One of the primary sins of the Church regarding people who identify as lesbian or gay is a lack of recognition, the denial of your existence. In the Church, often within more conservative circles we don’t even want to admit the possibility that there might be homosexuals among us. Sermons are geared for heterosexuals, from gender roles (the duties of a man towards a woman) to relationships (what every woman should look for in a God-fearing man).
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance and I’d like to take a small moment to admit that I’m guilty of the same sin (to use religious terms).
I’m guilty of ignoring transgender people. In my apathy and lack of action I’ve denied the existence of transgender people and ignored the often harrowing ways in which society treats transgendered individuals.
I’m a person of privilege. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had an overtly negative reaction as a gay male. Delaware is a very gay-friendly state and the school where I work is a relatively affirming place.
When I went to OUT for Work this fall, I was glad to be confronted by someone in a discussion group about the results for a national survey on discrimination towards people who are trans. The results are heartbreaking. We can’t ignore this.
I appreciate what Samonte Cruz had to say on Facebook. It’s a short article where the results of the national survey (TDOR) get brought up – it’s well worth reading, I think. I will include one short excerpt I find key in the article:
“There are many factors that contribute to the deaths of the people included in the TDOR project and in memorializing them we can’t just pick and choose which identities will best advance our political cause. We must honor them as whole people, complex as it may be. Working in solidarity with indigenous activists & anti-poverty movements do not detract from our work but instead makes us stronger, creates allies & builds long lasting community.” (Italics and underlining my own.)
As MLK said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It’s gonna take all of us if we want a society that’s rid of this sort of gross discrimination. I used to be of the persuasion “One thing at a time. Let’s find for LGB rights and then work on transgender stuff.”
Now I think that that approach is bullshit. If we want to think of ourselves as the LGBT community (which I do anyways) we can’t let these precious people down while they face what I’m sure at times feels like insurmountable obstacles. I don’t want to commit the same gross sins that the Church committed against me for the first 20 years of my life. I don’t want to perpetuate any more hurt.