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Presbyterians Affirm Diverse Gender Identities


During the Presbyerian Church (PCUSA)'s 223rd General Assembly (2018), several resolutions were passed unanimously on the consent agenda with concern for gender, LGBT ministry, and religious liberty.

More Light Presbyterians, the Covenant Network, and the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy worked together to advocate for three overtures. These overtures had been passed previously by regional bodies which forwarded them to the national policy making body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Affirming People of Diverse Gender Identities

Item 11-12, affirms and celebrates the full dignity and humanity of people of all gender identities, including specific mention of non-binary gender identities. The committee recommended approval, 43-3 and it was passed unanimously on the plenary's consent agenda, the morning of June 20

“Standing in the conviction that all people are created in the image of God and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people, the 223rd General Assembly (2018) affirms its commitment to the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of transgender people, people who identify as gender non-binary, and people of all gender identities within the full life of the church and the world. The assembly affirms the full dignity and the full humanity of transgender people, their full inclusion in all human rights, and their giftedness for service. The assembly affirms the church’s obligation to stand for the right of people of all gender identities to live free from discrimination, violence, and every form of injustice.”

It goes on to encourage Presbyterian leaders to offer support on matters of military inclusion, access to public accommodations, including gender-neutral restrooms, and Title IX protections. It also encourages congregations to expand their welcome. Official text. FAQ at MLP.org.

Celebrating Gifts and Service of LGBTQIA+ in the Church

In a similar manner, the General Assembly passed Item 11-13 which celebrates the gifts of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the church. Official text. FAQ at MLP.org.

On Reclaiming An Historic Reformed Understanding Of Religious Liberty

Given recent rationalizations in political life using "religious liberty," the General Assembly also passed Item 11-04 which reclaims the church’s historic definition of religious freedom and strengthens our public witness against discrimination. Official text. FAQ at MLP.org.

Alex Patchin McNeill, Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians, said in a statement:

“This is a historic moment in the Presbyterian Church’s work to be an open and welcoming place for all of its congregants, including LGBTQIA+ worshippers. As a transgender man, and life-long Presbyterian, religion should always be used as a shield, not a weapon; and our faith should serve as a means by which to do good by everyone in our communities. Today’s overtures will allow the Presbyterian Church to advance its commitment to stand in support of dignity for all, and defeat oppression. Religious freedom cannot be used as a license to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people or exempt certain groups from treating all people fairly.”

Alex was the first openly transgender person hired to lead a national LGBT religious advocacy organization in 2013.

More about More Light Presbyterians. Covenant Network coverage.


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