While we appreciate those emphasizing that Governor Abbott’s directive may not be enforceable, we recognize this move as yet another example of how trans people and our families are being used as wedge issues in an ongoing culture war. The letter is an intimidation tactic, designed to foment stigma and instill fear. We are weary of the waves of anti-trans legislation that have been hitting our community across the United States in recent years. We abhor the targeting of trans youth—particularly trans girls—and their families in these most recent efforts, building on the years of so-called bathroom bills that have been fueled particularly by trans misogyny.
Trans young people and their families need our support and encouragement. They need upholding in community, to be lifted up, encouraged, and celebrated as the people they are and are becoming. Trans and nonbinary people are made in God’s image and called by God to embody the sacredness of who we are within the full gender spectrum of God’s creation.
We are grateful that, recognizing the fear that trans students and families in Texas are navigating, people of good will are stepping up and speaking out. The Right Reverend C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, wrote earlier today, “There is no requirement for anyone to report the existence of trans kids or their parents in one of our Episcopal Churches or schools. The gov’s statement has no force of law. ALL people are welcome in churches of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas without fear - we offer only love.” Thank you, Bishop Doyle. We very much concur: only love.
We thank the Reverend Gay Jennings, President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, who issued a letter of strong support for the trans community today. We especially appreciate President Jennings’ declaration, followed by four concrete actions we all can take: “No matter where transgender children of God are under threat, the Episcopal Church must stand with them in love and solidarity. To ensure that we are a church in which vulnerable people are not only welcomed, but also protected, Episcopalians must respond with our voices, our votes and our prayers. Here are four things we can all do:
- Write your senators and tell them to pass the Equality Act, which would for the first time include sexual orientation and gender identity alongside race, gender, religion, national origin, age, and disability as protected classes where federal law bans discrimination.
- Make it clear that your diocese, your congregation and your community welcome transgender people and their families and will strive to protect them. Where this is not the case, work to make it so.
- Advocate against anti-transgender legislation when it comes before your state legislature. Write to your state elected officials and tell them that you support the dignity and equality of transgender people because of your faith, not in spite of it.
- And please join me in praying for transgender children in Texas, for their parents and caretakers, and for all transgender people everywhere who face discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry.”