Britain’s ‘first non-binary CofE priest’ says ‘God guided me to the truth’


Britain’s ‘first non-binary CofE priest’: 36-year-old vicar with three children reveals ‘God guided me to the truth about my gender identity’ and believes ‘Jesus loves sparkly eyeshadow’

  • Bingo Allison is believed to be the CofE’s first openly non-binary priest
  • Grew up in ‘strongly religious household’ and raised to see being gay as ‘sinful’ 
  • Visits schools and youth groups to show LGBT people ‘have a place in the church’

A non-binary vicar, thought to be the Church of England’s first, believes God ‘guided’ them to come out following an epiphany. 

Bingo Allison, 36, who is gender-queer, grew up in a ‘strongly religious’ household in West Yorkshire and was raised to believe being gay was ‘sinful’. 

But a 15-year journey, which included meeting other LGBTQ+ Christians, completely changed their ‘very traditional and conservative’ outlook on life. 

Bingo Allison, 36, is gender-queer and to their knowledge the Church of England’s first openly non-binary priest

They grew up in a 'strongly religious' household in West Yorkshire and was raised to believe being gay was 'sinful'

They grew up in a ‘strongly religious’ household in West Yorkshire and was raised to believe being gay was ‘sinful’

‘I didn’t take the time to learn from other people’s experiences,’ Allison told the Liverpool Echo. 

‘I was definitely in a lot of denial and some of that denial came out in denial of other people’s identities.’ 

Allison came out seven years ago halfway through the Church of England’s vicar training programme after having an epiphany while reading the Old Testament. 

The third-generation vicar explained how the language which the bible originally used in Genesis 1:27 spoke about ‘from maleness to femaleness’ as opposed to men and women.

‘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,’ they said.  

At that point Allison had only met two openly gay people and no trans people, and there were times when they questioned their new gender identity. 

Now they visit schools and speak to youth groups to encourage other LGBTQ+ people they have a place in the church. 

They also use social media to spread their message, and in one playful post wrote how ‘Jesus loves sparkly eyeshadow’ 

Allison uses social media to spread their message and in one playful post wrote how 'Jesus loves sparkly eyeshadow'

Allison uses social media to spread their message and in one playful post wrote how ‘Jesus loves sparkly eyeshadow’ 

A photo of Allison being ordained in 2020 at St Margaret's Toxteth in the Diocese of Liverpool

A photo of Allison being ordained in 2020 at St Margaret’s Toxteth in the Diocese of Liverpool

A photo from the ceremony in September 2020. Allison believes they are the first non-binary Church of England vicar

A photo from the ceremony in September 2020. Allison believes they are the first non-binary Church of England vicar 

Allison says they are constantly impressed by how ‘open-minded’ younger people are. 

A recent survey by Stonewall found that more than a quarter of younger people now identify as LGBT. 

The LGBTQ+ charity claimed 71 per cent of Gen Z respondents – those aged 16 to 26 – identify as straight.

The figure is a contrast to the Baby Boomer generation – those aged 56 to 75 – in which 91 per cent described themselves as straight. 

Of the next generation, Gen X, described as being those aged 43 to 56, Stonewall said 87 per cent said they were straight.

The figure was 82 per cent for Millennials – those aged 27 to 42 – according to the charity. 

In its report, which uses data from polling company Ipsos UK, Stonewall said the results show Britain is becoming a ‘rainbow nation’. 

They came out seven years ago halfway through the Church of England's vicar training programme after having an epiphany while reading the Old Testament

They came out seven years ago halfway through the Church of England’s vicar training programme after having an epiphany while reading the Old Testament

Now they visit schools and speak to youth groups to encourage other LGBTQ+ people they have a place in the church

Now they visit schools and speak to youth groups to encourage other LGBTQ+ people they have a place in the church

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