Take November 20 as an opportunity to reach out to local queer and trans organizations, build community partnerships, and make a difference in the lives of the queer and trans people in your congregation and community.
By Sydney Brouillard-Coyle
Transgender women of colour in the United States have an average life expectancy of 35 years.
Since last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, there have been 361 reported deaths of transgender and genderqueer individuals. The most common methods of death include stabbing, gun violence, strangulation, stoning, dismemberment, torture, beating, and lynching.
The victims are often misgendered and deadnamed by police and media; their bodies are also not always claimed by family, and remain unnamed.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by a transgender advocate named Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is honoured every November 20 through vigils, ceremonies, and events to speak the names of those killed and recommit ourselves to fighting transphobia.
As the Transgender Day of Remembrance draws closer, we must ask ourselves what we are called to do as people of faith. In considering our response, we are reminded of the third and fourth Marks of Mission:
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.
Trans people are in need of love, support and acceptance from faith communities, from which we so often experience segregation and marginalization.
As people of faith, we should seek to not only support our local siblings in Christ, but to transform a society that oppresses those siblings and subjects them to violence causing us to need a Transgender Day of Remembrance.
As we approach November 20, consider reaching out to local queer and trans organizations to find out how you and your church community could support them.
Attend a local or virtual vigil to commemorate the victims of transphobic violence – if there isn’t a local one, or there isn’t a faith-based one, consider hosting your own. Fundraise for a charity that seeks to care for the transgender community. There are excellent resources available online and ways to connect with the transgender community for support in the process.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
We are all part of the precious body of Christ, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God. God’s love is inclusive for all people: lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, transgender, cisgender, two-spirit, queer, and everything in between.
We are called to make sure that our siblings in Christ know that they are loved, precious, and children of God. Please – take November 20 as an opportunity to reach out to local queer and trans organizations, build community partnerships, and make a difference in the lives of the queer and trans people in your congregation and community.
The time is now and the power is in your hands: will you love your neighbour as God is calling us to love?
Sydney Brouillard-Coyle (ney/nem/nir) is co-chair of Proud Anglicans of Huron and music director at St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
Illustration: Jordan McDonald/Unsplash