Memorial Holiness Camp Policy Regarding Accommodating Transgender Persons
As a ministry of the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church, Memorial Holiness Camp embraces a biblical view of gender as a category of creation rather than as a purely social construct. We believe, with our parent church-body, that God “created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). In creation there is no distinction made between biological sex and a social category of gender. If the realities to which those two terms point can be differentiated, they can also never be separated. One’s gender is derived from one’s sex, and that is a given fact of one’s biological existence as a creature.
We acknowledge that some people, including brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, experience something clinically known as gender dysphoria. These individuals, many of whom accept the label, ‘transgender,’ feel that their true gender identity is different from their biological sex, and some of these brothers and sisters seek access to bathing and housing facilities reserved for the gender with which they feel subjectively aligned.
For those transgender persons who wish to attend camp, we say – you are welcome here! God loves you and we are excited to have you in our midst! We want to do everything we can to make your time at camp spiritually fruitful. If you feel you cannot use the facilities designated for members of your biological sex, we would like to make available for you alternate and individual accommodations along the following lines:
1. If you are a transgender adult seeking overnight accommodations in a cabin or campsite – just register online as you please – you’re welcome to any cabin or campsite that is available.
2. If you are a transgender youth who does not feel comfortable saying in a cabin with or
using the bath facilities for members of your birth gender (biological sex), we would like
to make an individual room available to you, along with the use of an individual
bathroom. You will need parental consent for these unique accommodations, as no
counselor or adult supervisor will be in the room with you after lights out. We cannot
offer you use of the facilities for the gender with which you subjectively identify for the
a. As a Christian ministry, we believe we are called to encourage you to love the body you’ve been given and to be reconciled to the realities of your existence as a creation of God – including your biological sex. Our beliefs in this matter have been outlined above.
b. While we are willing to make some special accommodations for you by granting you a private room and bathroom, we feel it would unduly burden others if we granted you access to the facilities of the gender with which you identify. If we offered you access to the use of the facilities of the gender with which you identify, it would make others feel uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. We must take the feelings, comfort level, and safety (both real and perceived) of the whole community (including yours) into account in handling the use of the bathing and cabin facilities. We believe that granting transgender persons, such as yourself, the use of a private set of facilities best balances the needs of everyone who would be effected, though we know there is no perfect solution, and ask for you to bear with us and assist us in working toward an agreeable solution in your specific case.
3. If you need such facilities but are concerned about your privacy, please know that only the camp director and the camp youth directors will be privy to the details of your accommodations, and we will not call attention to you or single you out in any other way before other youth or the counseling staff. If there are other ways in which we can guard your privacy and dignity, please let us know and we will work with you as best we can.
Finally, we wish to reiterate, with deep sincerity, our love for all people, including those who identify as transgender, and our desire to accommodate them in so far as our consciences – guided by our faith – and the needs of the wider community we serve, can allow. We hope to see you at camp soon! If you have questions about this policy or the reasoning behind it, or if you wish to inquire about alternate accommodations, please don’t hesitate to contact the camp director.
In God’s Service,
The Memorial Holiness Camp Leadership Team