Quakers pledge to welcome trans and non-binary people
During their three weeks' festival of faith and fellowship, Quakers in Britain have been listening to the promptings of love and truth. One of their key decisions was to acknowledge and affirm trans and non-binary people.
After listening to deeply moving experiences a minute recorded, “We rejoice in recognising God's creation in one another. This is what love requires of us."
The full minute is here:
Our testimony of equality stems from the religious conviction that all people are of equal spiritual worth, that each one of us is unique, precious, a child of God.
With glad hearts we acknowledge and affirm the trans and gender diverse Friends in our Quaker communities- Minute 31, Yearly Meeting 2021
In 2003, Meeting for Sufferings responded to the Gender Recognition Bill, based on our testimony of equality, and encouraged Quaker Life Central Committee to promote the pastoral care of transgender people, their families, spouses and children, their friends and meetings. In 2015 the Tabular Statement started to record “Other" as well as men and women as one step to acknowledging the diversity among us. More recently, following consideration of trans and non-binary inclusion in a number of meetings, Quaker Life drafted an initial statement in 2018, inviting all Quakers in Britain to discuss and reflect together on gender diversity.
These discussions and reflections have not always been easy. Our consideration has coincided with wider consideration of legislation reform in Britain, and the associated conflict has been reflected among Friends in our yearly meeting. We recognise that we need to keep listening and searching together.
In an atmosphere of trust, we need to listen, to share our journeys, in silent worship, and in prayer. We all have human gifts and friendship to offer. We need to rejoice in the things that make us different, not be ashamed or excluded. Our differences are a blessing, and we must all work to ensure that the support is there in each meeting to allow this blessing to bear fruit.
We seek to provide places of worship and community that are welcoming and supportive to trans and non-binary people who want to be among us. Belonging is more than fitting in.
With glad hearts we acknowledge and affirm the trans and gender diverse Friends in our Quaker communities, and express appreciation for the contribution and gifts that they bring to our meetings, which are communities made up of people with a diverse range of gender expressions. The end of our travelling is for differences not to divide us. We rejoice in recognising God's creation in one another. This is what love requires of us.
Well over 1,000 Quakers came together for Yearly Meeting Gathering 2021. This was the first Gathering to be held online – because of Covid-19 restrictions.
During Yearly Meeting 2021, Quakers in Britain made decisions on three central issues that they considered under the theme of “For our comfort and discomfort: living equality and truth in a time of crisis".
- Made a commitment to becoming an actively anti-racist faith community
- Lovingly acknowledged and affirmed the trans and gender diverse Friends in Quaker communities and
- Committed to redoubling their faith-based action for climate justice.