Trailblazing trans priest Sarah Jones has said that God is “beautifully non-binary” in a powerful commentary on gender and religion.
In a wide-ranging interview with Attitude magazine, the Church of England priest revealed that she has recently started to question whether it’s correct to refer to God as “he”, as many religious denominations do.
“I grew up referring to God as ‘he’, but over the years I’ve started to question this,” Sarah Jones said.
“The creation story in Genesis, God makes humankind in our image – it’s ‘our’, the word is ‘our’. And what does God make? God makes male and female.
“If you put that together, I would say that somewhere within the heart of God is not just a ‘he’. God is beyond gender anyway, and I’d like to think that all possibilities, all of our notions of gender are somehow subsumed there and held in God.”
She added: “God is not a ‘he’. I don’t suppose God is a ‘she’, either. I think god is beautifully non-binary.”
Sarah Jones was painfully outed by a national newspaper
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging interview, Jones reflected on the painful experience of being outed as trans by a national newspaper following her ordination in 2004.
Jones opened up about the moment she received a phone call from a journalist saying they had been “tipped off” that she was transgender.
“I walked up and down the high street of the market town I lived in on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday [before the headlines] practising for what the next walk would be like,” Jones said.
For the most part, locals supported Jones after the story went out. The local bishop also defended her – but, of course, not everybody was so accepting.
A few people “quietly distanced themselves”, Jones admitted. It was a “worrying” time, but everything worked out in the end.
Jones went on to address the relentless stream of bile projected at trans people in the UK – by the media, politicians and social media trolls – admitting she was “caught by surprise by how politicised being trans has [become].”
“People who I would consider as allies, some of them have turned very critical against trans people and that’s been disturbing and quite upsetting,” Jones said.
“There isn’t an agenda, we’re not out to do anything but just be ourselves.”