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Remember: Faith Communities Can Save Transgender Lives

by Chris Paige


  

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20 each year) is set aside to remember those lost to anti-transgender violence in the last year. Much of this violence is fueled by a sentiment that it is tacitly and explicitly reinforced by narrow understandings of gender, as well as outright transphobia and homophobia expressed in the name of a Christian God. Too many of us have not only heard "God condemns you" -- but also "It would be better if you were dead."

It is a profound and important step for every faith community to join in a resounding chorus that condemns all forms of violence against people who are differently gendered.

  • By vocally condemning anti-trans bullying, harassment, and hate crimes, we begin to chip away at the self-righteous fuel that feeds those who believe they are doing God's will by punishing the differently gendered.
  • By loudly proclaiming that people of all genders are beloved, we begin to address the rampant rate of depression and suicide among transgender youth and adults that so to often encouraged by religious judgment.
  • By reaching out in love to the transgender community, we begin to undermine the isolation and low self-esteem that can undergird substance abuse and high-risk behaviors (which inform high rates of HIV and AIDS).

Beyond the hate and judgment, trans people's lives are at risk because we so often struggle to meet our most fundamental needs such as safe employment and basic health care. Faith communities need to be out in front of such justice issues as well.

So, this year, let us (re)commit ourselves to the work of speaking up and speaking out, to the work of educating ourselves and educating others, to the work of reaching out in love.

Chris Paige
Publisher, Transfaith Online

  

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