Religious leaders from Christian and Jewish faith communities are praising the Obama Administration's actions expanding discrimination protections to include transgender youth in the nation’s public schools. In a letter to President Barack Obama, the authors — which include six ministers from the United Church of Christ or its related institutions — applauded the administration’s intent to expand Title IX — written in 1972 to prohibit sex discrimination — to cover "gender identity, including discrimination based on a student's transgender status."
"We recognize that this is a confusing and even unsettling issue for many, while for others who have faced discrimination this has been a harmful experience long ignored. From our perspective, however, you have simply taken another step toward creating a nation where the basic civil rights of all are protected," the letter reads. More than 300 people of faith are signed on as endorsers.
Among the UCC religious leaders who signed the letter are the Rev. Traci Blackmon (Acting Executive Minister, UCC Justice and Witness Ministries), the Rev. Alice Hunt (President of Chicago Theological Seminary), the Rev. Chuck Currie (Director, Center for Peace & Spirituality and University Chaplain at Pacific University), the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite (Professor of Theology and President Emerita, Chicago Theological Seminary), the Rev. Deborah Krause (Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament, Eden Theological Seminary) and the Rev. Michael Neuroth (UCC Policy Advocate for International Issues based in Washington D.C.)
"We believe that protecting young people from discrimination is consistent with our faith. Love – not fear – should be our guiding principle. We challenge those who might respond to this decision to open their hearts and listen to the stories, particularly of transgender students, who are so often marginalized," write the faith leaders.
Read the full letter here.