How We Can Show Up for the Trans Community
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision allowing the transgender military ban to go into effect is another reminder that the transgender community is under attack by the current administration. They are being painted as dangerous deviants whose very existence threatens our nation.
How can Christians who are rooted in a theology of love, acceptance and hospitality respond to what is happening? How do we live out our faith as allies for the trans community?
So I reached out to my friends who are part of the trans community, many of whom are activists for that community and gleaned some of the things that we can do to advocate and be an ally for transgender people.
- Pay attention to your language. We Christians use a lot of Brothers and Sisters, which excludes those who embrace a non-binary existence or are unsure as to how they identify. Moving to words like friends, beloved, community and kindred can go a long way in making people feel included.
- Include transgender people in your churches and other communities. Create a space where they feel welcome and accepted. This may require you to do a little educating and paving of the way.
- Call out your friends (in a loving way) when they make derogatory remarks about trans people, and let them know it’s not okay. Think of it has an opportunity to educate rather than castigate.
- Acknowledge your privilege, especially if you are a cis-gendered, straight person who has never had to justify your right to be who you are. Know that we don’t know what it’s like.
- Listen to the stories of transgender people
- Advocate for gender neutral restrooms.
- Vote and support the candidates who will support human rights for all.
- Connect with the National Center for Transgender Equality. You may think this fight is new, but the center has been around for 15 years. They have tons of information about issues facing the trans community and how you can help.
The Jesus we follow is the same Jesus who always reached out to those on the margins–the unclean, the untouchable and the unacceptable. We, in turn, are called to reach out to those people in our world–to bear witness that they are indeed clean and embraceable and very much welcome.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).