Contributed by Archbishop and Primate Linda Nicholls
At the last Council of General Synod meeting, one of the members made an important announcement. After a long period of discernment, they announced their decision to change their birth name to reflect claiming their identity as transgender. This announcement took courage.
Every year, people are attacked, murdered or commit suicide because of their identity as transgender — 388 people worldwide in the last year alone. Others experience ridicule or discrimination in their community or workplace. As a Christian community our baptismal covenant calls us to respect the dignity of every human being and to seek justice for all persons. We stand with all seeking to live into all they are called to be by their Creator.
Today, November 20, is the international Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) — a day to recall those who have or will suffer violence simply due to their identity. I invite your prayers for those seeking to live into the identity they know within and to stand with them against any violence, verbal abuse, hate speech or injustice that denies them their place in our human community and our church.
A small starting place is to ask for and acknowledge the pronouns that people prefer used in reference to themselves. At the Council of General Synod, we have invited all members to include their pronouns on their name tag (in-person) or Zoom box (online). I still stumble at times over ‘they/them’, but I know that honouring the identity of the person I am speaking to, is a powerful way to live into respecting their dignity. With their help, I am learning new ways to honour the diversity of human expression God has created. We can begin the change that is needed.
Join me in prayer today…
Gracious and loving God,
you made all of humankind in your image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son:
On this International Transgender Day of Remembrance,
we remember those who were killed because of their all-encompassing humanity;
help us to overcome our anger and our fear of those whose lives move beyond our binary definitions;
draw us closer to the mystery and complexity of your infinite creativity and creation;
teach us to look upon all of God’s children with love and compassion,
that we may all live in safety and in peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
—Prayer by The Rev. Marie A. Tatro,
Vicar for Community Justice Ministry,
The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island