From ELM: Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) believes the public witness of gender and sexual minority ministers transforms the church and enriches the world.
It is ELM’s practice to boldly confront the barriers experienced by LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, plus) ministers and candidates. We confess with lament and righteous anger that both our Church and our World are built on systems that do not honor and protect the full humanity of gender and sexual minorities. In many cases, these systems seek to harm, shame, erase, and even kill LGBTQIA+ people, especially trans, intersex, and gender-expansive people, interlocking with racism and white supremacy, classism, ableism, sexism, and other modes of domination and exclusion.
We boldly proclaim: NO!
This is NOT God’s vision of the Kin-dom as modeled in the prophetic justice of Jesus Christ. As news circulates that the current U.S. administration seeks to erase trans, gender-expansive, and intersex identities through defining people (and the legal protections they receive) in a false binary of either male or female, many are echoing with us:
NO! Our intersex, gender-expansive, and trans siblings in Christ #WontBeErased!
It is our collective call to:
–Center & amplify the stories and platforms of trans, gender-expansive, and intersex communities.
–Issue clear action directives to cisgender and straight allies, and see them through in solidarity.
–Utilize our unique faith-enriched ministry tools and practices toward radical reframing and healing.
Over the past week, members of our community have been speaking out in powerful ways. We have been in dialogue with ten collaborators: pastors, vicars, and lay leaders across the gender spectrum striving for relationship, conversation, and solidarity. In the next several blogs, contributors will address the above calls. We begin by hearing directly from those in the trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex community.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries
NOTE: While we encourage giving financial gifts to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, we especially lift up the missions of several excellent organizations specifically serving trans, gender-expansive, and intersex communities with both emergency response and sustained projects. We recommend Out Magazine’s “7 Action Items to Protect Trans and GNC People” for a list of organizations.
It is our collective call to center & amplify the stories and platforms of trans, gender-expansive, and intersex people. Below, find writing from within the trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex community.
God is Still Creating You
“In the beginning, God created day and night. But have you ever seen a sunset!?!? Well trans and non-binary people are kind of like that. Gorgeous. Full of a hundred shades of color you can’t see in plain daylight or during the night.
In the beginning God created land and sea. But have you ever seen a beach?!?! Well trans and non-binary people are kind of like that. Beautiful. A balanced oasis that’s not quite like the ocean, nor quite like the land.
In the beginning God created birds of the air and fish of the sea. But have you ever seen a flying fish, or a duck or a puffin that swims and flies, spending lots of time in the water and on the land!?!? Well trans and non-binary people are kind of like that. Full of life. A creative combination of characteristics that blows people’s minds.
In the beginning God also created male and female, in God’s own image, God created them. So in the same way that God created realities in between, outside of, and beyond night and day, land and sea, or fish and birds, so God also created people with genders beyond male and female. Trans and non-binary and agender and intersex, God created us. All different sorts of people for all different sorts of relationships. Created from love to love and be loved. In God’s image we live.”
God is still creating you. You are no less beautiful and wild than a sunset or a beach or a puffin. You are loved. You have a place here.”
-Rev. Asher O’Callaghan, Proclaim Member
Coming Out Forever
“The hardest part about coming out as non-binary is that I feel like I have been coming out forever– like there is no end to coming out and I am sick of being required or expected to come out to everyone in my life. Because part of the way I live into my non-binary identity is by using they/them pronouns, I constantly have to navigate to whom and in which contexts it is safe to be out and then who and where it is safe to correct when someone messes up. Particularly as a pastor, it is difficult to dance between pastoral care, self care, financial sustainability, and the justice at the heart of bringing my whole self to ministry contexts.
The best thing is that there are people in my life who celebrate with me the constant exploration and revelation that is my identity, who journey with me, who question with me, who invite me into deeper discernment around my own individual identity and communal identity. It has also been a joy to more openly live into the fullness of my queerness and celebrate and affirm the ways that it informs my theology and my vocation.”
-Anonymous Pastor, Proclaim member
My Joy #WontBeErased
“It’s so hard to not shut down, not turn off, not run away. Because that’s what oppressors want to have happen. “If we get them numb enough, they won’t fight back.” I feel sorry for the oppressors that hate us because there is so, so much fear that’s being felt and not being addressed in healthy ways. And fear is what separates us. Fear is used to control. Fear is the work of the devil.
The kingdom of God is all joy, all love, all the time. Joy is the place where I choose to dwell. My fight against oppressors is joyfully being my truest transgender self. And that isn’t always easy. The most visible joy I’ve been practicing is glamorously sunbathing shirtless, showing scars from my recent gender-affirming surgery. Joy is how I resist oppression. Joy is where I am in relationship. My joy #WontBeErased.”
-Vicar Drew Stever, Proclaim Member