Sara Gillingham wrote about herself as a person with intersex characteristics and her experience of the Living in Love and Faith process in an article published by the Church Times in January 2019. More recently she has accused the LGBTI+ groups in the Church of blindly following a Process set out by the House of Bishops and failing to hold the House of Bishops to account. We need, she said, to hold each other accountable as well, as we are failing currently to set-out a roadmap against which we can measure our own successes or failures in bringing about change.
Transgender and Intersex friends of mine and the wider Transgender and Intersex networks to which they belong are angry at the way they feel the LLF process abused them. The serious concerns reported repeatedly by some have not been taken onboard. From my liminal place in relation to the Church of England my perspective is clearly at odds with those who are committed to the protection and preservation of the institution. I do not see best practice or the highest interests of LGBTI+ people being upheld.
My transgender Christian friends are furious about the news that three senior bishops responsible for the Living in Love and faith process recently met a delegation of conservative catholics and evangelicals who had demanded a meeting to talk about the transgender guidance issued by the House of Bishops. Conservative Anglicans are exerting extreme pressure on the Living in Love and Faith project to ensure that the outcome absolutely does not respond to the expectations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people that our God-given identities are finally recognised and granted equality by a revision of Church teaching and practice about human gender and sexuality.
The Revd Dr Tina Beardsley has written an article for the Church Times explaining why she recently resigned as one of the five consultants on the Coordinating Group (COG) of the Living in Love and Faith process. Tina argues that not enough attention is being paid to the experiences of LGBTI+ and questions the neutral stance that the LLF process has been taking. When the Archbishops launched Living in Love and Faith, they assured LGBTI+ people that no one is an issue or a problem. Tina’s experience demonstrates how impossibly difficult it is for the church implement the Archbishops’ vision.