November 20, 2021
Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to name and mourn the many transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people murdered each year because of their gender identity. On this day, we raise awareness of the extreme violence committed against transgender people simply for existing as they are. On this day, we commit to the work of creating a healed world where all gender identities and gender presentations are met with not only respect but celebration.
Unfortunately, fear and hatred of transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people is stoked and encouraged by anti-transgender legislation that undermines the right of each of us to name ourselves and live according to our true identities. Politicians arguing over access to public restrooms and children’s sports teams undergird the irrational fear and hatred transgender people are forced to navigate in a world questioning their basic human rights. Discriminatory barriers to fair access to housing and employment put transgender people at increased risk of exposure to violence. Transwomen of color experience the highest risk of discrimination and violence due to the intersection of their racial and gender identities, those most vulnerable to oppression in our society.
In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign recorded 44 murders of transgender and gender-nonconforming people due to their gender presentation, and by October 2021, the number was up to 38 for that year. (See “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2021”: hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2021.)
In the context of the church, the erasure or ignoring of gender identities beyond male and female as well as the use of Scripture and theology as tools of exclusion and violence have made it challenging or impossible for transgender people to thrive in many communities of faith. In 2018, the 223rd General Assembly approved the overture Affirming and Celebrating the Full Dignity and Humanity of People of All Gender Identities. The fact that we need to affirm the dignity and humanity of any group of people signals how far we still have to go in recognizing the beauty of our Creator’s full image reflected in the vast diversity of Creation. Even so, the PC(USA) has committed to celebrating God’s image lived out in all people and to working for a world where all can not only have life, but life abundant.
Courtney J. Hoekstra, M.Div, Th.M., Associate for Advocacy Committee Support, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Transgender Day of Remembrance
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Breathe courage and love into us today, Creator. Make our words and actions those that overturn oppression and violence and create a world honoring every being made in your image. May we not rest until all may freely and abundantly live into the fullness of who you created them to be.