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#WontBeErased: Allies Stand Up

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From ELM: November 12-19th is Transgender Awareness Week! An annual effort to celebrate and raise visibility for the transgender and gender non-conforming community as well as continuing the movement to end the violence so many face. November 20th is Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) that honors the memory and lives of transgender/GNC people who have become ancestors (many through acts of hate). In recognition of the importance of this week, ELM is adding on to our blog from 10/25/18 Wont Be Erased. This time, with specific instruction and call to action for allies to the trans/GNC community. Written by and for allies from the Proclaim community, we know that solidarity is powerful and protection is needed for those most vulnerable in our communities. Take heed, take notes, it’s time to step it up!
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 issue clear action directives to cisgender and straight allies, and see them through in solidarity. Below, find writing from ministers that are cisgender allies from within the queer community, collectively drafted by Rev. Lenny Duncan, Rev. Brenda Bos, and Proclaim Member Analyse Triolo.

The first step in destroying a group of people is to dehumanize them. Our government’s proposal to erase transgender identity is a depraved and evil step toward inviting and justifying violence and death. People of faith MUST say no, calling on our congregations to resist, vote against oppression, and become aware of the life and beauty of transgender, intersex and gender-expansive people in our midst. This is not a political statement, this is a LOVE OF ALL HUMANS statement. Our beloved trans, intersex, and gender-expansive friends are not lost and mistaken, they are people, created in God’s image, valued and honored. How can this even be up for debate? Shout it from the rooftops, proclaim it from your pulpits, tell everyone you can. Transgender, gender-expansive, and intersex people are fearfully and wonderfully made. Use their pronouns, speak directly and comfortably about gender diversity in everyday conversations, continue to lift up your friendships and respect for
transgender/ gender-expansive/ intersex siblings. It matters.


Cisgender Ally/ Accomplice/ Co-Conspirator Statement of Renunciation
We co-conspirators/ allies/ accomplices of our trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex siblings in Christ renounce the abhorrent use of reductive, binary scriptural understanding often used to limit rights and protections of all God’s children.


We have watched with increasing horror as the current administration tries to tighten the noose around this community’s neck. The erasure of our intersex, trans, and gender-expansive siblings’ identities is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is grounded in the false paradigm that the only way to gain freedom in the church or in this country is through the oppression of the vulnerable. The obsession others claiming the identity of the church have with the destruction of an entire group of people is deeply disturbing and not our understanding of the narrative arc of scripture.


WE AFFIRM that our trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex siblings are wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of God. This same God that the scriptural witness tells us is a liberating God who has broken the chains of oppressed peoples throughout human history.


WE BELIEVE that grace is a disruptive force to the powers of empire which we define as rulers, tyrants, and leaders who gain power on the backs of the most vulnerable. We know the average lifespan for a Black trans woman is 35 years in this country. We have watched their public lynchings and the callous attitude much of the church has had to these horrific acts. We know that we worship a savior who was publicly lynched and received the same disdain. To codify in the policies and law of this land the continued hatred of our trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex siblings is unacceptable.


WE CALL on all called and ordained leaders, laity, and seminarians of the ELCA to speak with one voice. We do this out of love but also out of self defense. An attack on one part of the body of Christ is an attack on us all. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.


WE ASK the faithful everywhere the following:


We ask you to profess your faith in Christ Jesus, reject sin, and confess the faith of the church.
We ask you to renounce this administration’s attacks on our trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex siblings, and all the forces that defy God.
We ask you to renounce the powers of this world that rebel against God’s grace being offered to all people.
We ask you to renounce laws and policies that are codified to attack our trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex siblings and the abhorrent sin of oppressing the vulnerable, because it draws us- a church and a nation- away from God.


Call to Action Ideas for Allies:
    1. Vote for leaders and policies that affirm the trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex communities.
    2. Lift up and amplify trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex voices and organizations.
    3. Name and call out transphobia and implicit bias against trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex people, including (y)our own.
    4. Take to the Comments section of supportive statements (like that of ELCA presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton) to address trolls who respond with hatred instead of God’s liberating love.
    5. Educate yourself on trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex issues and experiences. Encourage other cisgender persons to do the same.
    6. Follow trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex faith leaders and journalists, and signal-boost their work or sign up for their newsletters. And when you see articles about the trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex community appearing in mainstream media or faith contexts, hold them accountable by asking why a trans/ gender-expansive/ intersex person didn’t write or appear in the piece.
    7. Publicly renounce Trump’s proposed redefinition of gender and other discriminatory policies in personal and social media interactions.
    8. Give your spiritual gifts (think time, talent, treasure) to this movement. Some trans-led organizations include (from Out Magazine)Audre Lorde ProjectBrave Space AllianceCasa RubyFamilia: Trans Queer Liberation MovementFierceOrganizacion Latina de Trans en TexasSoutherners on New GroundSylvia Rivera Law ProjectTrans Latin@ CoalitionTrans Law Center, and Trans Lifeline. More comprehensive lists can be found at the Trans Justice Funding Project and Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations.

by Lura Groen, Proclaim Member 
 
6.14.16 
Initially published this in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016. We are reissuing an updated version with permission from the author.
My colleague the Rev Carolyn Albert Donovon took one of my recent Facebook posts, and turned it into this lovely liturgy. It’s intended to be used when the LGBTQIA+ community must gather to mourn and celebrate. I invite you to use it in its entirety as you wish, but request that you don’t omit our sex being holy. It is best if the leader is a person who identifies as LGBTQIA+, even if that is not the clergy person, but can be used in settings where that is not possible.
 
The leader will read the non-bolded text, which may then be repeated by the people gathered. If you identify as LGBTQIA+, you may choose to say “our” while those who do not identify as LGBTQIA+ may choose to read “your” at the beginning of each line. We do this not because cisgender, heterosexual folks are not holy in these ways, too, but because it is LGBTQIA+ people who have been told over and over and over that they are not, and these are days when we need to claim aloud that excluding LGBTQIA+ people from our understanding of the sacred has been and still is a violent lie – perpetuated for many long years by the church. We raise our voices to correct this lie.  We also honor those who choose to remain in silence.
 
My Beloved Queer Ones,
 
(y)our lives are holy.
(y)our lives are holy.
(y)our dancing is holy.
(y)our dancing is holy.Rev. Lura Preaching
(y)our protest is holy.
(y)our protest is holy.
(y)our grief is holy.
(y)our grief is holy.
(y)our rage is holy.
(y)our rage is holy.
(y)our community is holy.
(y)our community is holy.
(y)our gender identities are holy.
(y)our gender identities are holy.
(y)our gender expressions are holy.
(y)our gender expressions are holy.
(y)our gender journeys are holy.
(y)our gender journeys are holy.
(y)our bodies are holy.
(y)our bodies are holy.
(y)our sex is holy.
(y)our sex is holy.
(y)our love is holy.
(y)our love is holy.
(y)ou are holy.
(y)ou are holy.
We are holy.

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