The first openly non-binary transgender priest ordained into the Church of England has been involved in LGBT youth groups and visits schools as a way to normalize being transgender for children.
Bingo Allison, a 36-year-old father-of-three and self-described “non-binary transgender” priest in the Diocese of Liverpool, attends schools and assemblies across the region in an attempt to be a visual representation in the community with the hope of inspiring people, according to the Liverpool Echo.
“I try to get involved in, not just in my religious work but outside it, with the local secular LGBT youth groups. 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 normalising it for children. When I’m wearing my collar it lets children know that is okay and that there is a place in church and the outside world for people like me,” said Allison.
The priest describes growing up in a “strongly religious” home where being gay was only mentioned in the context of being “sinful.” Allison once held beliefs that were “very traditional and very conservative” but recounts how all that changed seven years ago upon the discovery of the term “gender-queer.”
“Everything suddenly clicked,” recalls Allison, who considered postponing coming out until after finishing vicar training. This proved impossible to do after an “epiphany” while writing an essay on how God created the Earth.
“It was a lot harder than I thought having come out to myself to then remain in the closet. 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,” Allison told the Liverpool Echo.
“I was sitting there in the middle of the night when I realised I might need to run my life upside down. It was a deepening spiritual experience, I properly felt God was guiding me into this new truth about myself,” the priest added.
Allison both envies and is in awe of the younger generation of LGBTQ youth because they are so open-minded and exposed to LGBTQ culture. This is what prompts the priest to be visible in the community and visit schools as a way to show children that it’s okay to transgender.
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