Submitted by Courtney VonLindern
Designer for NextGen & Inclusiveness Ministries
Mountain Sky Conference
Nov. 20 is often acknowledged as Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) within the transgender and broader LGBTQ+ community. It is a day to acknowledge the violence many transgender people face in our world, especially transgender women and femmes of color. It’s also a chance to call allies into action as we come together to fight against the dehumanization of and violence toward our transgender siblings.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 34 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed in 2020. This number is likely higher as stories of violence toward transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are often unreported or misreported.
Violence toward transgender and gender non-conforming people is an act of violence against God’s own creation. As we know from Genesis, God created humankind in God’s own image and called us good. Regardless of our gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religious tradition, ability or disability, race, ethnicity, or other identity category, we are created in the image of God and we are good.
This Transgender Day of Remembrance, Designer for NextGen & Inclusiveness ministries Courtney VonLindern invites you to honor the day and remember the lives of those we have lost. Here are some ways we are called to recognize this day:
Reach out into your own community and support local events that recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance. Many LGBTQ+ groups and organizations organize their own event for Transgender Day of Remembrance. Either attend the event (most likely online in 2020), and/or reach out and see if there’s anything you or your church can provide for the event. If there isn’t an event happening, you could also ask a local organization if they’d be interested in planning an event with your faith community. However, it is important to ensure that we connect with local organizations and transgender & gender non-conforming people about what they want out of an event like this.
Educate yourself on and advocate for the inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming people in your faith communities and in your broader communities, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. What type of laws and protections are in place for transgender and gender non-conforming people in state or community? Are they protected from acts of violence and discrimination? What is your church’s stance on transgender inclusion? How can we create policy that protect transgender and gender non-conforming people in our communities? Advocating for transgender and gender non-conforming people also means speaking up and speaking out against actions and behaviors that are discriminatory toward transgender people.
Celebrate and honor the gifts transgender and gender non-conforming bring to our ministries and local communities. This includes hiring them in our workplaces and organizations as well as involving them in leadership roles on committees.
Lastly, you can recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance by learning the names and stories of the transgender and gender non-conforming people we have lost to acts of violence in the United States this year:
Neulisa Luciana Ruiz
Yampi Méndez Arocho
Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos
Layla Pelaez Sánchez
Penélope Díaz Ramírez
Helle Jae O’Regan
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells
Brian “Egypt” Powers
Dior H Ova
Queasha D Hardy
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears
Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10 NIV)
Designer of NextGen& Inclusiveness Ministries