We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

Barnabas Fund Reports Good News for Egypt’s Christians The government of Egypt licensed 125 churches and church-affiliated buildings on 14 November. It is the 24th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the licensing process started work in...

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw In the aftermath of Desmond Tutu’s daughter being refused permission to preside at a funeral in a Church of England parish, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told The Guardian that the “C of E must move swiftly to welcome lesbian...

Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963 Persons Against Whom Proceedings May be Instituted. Proceedings under this Measure may be instituted against an archbishop, any diocesan bishop or any suffragan bishop commissioned by a diocesan bishop or any other bishop or a...

Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

Editorial Joy to the World Cup The result of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already in. And it appears the Church of England has lost. The latest advice from the Church of England’s Support Hub is for parishes to consider the timing of Christmas Carol Services to avoid...

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership By Chris Sugden Andrew Symes is to stand down as Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream on January 1, 2023, after nearly ten years in post. Rev Symes, 56, who had earlier served with Crosslinks in South...

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension By George Conger The former Bishop of Ramsbury has been suspended for life from the ordained ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused two women. The Daily Mail reported the Rt Rev. Peter Hullah had been the subject of...

Prudence Dailey: Why Banning “Transgender Conversion Therapy” Has Proved a Step Too Far

Prudence Dailey’s Commentary


Why Banning ‘Transgender Conversion Therapy’ has Proved a Step Too Far

When I wrote last month about plans to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’, I could never have guessed that the government would shortly announce that it would NOT, after all, be introducing such a ban—only to perform quite possibly the fastest U-turn in political history barely hours later, following howls of protest from LGBT activists.

Sadly, in today’s cultural climate, the reversal was as inevitable as the initial announcement was surprising. It remains significant, however, that the U-turn was only partial: although ‘gay conversion therapy’ would be banned, ‘transgender conversion therapy’ would not. The activists remain outraged, and seem unable to comprehend why there should be such a distinction. Several prominent church leaders—including former Archbishop Rowan Williams, who surely ought to know better—penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, in which they claimed that ‘To be trans is to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole’, and asserted ‘We see no justification for the ban… excluding trans people’.

Thankfully, though, the government remains unmoved on this aspect. It dares not seek to ban therapies designed to help people—especially young people—reconcile themselves with their biological sex, for the simple reason that any such prohibition would be a catastrophic disaster that would devastate many lives.

While homosexuality and transgenderism are related phenomena, there are some fundamental differences between them. Most people will surely know whether or not they are attracted to those of the same sex: whilst of course there can be confusion and uncertainty (as well as spontaneous change) around sexuality, this is as nothing compared to the perplexity that many young people routinely feel in relation to their own identity, especially in the early stages of puberty. Even if one accepts (for the sake of argument) that it is possible to be transgender, the question ‘Am I trans?’ is a far more nuanced and complex one than ‘Am I same-sex attracted?’—and the probability of getting the wrong answer is correspondingly much greater.

The evidence tells us that around 80% of gender dysphoric young people will, if only they are left alone to develop naturally, desist when they go through puberty. Meanwhile, the voices of de-transitioners are increasingly being heard in the public square, and there is mounting evidence that (especially in girls) gender identity issues can often be the result of factors such as abuse, autism, or social contagion. In addition to this, the physical changes wrought on the body by puberty blockers, hormones and surgery following a diagnosis of transgenderism are extensive and permanent.

Using the law to prevent people, and especially minors, from receiving counselling to explore alternatives to transitioning would be an appalling prospect—and (unlike the signatories of the open letter, it seems) the British public is not unaware of this. In most other Western countries, coverage of transgenderism has been relentlessly one-sided and ‘affirming’; but here in the UK the attempted silencing of ‘gender critical’ views has been much less effective, with criticisms of the transgender narrative (especially by feminists) frequently breaking through into mainstream debate.

A leading evangelical clergyman, talking about trans ideology, once commented in conversation that ‘I think the Devil has overreached himself on this one’. Religious leaders who stubbornly fail to acknowledge this fact—even after the secular authorities have started becoming wise to it—are doing themselves no favours.

Miss Dailey has been a member of General Synod for over 20 years.