Flag flying on a flagpole in the pride rainbow colours, the transgender colours, and the intersex purple circle.
Credit: Image by BrutallyHonest from Pixabay
Published On: September 18, 2023

As people of faith, we are called to challenge injustice and oppression, in order that all peoples may live life abundantly. In particular, The United Church of Canada draws from two key themes within scripture: to live out justice and love in the world. Therefore, we believe that God calls the church to align with people who experience oppression and also to overturn systems of injustice. The United Church believes that diversity, fully embodied and lived out, is God’s intention for the world; sexuality and gender diversity are a reflection of the rainbow promise of God’s love for the world.

The United Church of Canada affirms that gender and sexuality are gifts of God, and that all persons are made in the image of God. The United Church denounces the emerging amendments to policies and legislation across provinces in Canada, and indeed in many parts of the world; these changes roll back safety and legal protections for 2SLGBTQIA+ people, particularly transgender and non-binary youth. We invite tangible actions from the people of the United Church to be in solidarity with 2SLGBTQIA+ peoples, in response to these proposed policy changes.

The current policies and guidelines related to gender identity and expression aid in creating safer environments for children and youth to navigate this path, absent of prejudice, barriers, and restrictive conditions that can lead to harm and stigma. Changes to such policies can threaten this fragile sense of safety. Healthy articulation of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression are also fundamental rights of all children and youth.

The people of The United Church of Canada and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, inside and outside the church, know too well how acts of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia—including religious-induced discrimination—embolden public expressions of hate crimes and violence. Unfortunately, deliberate disinformation takes aim at care and safer spaces for transgender and gender non-conforming youth; hateful rhetoric, discriminatory legislation, and restrictions directly place their health, safety, and well-being at risk.

Existing policies and guidelines related to gender identity and expression in educational and healthcare settings uplift care and service providers with critical tools to embrace individual diversity. They provide support to, and affirm, transgender and non-binary students and youth, in particular. They also create 2SLGBTQIA+ and gender-affirming schools and aid in the prevention of bias-based bullying.

The United Church of Canada is also committed to supporting equity and diversity, and calls for bold affirming approaches that ensure the protection and equal rights for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. The church calls on its members and people of goodwill to continue demonstrating solidarity with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, to foster inclusive and safer environments in learning institutions, communities, and within family settings.

Please contact your Member of Parliament and/or your provincial leaders. Ask them to safeguard and affirm existing legislation. This is a call for solidarity and action. Polarization and attempts to roll back rights and protections of 2SLGBTQIA+ peoples should be met with concerted resistance by all.

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