Over the past few weeks I've been presenting a workshop series on helping churches transform to be more affirming and inclusive of transgender and non-binary people. The timing aligned in holy synchronicity with a transwoman's coming out to the congregation. We were deeply honored to be with the people of that church as they witnessed the baptism and naming ceremony for this tender child of God. It was a moment of joy, and the support offered was moving.
It's a lovely thing to see community coming together to uplift the vulnerable. And this woman is now vulnerable in a way she wasn't just a few days before. Her risk of being murdered has shifted dangerously.
It's hard to imagine the pain a family goes through when a transgender loved one is killed. We humans don't tend to like going down painful thought pathways, and so we stop ourselves from thinking too deeply about it. We brush it off the way we've come to brush off so much societal brutality.
One of the powers of writing is that it helps the author process and understand the subject matter being explored. I began a work of fiction about the murder of a trans woman in part so that I would have to consider the pain. By writing about murder, I couldn't just sweep it to the outer edges of my consciousness. Instead, I entered into the pain and horror, and came away changed.
I grappled with what to suggest that you do to honor this day, dear reader. I debated including links to the gruesome stories of brutality I researched so you know what sorts of horrors take place for transgender people every week both here in the United States and around the world. People are shot, strangled, beaten, stabbed, run over, burned, and dismembered. But I decided today is perhaps not the day for that. Today instead is for remembering those lost, and for recognizing that if we all do a few small things, the world can shift toward justice on this front and others.
A small thing we are doing is giving away three copies of my Transfigured devotional, in hopes it can help soothe the pain inflicted by conservative Christian condemnation.
If you are someone or know someone who could use the book, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you take a moment, as we have, to read through this list of trans people lost to violence in the US:
As you do, lift a prayer for each soul, and for those who love them. Perhaps conclude with a prayer for the people who brutalized them and those who contemplate doing harm in the future; that their hearts and minds be cleansed of all darkness, and that the light of Christ overcome them.
Let's all be light today, dispelling darkness.