As a bishop in The Episcopal Church, I grieve the harsh language about our trans siblings contained in the Vatican’s new declaration entitled “Dignitas Infinita.” For their own sake, people should undertake gender transition only after deep, careful discernment. But by now most of us have relatives and friends who have achieved a measure of peace and contentment after taking the step. It adds a heavy and unfair burden to say that a faithful person risks disrupting their God-given nature when God’s spirit may well be calling them to their authentic selves.

The Episcopal Church welcomes all trans people to our missions and parishes, as the Catholic Church does, and also takes the view that, like all of us, they are made in the image of our diverse God. Under our canons, our church recognizes no bar for trans people to any sacrament, from baptism to ordination.

“Dignitas Infinita” also opposes surrogate pregnancies on the basis that they disorder the relationship between the natural parent and child. The Episcopal Church recognizes the complexity of the issue and believes surrogate parents should be protected from exploitation while receiving medical, spiritual, and emotional support during and after their pregnancies.

Our view on these and like questions is in keeping with a broadening understanding of the diversity of human and family life that exists in modern society and indeed has always existed, though long shrouded by prejudice on the basis of orientation and identification. I invite the prayers of our whole Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles family for anyone who feels hurt by what we’ve heard today from the Vatican. When it comes to telling people how to live their lives in dignity, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry sums it up well when he says, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.”