General Synod voted in favour of motion saying the often marginalised community should be ‘welcomed and affirmed’

The Church of England is set to offer special services to welcome transgender people to the Anglican faith after its ruling body backed a motion seen as a symbol of acceptance of an often marginalised community.

The General Synod, meeting in York, voted in favour of the move by 284 votes to 78. It was the second time in two days that it gave overwhelming support to motions seen as positive towards LGBT people, suggesting to some a significant change of mood.

The motion said transgender people should be “welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”, and that bishops consider whether special liturgies “might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition”.

Proposing the motion, Chris Newlands, from Blackburn, Lancashire, said: “I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives.”

He told the synod of the son of two members of a big evangelical church, who he called Nathan. At the age of five, after medical advice, Nathan became Natalie, and returned to school “much happier … and with very little fuss from staff, pupils and parents”.

Not all members of the church were as supportive, however, with some offering only “grudging acceptance”. Newlands said he hoped the debate at synod “will help to inform that church, and many other churches, of the challenges children with gender dysphoria face”.

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