UCC leaders express sorrow over murder of transgender youth
December 2002

Following the violent killing of Gwen (Eddie) Araujo, a 17-year-old transgender youth from Newark, Calif., on Oct. 3, three UCC executives released a statement of solidarity and support.

"Gwen's death is a shocking reminder of the fear, prejudice and ignorance that fuel the power of hate to diminish and destroy life," the statement said.

"These events cry out to us that this is not what God intends," the statement continued. "There is much work to be done before we attain the vision of God's community, which is all-inclusive, open and affirming, multiracial- multicultural, and accessible to all."

According to police, Araujo was beaten and strangled at a house party by three men who attacked him after discovering that the beautiful blonde they knew was biologically male. They then drove the body from Newark, on the east side of San Francisco Bay, to the Sierra foothills, about 150 miles east of San Francisco, and buried it.

The UCC statement was signed by the Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President; Dale Bishop, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries; and the Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, Minister for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, Wider Church Ministries.

Their statement concluded: "May God grant us the courage to overcome fear with love, to open our hearts, minds and communities in new ways, and to live faithfully toward the vision of God's radically inclusive community."

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