Trans Day of Visibility

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The International Transgender Day of Visibility, as conceived by its founder, Rachel Crandall, is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and their contributions to society, and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.

To simply say that trans people face discrimination grossly under-represents the harm and horror that persist against the trans community worldwide and in our churches. There has been and continues to be an absolute genocide enacted against trans folx. In particular, BIPOC trans people are murdered frequently and their stories often go untold. In the U.S. alone, over 400 bills have been introduced, many specifically targeting trans children. Similar laws are being proposed and enacted around the globe that seek to strip away transgender peoples’  rights and deny trans identity altogether. It’s quite literally illegal to be visible in some places. 

Protest is needed, rejecting policies that discriminate against transgender peoples’ God-given identities, and calling out those who enact these horrific laws. A spotlight is needed on untold horrors, to show the world the countless trans lives lost to hate, to say their names and make them visible. A rebuking is needed of the ELCA’s and ELCIC’s subpar efforts to support and care for trans children of God, to call them to the witness of the Gospel.

Trans folx are beautiful children of God, created in God’s gender-queer image, bringing a manna of gifts into this world. 

Allies need to do more than simply acknowledge trans peoples’ existence or issue weak proclamations about all being welcome. Allies must fight for, care for, and protect our trans siblings.

Allies need to do more than raise awareness. Allies need to act. 

We invite cisgender allies to support trans visibility today by signing on to this petition, which will be shared with political and church leaders, and by engaging in the specific action items listed below. 

ELM hereby proclaims trans folx as beautiful and beloved children of God.

ELM hereby asserts that there is an attempted genocide in the United States being enacted against transgender people. ELM hereby rebukes all policies and movements across the United States and Canada that attempt to deny transgender people their rights.

ELM hereby calls cis people of faith to contact their local and national elected officials to speak out against any legislation that minimizes or attempts to strip away transgender peoples’ visibility, identity, livelihood, and lives.

ELM hereby calls cis allies to show up in support of their transgender siblings and share in the risk encountered in all of their spheres of influence. Allyship means facing derision and risking harm.

ELM hereby rebukes the subpar positions of the ELCA and ELCIC and their leaders, offering passive statements but doing nothing to actually care for the lives and well-being of transgender persons.

ELM hereby calls the ELCA and ELCIC and their leaders to care for and protect trans folx as beautiful and beloved children of God.

ELM hereby calls cis members and friends of ELM and all people of faith to engage congregations, synods, and bishops around cultivating and opening Safe calls to trans-rostered leaders. ELM further calls for those calls to include healthcare and fair compensation, as well as protection against workplace harassment.

We recognize that there are many needs and petitions of trans beloveds within and outside of the ELCA and ELCIC, including “Help me not freeze to death, because I got fired for being trans and can’t afford electricity,” and “Please help my trans child stay alive when their gender-affirming care is taken away,” and “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Responding to these petitions is the call of the Gospel.

Join us in committing anew, to actively waiting for YHWH, our help and our shield in whom our hearts find joy, in whose Holy Name we trust, to whom we boldly pray, “May your love be upon us, YHWH, as we place all our hope in you.” (Inclusive Bible, Psalm 33:20-22)

We recognize we cannot ask others to repent and act without first repenting and acting ourselves. The cisgender members of the ELM Board of Directors acknowledge and apologize for our complicity in trans invisibility throughout ELM’s history and today. We have done harm. We have failed many. We will do better, with God’s help.

Gracious God, soften our hearts and the hearts of those who fail to witness your heavenly creation in the world. Trans communities in and out of the church suffer. You grieve with them and offer comfort, while a collective silence, violence, and things left undone continue a pattern of harm on this community. The ELCA is perpetually blessed because of Trans rostered leaders, lay leaders, seminarians, and congregants who boldly live out your divinely inspired truth. Lord, too often the needs of the comforted are lifted up in the church rather than addressing the needs of the afflicted, as Marsha P. Johnson said, “No Pride for some of us without Liberation for all of us.” Lord, stir our hearts to comfort, support, and celebrate Trans persons and the entirety of your creation. We ask these things in Christ’s name. Amen.  


The ELM Board of Directors

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