Press Release

Parents call on Church of England to urgently abandon Mermaids influenced transgender guidance

8 October 2022         Issued by: Christian Concern

Christian parents are calling on the Church of England (CofE) to urgently abandon transgender guidance which says that children as young as five should be affirmed if they want to identify as the opposite gender.

In an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Nigel Rowe 49, and his wife Sally, 47 have called on the CofE to urgently scrap its  ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ (VAGC) guidance which covers 4,700 CofE primary schools.

The letter comes following the Rowes’ legal victory against the Department for Education, which led to a £22,000 settlement for legal costs and a commitment from the government to reform its transgender policies.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Nigel Rowe, 49 and his wife Sally, 47, had taken legal action against the DfE after they and their six-year-old son were labelled ‘transphobic’ by a Church of England primary school for refusing to ‘believe’ in transgender affirming policies.

The Rowes make clear in their letter to the Archbishop, that when they raised concern with the CofE’s Portsmouth Diocesan Board of Education in 2017, the VAGC guidance was used to dismiss and shut down their complaints.

In 2017, VAGC cited Mermaids (p.39) as a reliable source on transgenderism for the one million children under the CofE’s care across the UK.

Mermaids have been rocked by scandal this week following revelations that they send ‘chest binders’ to children without parental knowledge. A member of their board has also resigned after being linked to endorsing paedophilia.

Furthermore, the letter also cites a speech at the Policy Exchange in August 2022 made by the then Attorney General, Suella Braverman KC. The speech provided clarification and guidance on the law on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in schools with Braverman saying:

“The problem is that many schools and teachers believe – incorrectly – that they are under an absolute legal obligation to treat children who are gender questioning according to their preference, in all ways and all respects, from preferred pronouns to use of facilities and competing in sports. All this is sometimes taking place without informing their parents or taking into account the impact on other children. Anyone who questions such an approach is accused of transphobia. In my view, this approach is not supported by the law.”

Braverman KC added that: “No child should be made to fear punishment or disadvantage for questioning what they are being taught, or refusing to adopt a preferred pronoun for a gender questioning child, or complaining about a gender questioning child using their toilets or changing rooms, or refusing to take part in activities promoted by Stonewall or other such organisations. The right to freedom of belief, thought, conscience and speech must be protected.”

The Rowes say that this demonstrates that the approach of Church of England schools, and the guidance in Valuing All God’s Children, is not supported by the law.

They conclude by saying: “We therefore ask you to commit to scrapping the Valuing All God’s Children guidance as a matter of urgency so that staff and children in Church of England schools are properly safeguarded and protected from harmful transgender ideology and practice. We also request a meeting with you to discuss these points and what the Church of England will do about them at your earliest convenience.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre and former lay member of the CofE’s general synod, said: “The Church of England must urgently act to end this deeply damaging guidance.

“Schools, local authorities, and the Church of England have believed and enforced Mermaids’ and Stonewall’s lie that if you question an affirmative approach to gender-confusion you could be breaking the law.

 “The Church of England, who have over one million children under their care, backed the approach of the school in the Rowes’ case. ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ must now be scrapped in light of this outcome and the overwhelming evidence that the Church is supporting harm.”


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