November 20, 2023
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. Trans women 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 2021, the Human Rights Campaign recorded that at least 57 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were murdered in the U.S. alone due to their gender presentation.
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. The 225th General Assembly (2022), however, made several affirming decisions impacting trans and nonbinary people and how the church lives into being an expansive place of belonging. In addition to passing A Resolution for Trans Women of Color, the Assembly also approved adding inclusive gender options when gender information is collected by any entity in the PC(USA). Further, presbyteries will be voting on the General Assembly’s recommendation to remove binary gender language in the Book of Order (for example, make “all men and women” “all people”). Finally, the Assembly approved the creation of an LGBTQIA+ Equity Advocacy Committee to serve as a prophetic witness to and for the church, permanent monitors and advocates for trans and nonbinary people.
We still have far to go, but the PC(USA) has stepped into a trajectory of inclusion, belonging and healing. May our daily work and prayer reflect lives emboldened to live the call to love.
 hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2021 (This number is likely low, as often these cases go unreported.)
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:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jashalund Royston, Research Analyst II, Research Services, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Cindy Rubin, Administrative Assistant, Ministry Engagement & Support, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
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.