- Open and Affirming
Transgender Christians are searching for the same things other believers want: a connection to God in a loving community gathered in the spirit of Jesus Christ. But transgender seekers are often without a place to call their “church home” because most congregations aren’t ready to welcome them as companions in faith. Open and Affirming congregations can be that home for their transgender family and neighbors if they take the time to listen to their stories and understand the transgender experience.
Use this page to learn more. If your Open and Affirming congregation has not yet updated its ONA covenant to include a clear and confident welcome to the transgender community, now might be the time to consider amending your covenant after a time of prayer, study and dialogue. The resources on this page can help, including the 1993 resolution by General Synod “Affirming the Participation and Ministry of Transgender People within the United Church of Christ and Supporting Their Civil and Human Rights.”
If your congregation is already a safe place for your transgender members, this might be the time to move from welcome to advocacy. Transgender citizens and residents in this country still face legal obstacles in their quest to live with the same freedoms and opportunities most of us take for granted. There may be opportunities in your community and state to advocate for laws that fully protect the basic rights of transgender residents, and to learn from the wider transgender community other ways your congregation can help.
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on Nov. 20 is an opportunity for your ONA congregation to honor your trans neighbors—here and abroad—who lost their lives in the past year to violence and suicide. Transgender women of color in American cities are especially vulnerable to assault and murder. Your congregation can send a clear message to your community: yes, there is a church where trans people are wanted, valued, and safe. Organize a special service of remembrance, and make sure it’s publicized widely. Many churches will read out the names of transgender victims while ringing a bell: it’s a powerful way to honor their memory, and to renew our commitment to building a church and a world where all are welcome. Here are resources to help.
National Center for Transgender Equality
American Psychological Association Guide
Transgender News at Huffington Post
Transgender Day of Visibility
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Gender-neutral restrooms in your church can send a strong message to trans* members and visitors that they are welcome and safe. These resources include sample policies and information that will help you interpret this issue to your congregation.