Since January 2023, over 80 pieces of anti-trans legislation have been proposed across the country, and many have actually been signed into law. For example, in June, the Texas legislature passed several bills that banned gender-affirming care for youth, placed harsher restrictions on trans athletes, and expanded the legal definition of sexual conduct to target drag shows.
The Christian faith is being represented by a small minority to push forward a hateful agenda against trans people. It is time for the rest of the church to remember the greatest commandments to love God and others and to put this love into action.
In Your Church
The church has a complicated history when it comes to acceptance of the trans community. There are many faith groups that do not even attempt to understand what these beloved children of God go through, whether it be the body image dysmorphia that many of them experience or the outright discrimination they face in society. Far too often, the church mirrors the hateful messages they receive from those who refuse to see beyond the gender binary.
This means it's even more important for congregations that grasp the truth of God's love to be sanctuaries for trans people. Furthermore, it's not work that can be done only within the walls of the church. Your church must be outspoken in its support. Otherwise, it's unlikely that trans folks, especially those who have had bad experiences with faith communities in the past and are among the most vulnerable, will risk attending.
In Your Words
While it's important that your church speak out against trans discrimination, it shouldn't stop there. Individual members also need to be bold in their support. When a group is actively targeted, it's not enough to abstain from hateful speech. As a person of faith, you are called to shine light on injustice, wherever it occurs.
There are several ways you can use your words to communicate support. When you introduce yourself, get into the habit of giving not only your name but your pronouns. This not only provides clarity for the people you meet but also tells them that you recognize that a person's gender cannot be assumed based solely on visual cues. If you notice others misgendering a trans person, gently correct them so that they can rectify the mistake.
In Your Actions
Fighting against oppression is a solid way to show the love of God to those who are targeted. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. Start by looking for organizations that are providing support for trans folks who are vulnerable to attack. It's likely that there are active groups in your area that serve your local community, but there are also several national organizations that provide aid throughout the country:
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Trans Women of Color Collective
- Trans Youth Equality Foundation
- Transgender Law Center
Donating money is a direct way to support the work that is already being done to provide legal help, educational funding, and practical provisions to trans folks. If you live in a state that has proposed anti-trans legislation, write and call your state legislators to let them know where you stand. Finally, you can partner with local organizations to engage in protests or provide resources for people in your community.
Unfortunately, there will always be people in the world who try to take away the rights of others. It is up to everyone else to recognize and oppose these hateful efforts. People of faith can (and should) lead the charge against trans oppression at every level. It's simply the right thing to do.