At its highest levels, the Episcopal Church has affirmed trans/nonbinary people as made in the image of God. The Church has affirmed our presence and our leadership, lay and ordained alike, at all of its levels. Because we know that laws and policies that define and administer gender can facilitate or undermine our lives in very real ways, the Episcopal Church has been working at the churchwide level for over a decade to open the Church’s own canons and policies. The Church took further steps in that work at its triennial General Convention this summer, and our work continues.
Should it be fully realized, the Trump administration’s proposal could have serious and far-reaching implications for trans and/or nonbinary, intersex and broadly gender non-conforming people in access to health care, education, housing, employment, travel, public accommodations, and basic safety. Its most detrimental impact could be felt by people who experience transphobia combined with racism, misogyny, xenophobia, classism, and/or ableism. We think of how this news has emerged in a week when President Trump has also been vilifying a group of migrants making their way north to seek asylum, having been displaced by dangerous situations in Honduras and Guatemala. As Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches next month, we grieve the disproportionate loss of far too many transgender women of color, including Roxana Hernandez who died in May while in the custody of ICE. We are mindful of the trans/nonbinary community in Massachusetts whose protected access to public accommodations is being put to a statewide vote next week (please vote #YesOn3). We deplore the exploitation of various marginalized groups as wedge issues to stoke fear and hate. We stand with all who are oppressed and used for political gain. No one can erase our basic humanity. No one can define us out of existence. Our light cannot be put out. As the queer slogan declares, we are everywhere.
In the Acts of the Apostles, an angry mob in Thessalonica, reacting to the ministry and teaching of Paul and Silas, declared, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6). The Good News they were proclaiming declared the casting down of the mighty from their thrones, the uplifting of the lowly, the release of captives, the freeing of the oppressed, the recovery of vision. Then and now, this vision threatens to turn the world of those at the center power upside down. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus Christ in this work. God calls all of us together, across lines of identity and embodiment to be a transformative people, to join in manifesting God’s vision for the world (basilea), the divine dream of justice poured out and peace that passes all understanding.
All of us are called to stand up in concrete ways for trans/non binary people, and indeed for all who are struggling against structural injustice and oppression. In this election season, where we can stand against direct efforts to undermine us, please do: vote, and do whatever you can to resist voter suppression. At your places of employment, in your cities and towns, in your congregations, make sure your trans/nonbinary neighbors have a voice. Reach out to one another, refuse isolation or attempts to pit us against one another, and build or strengthen relationships. Join in what our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called the Way of Love.
#WontBeErased #TransformTheVote #YesOn3 #WayofLove