From Berry Dower
Grace Uniting Faith Community and Rainbow Christian Alliance
Each year in November vigils are held to remember the transgender people whose lives were lost from acts of anti-transgender violence. This year I was blessed with generous hospitality from the local transgender community at their vigil held at the A Gender Agenda Centre in Canberra.
The first vigil in the USA was held in 1999 in memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. Each year the transgender day of remembrance vigil commemorates all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita’s death. In 2021 so far there have been at least 47 transgender or gender non-conforming people killed, there may be more as not all are recorded.
The responses of Churches within our presbytery to those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex, queer, asexual and questioning (LGBTIQA+) community is important. The Rainbow Christian Alliance (a ministry of the Tuggeranong Uniting Church) is affirming to all those in this community, and I am available to make other suggestions about which Churches in the presbytery would affirm and love them for who they are. For the transgender people already present in our Uniting Church communities it is our privilege to love, care and advocate for them.
Note: I would have loved to have included a photo of the beautiful transgender people who made me feel welcome. Sadly, the small act of posting a picture on Instagram, a story on Facebook or a short article in a Church newsletter carries risks for their safety, possible loss of income, and alienation from family members. Instead, here is a photo of the vigil centrepiece.
Betzelem Elohim "In the image of God was humanity made.” (Genesis 9:6)