In a surprisingly progressive stance, the Church of England has issued guidelines to its schools encouraging teachers to embrace students’ gender experimentation. In particular, the church asks teachers and administrators to honor children’s “creative exploration” and engage “without expectation or comment” when students decide to, say, wear a tutu or a tool belt.
Focusing on children in nursery and primary school classes, the church wants kids to have a supportive environment where they can “explore the possibilities of who they might be” without fear. In other words, the church wants school districts to accept and embrace children who may be expressing their gender identity in ways that go against traditional cisgender expectations for young kids.
“In the early years, context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration,” the church explained, as the Independent reports. “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision.”
The church also encourages schools to work on promoting “dignity for all,” which creates an environment where students “accept difference of all varieties and be supported to accept their own gender identity or sexual orientation and that of others.” Teachers should also avoid using terms that deem experimentation as “abnormal” or “irregular.”
“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression, and suicide,” the archbishop of Canterbury wrote in the guidelines’ foreword, according to the Independent. “Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.”