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Tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying

Abp Justin Welby

Archbishop Justin Welby

13 November 2017 4:03PM


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, writes for ACNS on the Church of England’s new guidance to help church-schools tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying

One million children are educated in Church of England schools. We are determined to make them places where every child can flourish. Our new guidance to help Church schools tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is about making every one of our 5,000 brilliant schools safe places to grow up. All bullying causes profound damage: it leads to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

The Church of England is committed to an education that enables people to live life in all its fullness, and fulfils the words of Jesus in John 10:10: “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and the celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.

The guidance is about prevention of bullying, not sexual ethics. It reflects the Church’s understanding that every person has intrinsic dignity as a human being – and acts on the position of the Anglican Communion that condemns homophobia in these words:

“The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.

“The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God's love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression.”

(Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion, 15 January 2016)


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14 November 2017 9:08PM

Hank S- The short answer is no. Conservatives are persona non grata in the Anglican Church and in the secular world as well.

Tim Hall

14 November 2017 3:16PM

Yes playground bullying should be discouraged. However, wisdom is one of the elements of the church's vision for education. Is it wise to put into doubt which school uniform and which school toilet and which changing room each child should use? Surely it is wise for church schools to stop pretending that they can realistically cater for every child.

Tim Hall

14 November 2017 2:50PM

Bullying is a form of coercive control and rightly should be discouraged in the playground. However, coercive control also takes place in the home between parent and child. What is the Church doing to stop coercive parents allowing their children to break uniform codes? Does this mean that all schools need unisex toilets and unisex uniforms?


13 November 2017 10:40PM

Define bullying? If you don't define something then anyone can attach whatever meaning they want and it becomes something very subjective one man bullying could be another man correction.Is reciting bible verses bullying? Do we now edit the bible so that no one is offended? I know they do the lectionary. But I guess that is what they want keep the definition vague enough that they can attach it to more conservatives in the process of silencing the opposition.

Father Ron Smith

13 November 2017 8:29PM

This is a real step forward on the part of Archbishop Justin and the hierarchy of the Church of England. Anything that can help to outlaw the bullying of those with intrinsic gender or sexual difference must be encouraged. Thank you!


13 November 2017 8:06PM

Justin, when are you going to publish guidelines to stop Christianphobic bullying? Or is is ok for students to bully and attempt to shame those who believe that gay marriage is sinful? or believe that gay sex is sinful? They need at least as much protection as the group you identify.