Transgender Day of Remembrance

Letter/Litany of Lament, Confession, and Commitment from the United Church of Christ Council of Conference Ministers

Scripture tells us that, “we are one body in Christ.” That if, “one part of the body suffers, we all suffer, and if one rejoices, we all rejoice” (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). Trans and nonbinary youth and adults are sacred members of our collective kin-dom. Without their tapestry woven into our story, we are missing vital pieces of God’s creation.

Indeed, from creation to this moment, God charges us to tend to one another’s bodies, minds, and spirits as part of all creation. We all share the imprint of the Image of God, and we hold a responsibility to the tender care and love of one another. How can we embrace the abundance that God gave us to flourish if we cannot see that its flourishing lives within the multitudes of God’s children?

On this Trans Day of Remembrance, we remember and name those who have been killed because of their trans identities. It is also an opportunity to notice the many other ways Christ’s Body, one body that identifies in many ways, including trans and nonbinary, is wounded. If one part of the Body experiences harm, the entire Body is harmed. At this very moment, the Body of Christ is considering suicide because the hormone blockers she was counting on to survive the cruelties of puberty are now against the law. The Body of Christ is confused because his elementary school teachers believe they are now forbidden from talking about his lesbian mothers. The Body of Christ is angry because their teacher, protected by law, refuses to call them by their name. The joy of the Body of Christ is stifled because his love of makeup and dresses is forbidden in public spaces.

Today is a critical moment in which we are called to confess our missteps, ground our feet, and act in protecting and celebrating the lives of trans and nonbinary youth and adults.

As siblings in Christ and members of the United Church of Christ, we look to Jesus for guidance. Jesus said, “Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34). Jesus didn’t go to the margins and bring those suffering, injured or persecuted to the center. Jesus stayed with and at the margin. Jesus declared boldly this is what love looks like in action.

Therefore, we embrace our siblings, sisters, and brothers in Christ who are trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive. With them, we rejoice in their resiliency and joy in the face of unprecedented legal and bodily assaults on their personhood. With them, we grieve and decry all attempts to erase them and their experiences from schools, libraries, hospitals, and other public spaces. We remember those who have been killed and grieve with those who love them still.

We also confess that we have not always loved our neighbor as we love ourselves. We lament the broken covenants between churches, conferences, and other settings of the church, and our beloved siblings who are diminished, erased, or left behind.

  • We confess that not all of us in the Body of Christ view the life and joy of trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive people equally, and that this breaks the Body of Christ.
  • We confess that not all the doors of our sanctuaries, our ministries, and our Conferences have been kept open wide enough, inclusive enough for the fullness and richness of the Body of Christ that encompasses the vast experiences and lived realities of LGBTQIA+ people of faith.
  • And we confess that our confessions are not enough. We must act with our feet, our mouths, our eyes, and our hearts toward liberation of all LGBTQIA+ people in this moment and beyond.

So, with this confession, we pledge to act collaboratively:

  • We pledge to listen to those in the Body of Christ who are trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive.
  • We pledge to invite the experiences of trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive people to inform our spirits, our minds, our theologies, and our ministries.
  • We pledge to voice opposition to any legislation or policy that diminishes the health and flourishing of our trans, nonbinary, or gender expansive siblings, or that seeks to exclude these siblings from public spaces.

As our siblings, sisters, and brothers in Christ, and as members of the Body of Christ, we invite all members and friends of the United Church of Christ to join us in this lament, confession, and pledge to action.

We are always yours in Christ Jesus,

The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ

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