In this issue:
Once again on November 20, transgender persons will gather with friends and allies to memorialize their brothers and sisters who have been killed during the past year simply because they were being who they needed to be.
Feb. 6 -10, 2008
Creating Change Conference
June 25 -29, 2008
One Tribe, One Table
(Joint Fellowship/Coalition Gathering)
July 24 - 28, 2008
National Youth Event
Health and Wholeness Advocacy
Wider Church Ministries
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
(216)736-3218 / 1-866-8224, ext. 3218
Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive
Rev. Lori Tisher, Intern
Since its beginning nine years ago in San Francisco, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has become an international tradition with thousands of people gathering in more than 300 locations across the world to recall the lives of these victims of fear and hatred.
Each of the eight Remembrance events I have coordinated in Minnesota have left me both intensely sad and extremely angry. As members of our local community read the names of the latest victims, along with a brief story of their lives and tragic deaths, and candles are lit to commemorate their absence from our lives, I find myself struggling to comprehend the reasons why people would kill others just because they don’t conform to society’s view of what gender should be.
If there is a Transgender Day of Remembrance gathering in your community, I urge you to join it. If there is none, consider starting one this year!
Barbara Satin is a transgender activist from Minneapolis. She serves (as the first transgender woman) on the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ. Barbara is also one of the founders of GLBT Generations, a group working to educate people about the needs of GLBT persons as they grow old. Her organization has been the catalyst for the development in Minneapolis of a new 41 unit senior GLBT housing cooperative in conjunction with Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ, her church community.
Helpful links and resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance:
- Prayer for Transgender Day of Remembrance
- UCC Social Policy Statement Supporting Transgender Persons
- Call Me Malcolm: One Man's Struggle with Faith, Love, and Gender Identity
- Open and Affirming Study Packet: Transgender Pocket
- Transgender Day of Remembrance (main web site)
- TransFaith (Transgender Christian resources on the web)
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Nov. 7, 2007, moving forward legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity and expression.
The vote, 235 to 184, marks the first time ever that either chamber of Congress has passed employment protections based on sexual orientation, but the removal of transgender persons from protections has saddened many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)activists, including LGBT leaders in the UCC.
To read more about these UCC leaders' perspectives: UCC leaders on ENDA: House-approved, transgender-omitted bill ‘simply not enough’.
Out in Scripture (www.hrc.org/scripture), an online resource developed by the Human Rights Campaign, places weekly comments about the Bible alongside real life experiences and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of faith and our allies.
All kinds of things can happen when you enter into the conversations that you find at Out In Scripture. Some LGBT people of faith have found comfort by hearing God’s word of inclusion and seeing themselves for the first time in Scripture. They’ve brought their own questions and experiences to Bible verses often used only to discriminate and injure them in their churches and society. Others have discovered faithful and skilled scholars and pastors, many who are LGBT themselves, who say “We’re Christian people of faith. Find home among us.” Others, including congregations, supported by a fresh liberating understanding of Scripture, have been empowered to take a bold stand for equality in both the political sphere and their own communities of faith.
God, it seems, has been moving among us, bringing comfort as well as empowering many for the work of equality and justice for LGBT people. Each week, Out in Scripture shows that there is comfort, there is inclusion, there is empowerment, and there is challenge, throughout the scriptures.
Rev. Dr. Sidney D. Fowler is editor for Out in Scripture. He has worked for the national settings of both the United Church of Christ in worship and spiritual formation and the United Methodist Church in educational curriculum. He is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor and lives in Washington, D.C.