Statement about full inclusion of transgender persons in the Church Schools and Camps of the Diocese

Statement from the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia regarding the full inclusion of transgender persons in the Church Schools and Camps of the Diocese

The guidelines below emerged from a year-long process of conversation and continuing education with representatives of each of our six Church Schools of the Diocese of Virginia and of Shrine Mont Camps.  They were distributed in written and video form to the schools and camps in January, 2017, with the intention that they be used in local training programs.  We share them with the clergy of the Diocese for your information and to support you as you engage this issue in the congregations and other organizations you serve.

 We believe that all people are created in the image of God and that all people are beloved children of God.  Because this is true,

  1.  We will protect the rights and respect the dignity of transgender persons, refusing to reject, judge, abuse, belittle or in any way dehumanize them.
  2.  We will engage the complex realities for transgender persons in our schools and camps, and not yield to the temptation to ignore those realities.
  3.  We will recognize and accept our responsibility to protect the privacy of transgender persons.
  4.  We will make decisions about transgender minors in our schools and camps in communication with their parents.
  5.  We will provide a safe environment in our schools and camps for transgender persons, for those who support them, and for those who do not understand our commitment to these principles.
  6.  We will stay flexible in response to the complex and changing ramifications of this work by being open to relevant stories, to emerging information and to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

 We are grateful to God for the responsibility entrusted to us to live out in concrete ways the promises we made when we were baptized, and we are grateful to you for being partners with us as we strive to fulfill this high calling together. 

 January 17, 2017

 The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff

The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick