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Church's attitudes to transgender people 'changing', claims study

by Aaron James

The research from the University of Cambridge found that while most of the Church remained firmly opposed to changing genders, such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, parts of the Protestant churches in the UK, US and Scandinavia were allowing transgender people to marry or become ordained clergy.

There are eight transgender clergy currently working for the Church of England, of whom six were ordained prior to transitioning.

The study also found certain branches of Christianity to be more welcoming of transgender people more generally.

The study does not make a judgment on whether it is right to change gender or not, but simply on the Church's reactions to transgenderism. Some Christians will see some branches of the Church's changes as positive and a step forward, while others will see it as negative and move away from what the Bible teaches.

Revd Duncan Dormer, who led the study, told Premier's News Hour: "Within Protestant denominations there has been a move towards much greater acceptance, so many Protestant denominations you'll have transgender individuals who are now allowed to be ordained to be ministers and marriages can be conducted.

"Transgender issues have very much been in the news of late because of a number of high profile transitions.

"The perception of the churches having perhaps a negative view towards gay people or transgender people - there are plenty of Christians who are gay, lesbian or transgender within our churches.

"I think in many cases it actually just comes down to pastoral encounters. It's bishops for example finding that their clergy or other ministers are transitioning and, whatever their views might have been, when they enter into a conversation with the individual that they know, even if they were sceptical beforehand very often they just understand that this is, as it were, is the same person who's discovering themselves in a deep and more profound way."

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speaking to Revd Duncan Dormer here:

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