or gender identity," Genders continued. "However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honor the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority."
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