Prayer vigil and new toolkit to mark upcoming Trans Day of Remembrance

Each year, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) creates space to grieve and honor the memory of trans siblings lost to violence.

To mark this day, the United Church of Christ will host a vigil to collectively hold space for honoring and remembering the names of trans siblings — those known and unknown — who have been lost. The special event from Gender and Sexuality Justice Ministries (GSJM) will take place Nov. 20, 7-8 p.m. ET.

“Remembering those who we have lost is a part of our liturgical practice as people of faith, and for queer siblings — especially trans siblings — TDOR serves as a practice of remembering and standing with one another in grief,” said Rachael Ward, team leader and minister for GSJM. “It’s especially critical, following this year’s highest anti-trans legislation, to show up in solidarity and in presence for trans siblings.”

Special guests

Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey will serve as guest preacher for the vigil. She currently serves as the South Region coordinator for TransSaints of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and as the Alabama State Director for the Human Rights Campaign.

“Carmarion is a champion for the transgender community and a connector of resource, care and passion for the inclusion of trans siblings across the world,” Ward said. “We are so grateful to have her presence for this service and to receive a word from her.”

Ryan Cassata, a transgender musical artist and activist, will offer music for the vigil.

Care for trans and non-binary siblings

A toolkit focused on building communal care for trans and non-binary siblings will be released at the vigil’s end as a guide for ongoing care and hope, according to Ward.

This is the first toolkit in a series to launch in 2024 as part of GSJM’s “Love is Louder: Love Your Neighbor OUT LOUD” initiative.

“In the last seven months, I’ve heard from clergy, lay leaders and community members of the deep need for a resource that helps them discern best steps to take in caring for trans siblings,” Ward said.

The toolkit, intended for churches, organizations and communities, is a direct response to that need.

It provides a comprehensive introduction to communal care, gender and sexuality, and affirming theology, as well as a five-step process that Ward invites people to journey through to support the flourishing of trans siblings.

Trans Day of Remembrance

Ward noted that TDOR originated in 1999 when transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1993. The vigil remembered all transgender people lost to violence since Hester’s death and led to the annual day of remembering those lost each year to violence.

This year’s vigil joins this ongoing legacy. Registration is available here.

“I encourage your church or community spaces to hold space with us,” Ward said.


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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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