There are liturgies that go with birth, coming of age, getting married, and dying. Now it is being proposed to develop a liturgy to mark gender transitions.
The Church of England has voted to affirm transgendered individuals and to study developing a liturgy that would solemnize the decision or medical procedures whereby a man assumes a new identity as a woman, or a woman assumes a new identity as a man.
This would seem to stop short of re-baptism, as some transgender activists have called for.
This could go along with other liturgies for contemporary culture. Some churches offer divorce ceremonies. What other occasions might call for a liturgical blessing from liberal churches?
From Harriett Sherwood, Anglican church set to offer special services for transgender people | World news | The Guardian:
The Church of England is set to offer special services to welcome transgender people to the Anglican faith after its ruling body backed a motion seen as a symbol of acceptance of an often marginalised community.The General Synod, meeting in York, voted in favour of the move by 284 votes to 78. It was the second time in two days that it gave overwhelming support to motions seen as positive towards LGBT people, suggesting to some a significant change of mood.
The motion said transgender people should be “welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”, and that bishops consider whether special liturgies “might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition”. . . .
A background paper to the motion urged bishops to consider providing “liturgical materials which may be used in parish churches and chaplaincies to provide a pastoral response to the need of transgender people to be affirmed following their long, distressing and often complex process of transition”.
It acknowledged that clergy could not be required to perform such a service if they “cannot in good conscience offer support in a liturgical marking of a person’s transition”.
Photo by Drama Queen (Church of the Pilgrims) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons