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‘Transgender people cannot be erased’

Committee wants Presbyterians to protest Pentagon policy restricting transgender military service

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — An advocacy committee is calling on Presbyterians, including church leaders, to speak out against the Trump administration’s request last month that the Supreme Court fast-track a ruling on a Pentagon policy restricting military service by transgender people.

In a Nov. 30 letter, the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns said that no matter what policy is put into place, “we are all humans created in the imago Dei,” the image of God. It called the administration’s request to the high court “just another attempt to erase our siblings.”

The committee relies on two actions by the 223rd General Assembly (2018): 11-12, “On Affirming and Celebrating the Full Dignity and Humanity of People of All Gender Identities,” and 11-13, “On Celebrating the Gifts of People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities in the Life of the Church.”

The letter notes that 11-12 includes this language: “The assembly affirms the church’s obligation to stand for the right of people of all gender identities to live free from discrimination, violence and every form of injustice.”

That same item of business, approved by the assembly’s Social Justice Issues Committee and the majority of assembly commissioners, “empowers, authorizes and directs” the Stated Clerk and the Presbyterian Mission Agency, through its Office of Public Witness, to “advocate for the rights of transgender people and for legal protections to ensure and protect the full humanity and dignity of people of all gender identities.”

Under 11-12, the General Assembly “encourages congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to welcome transgender and gender non-binary people into the life of the church and to continue to grow in compassion and knowledge about the full expression of our individual and respective gender identities.”

Specifically, the Stated Clerk and the Office of Public Witness are authorized to support the right of transgender individuals to:

  • Serve in the military, and every type of government and public service
  • Full access to public accommodations, including gender-inclusive restrooms
  • Full legal protection against discrimination, particularly with regard to employment, housing, education and health care
  • Title IX (federal education law barring discrimination) protections that guarantee and safeguard the full rights of transgender individuals
  • Other legal protections that guarantee and safeguard the full rights of transgender individuals.



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