In the wake of all the anti-trans bathroom bills flying around, I thought I would share my love and support of the Trans-Community and my history with them.
My first experience was as a resident assistant with a trans man at Ohio University.
In seminary, I was in class, neighbors with, and interned at a church with trans people there. Interestingly enough, my first high school crush is now male.
I’ve never had to make a decision about my gender. I’ve always felt like a straight male. Even though I’m a straight male who likes to communicate, talk about concepts and feelings, and explore issues. Sometimes the image of masculinity is “the strong silent type” and as you can see with the length of this blog, I am not that type.
There are many types of gender, not just one way to be a man or woman. There are even stances beyond the binary. As a pastor, I support any image that is constructive and doesn’t devalue or seek to demean another’s existence.
I have tried to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. This has come as a shock to many. I once was messaged on Facebook, “I have to ask you what your biblical backing is for supporting transgender people?”
I wrote back, “What, love your neighbor isn’t enough? And here’s a question for ya: Why is the burden for biblical backing on the ones showing compassion? Seems backwards to me. Or am I misreading your question and starting to get too defensive?”
This person used the lifestyle argument and spoke about how becoming trans is a choice because one has to do all those procedures to become trans. I tried to explain how the procedures are indeed a choice, but it is a sign of the internal feeling. A way of getting their body to look like how they feel and how this is a feeling that has been with them all their lives.
At our Trans Day of Remembrance a few years ago, we had two mothers from our area speak of their very young trans daughters. After the service, many trans-people stated, “I knew when I was their age.”
Now many of us, myself included, were born in bodies that matched our neuro-chemistry and we’ve never had a problem. But not all of us are like that. Knowing that, I shouldn’t seek to block others from the same rights that I enjoy. It shouldn’t block them from using the restroom. It shouldn’t cause kids to be bullied. Even if a trans person wasn’t born that way or experiences their gender as a choice, they still deserve rights and to be treated with dignity and respect.
For many of us in the congregation, our trans folk are our first experience of a transgender person. Yet the golden rule still applies.
Trans people are looking for a place to worship and love God. We’re in church for the same reason. And the second reason is similar, they are here to love their neighbor. Upon these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.
Are we loving our neighbor passing these bathroom bills? I don’t think so. And considering that the first person Philip baptizes in Acts 8 is a gender-nonconforming black man, it should give us some pause on who we think is in and who is out. Philip does this despite all the laws banning eunuchs from the community of God.
“In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female…” Galations 3:28. Both male and female metaphors have been applied to God. I don’t think God has a gender. Thus, I don’t see churches having much of a choice in this matter.
Now, I am no expert, I’m still learning. I’ve probably written something offensive or ignorant in this post. Yet the biggest thing I’ve learned about the trans community is that they’re just people. Like you. Like me. Well, maybe not like me, I’m part dinosaur.
If you’re interested, you can check out Call Me Malcolm, Transparent on Amazon or The Danish Girl if you’re into movies.
If you’re into reading, here are two great articles from the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition: Transgender: created in God’s image and a synod resolution that affirms the participation and ministry of Transgender people.
I’m sure you’ll also learn of more resources provided by my kind readers in the comments.