Church of England’s first 'gender-queer' priest shares hope of 'normalizing it for children'
'When I’m wearing my collar, it lets children know that is OK,' priest says
The first “gender-queer” priest in the Church of England hopes “normalizing it for children” will be a priority for the church.
Rev. Bingo Allison, a biological male who identifies as non-binary, said God was guiding the 36-year-old into a “new truth” about gender identity, according to an interview with a British newspaper.
Allison, who has a wife and three children, told the Liverpool Echo that a late-night study of Genesis 1:27 and its language of “maleness to femaleness” led to what Allison called a “deepening spiritual experience.”
In the NIV, Genesis 1:27 reads: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
“I properly felt God was guiding me into this new truth about myself,” Allison was quoted as saying. “One of the things that has kept with my ministry ever since is that transition and coming out can and should be a spiritual experience, as well as an emotional and social and sometimes physical one.
“There is something beautiful about growing into who we were created to be and growing into our authentic selves.”
After taking on a new identity, Allison was quoted as telling the Echo about plans to help make a “huge difference in normalizing it for children.”
"One of the biggest things is just being a visual representation in my community and going into schools, doing assemblies and making a huge difference in normalizing it for children,” Allison told the Echo. “When I’m wearing my collar, it lets children know that is OK and that there is a place in church and the outside world for people like me.”
Ordained at the Liverpool Cathedral in September 2020, Allison told the outlet about growing up in a “strongly religious” home where “gay people” were viewed as a “sinful thing.”
But upon coming across the term “gender-queer” about seven years ago, Allison said that’s when “everything suddenly clicked.”
“It was a lot harder than I thought having come out to myself to then remain in the closet,” said Allison. “There were definitely lots of times before when I kind of questioned my identity but growing up in a more conservative form of Christianity meant that it was just so far beyond my imagination.”
The Church of England did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday from The Christian Post.
In response to the interview, Anglican priest and Church of England critic, the Rev. Calvin Robinson, called Allison’s comments “heresy and blasphemy.”
Robinson tweeted: “His appearance is shocking, but let’s focus on his words. Call out his heresy and blasphemy. Challenge the Church’s apparent apostasy. Don’t resort to ad hominem attacks. We know how this story goes. The conversation gets shifted from truth/lies to ‘bullying.’”
Robinson — who was denied a position in the CofE for speaking against critical race theory and raising concerns about Marxist ideology infiltrating the denomination — also predicted the denomination would “double-down and say it needs to be even more inclusive” instead of rebuking Allison.
Allison’s interview comes as the CofE grapples with whether to bless or marry gay couples ahead of the General Synod in February, where a historic vote could take place on the topic.
Currently, Church of England priests are prohibited to bless or sanction such unions.
Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com.