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The Beloved Community Includes the Transgender Community

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June 1, 2016

The Beloved Community Includes the Transgender Community

On May 18, 2016, a NC Clergy Unite Against HB2 press conference was held in Charlotte. Three of the five speakers were Baptist pastors related to BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz: LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Greg Jarrell, and Martha Kearse.

This page includes a collection of faith-based responses, reflections, and resources -- some focused on a specific issue and some more general -- from a wide-range of voices in support of those who identify as Transgender.


North Carolina House Bill 2

In March 2016, the North Carolina Legislature passed House Bill 2 (HB2) in retaliation toward the city of Charlotte's extended non-discrimination ordinance. 

HB2 reversed history and took away rights and protections for the some of the most vulnerable in the state. Claiming to be concerned with the “safety of women and children,” in actuality HB2 is anti-LGBTQ, anti-worker, and anti-family.

The bill has sparked responses from local NC organizations, US-based human rights groups, and beyond. Even the European Union declared it in violation of the United Nations Treaty. Not only does HB2 further restrict the rights and increase harm toward those in the LGBTQ community, particularly people who are transgender, it also removes worker protections and bans local minimum wage laws. 

BPFNA members and churches have not remained silent. Many have offered up reflections and sustainable arguments as to why HB2 should be repealed. Below are responses from some of those who are speaking out, lifting up a narrative of love and inclusion, and refusing to let the rhetoric of fear and hate speak for them. 

REFLECTIONS

Maundy Thursday 2016: North Carolina and the Politics of Death

from Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski, BPFNA

I’m sitting in the Des Moines airport. Having finished two days of workshops at Graceland University, I am headed home to Charlotte, my beloved home of twenty-plus years. I call my husband to let him know the flight is on time, that I think I’ll be able to make the Maundy Thursday communion service at church tonight. With a heavy sigh he says, “It was a bad day in North Carolina yesterday.” I ignore him.

I know. Of course, I know. Being in Iowa has not cut off the steady flow of news, but I ignore his comment and talk to him instead about my day, the sessions I led, the students  and faculty I met, the fact that eating at one of the state’s famed Pizza Shack franchises might qualify me to declare my candidacy for President of the United States. I talk to him about anything, anything other than yesterday’s vote to legalize hate, fear, and discrimination.

Keep reading...

Fear Not

from Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski, BPFNA

Do not be afraid. Fear not. Peace be with you. So say the scriptures over and again. The message is clear – we can decide to be fearful or we can decide to be faithful.

Let me tell you a story about being faithful – a story about 2 fifth graders – faithful, courageous and kind.

The very week that North Carolina passed HB2, my young friend Aidan decided to be fully himself for the very first time, transitioning socially at church and at school.

With a new haircut and new clothes, he pulled up to school knowing this would be the day that his teacher would announce that Amanda and Amanda’s family had decided that he would go by Aidan now, because that’s just what seemed to fit him better.

Keep reading...

(Read more of Aidan's story here.)


As Baptists

from Rev. Martha Kearse, St. John's Baptist Church

As Baptists, we are called to take seriously the words of scripture and to appeal to the spirit of God and to our community to interpret the meaning of those words in our lives. In studying scripture, one of the most pervasive themes we find is that of the importance of offering hospitality. While that might invoke thoughts of the uptown Hilton, in fact, the theme of hospitality in scripture involves welcome and preparation, it involves kindness and an effort to meet the needs of those in one’s care, and, significantly, it involves protection, especially protection of those who are most vulnerable. As mere stewards of that which is God’s, we are called to treat each other as family, and to provide welcome for every person as if he or she were our brother or sister.

Keep reading...


The Weak Grow Strong and the Strong Grow Great

from Rev. Greg Jarrell, QC Family Tree

As a child in North Carolina, I was taught our state song which contains this refrain: “Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here’s to my home, the Old North State.”

What we face in Raleigh today is a regime of our fellow citizens and neighbors who have taken this basic affirmation of life in North Carolina and obliterated it. Today the strong do not grow great – they have gone to Raleigh to bully the weak. Their goal seems to be to make sure that the weak can never grow strong. HB2 is but the most recent evidence of that goal, which is being enacted by immoral policy and by their being just plain mean.

Keep reading...


Too Much of a Good Thing: A Transgender Challenge for Pentecost

A sermon by Rev. Russ Dean, Park Road Baptist Church

Genesis 11.1-9; Acts 2.1-6

This story from Genesis is confusing and confounding. In our Men’s Study on Thursday morning one member said, with exasperation in his voice, “If God really did this… this ticks me off!” And you can understand…

There isn’t a picture in our scriptures, anywhere, that depicts people who seem to have gotten their act together any better than this text. Just imagine: The people had one language and the same words. No communication barriers. They had migrated together, and had settled, in order to build community. They knew their strength was in numbers. They didn’t want to be scattered so they stopped, to build the first city in the world!

Keep reading...


Religious Liberty? Which Version Are We Referring To?

from Kerry Cheesman, University Baptist Church, Columbus, OH

I am writing this on the birthday of Thomas Jefferson (April 13). I didn’t know that until I heard it on the radio this morning, but I think it’s significant because Jefferson was the author of the concept of ‘religious liberty’ in this country, and the first (as far as I know) to write about the separation of church and state. These are core principles to us Baptists, and to Christians in general throughout this country...

For the past few years we have been hearing more and more cries from the so-called evangelical Christian community about “religious liberty” – that thing that Thomas Jefferson promoted. On the surface it sounds Christian – in fact, very Baptist. On the surface the claim is that no one should force you or me to do something that is against our deeply held religious values (hopefully biblical values). Got it—and I agree. But what happens when my religious values do not align with the religious values of others in my community? Or the values of the people in general? What happens when my rights impinge on the rights of other religious people?

Keep reading...


RESOURCES

From Watts Street Baptist Church

Durham, NC

Click here for resources from Watts Street Baptist on responding to HB2.


From Believe Out Loud

General Information

Trans Voices


General Support for the Transgender Community

REFLECTIONS

Young, Trans, and Afraid of the Bathroom

from Carl Charles (from the Believe Out Loud blog)

I was not always out as trans, but I was always uncomfortable in school bathrooms.

In middle school, I would orient my entire day around when I could go to the bathroom alone.

I remember orientation at my brand new public middle school in my hometown of Colorado Springs. I spent the day ignoring our 8th grade tour guide, and instead, I noted where all of the single user and “hidden” bathrooms were located throughout the school.

While I’m a naturally detail-oriented person, it was the gender policing and rituals that terrified me enough to plan entire days around when and where I could go to the bathroom alone.

Keep reading...

Seven Things I'm Learning About Transgender Persons

from Mark Wingfield (originally published on Baptist News Global)

I don’t know much about transgender issues, but I’m trying to learn. How about you? How much do you really know about this subject beyond all the screaming headlines and concerns about who goes to the bathroom where?

Keep reading...

Painful Lessons from a Pastor's Viral Transgender Post

from Mark Wingfield (originally published on Baptist News Global)

“Does God still love me?” That is one of the most painful questions I have been asked in the past two weeks after writing a commentary that went viral and made me a most unlikely spokesperson for the transgender community and their families. As a result of that post being read by more than 1 million people either online or in print, I have heard the personal stories of people from all over the country. In two weeks’ time, I have exchanged personal correspondence with more than 400 people.

Keep reading...


RESOURCES

From Believe Out Loud

General Information

  • "Injustice at Every Turn"—The most comprehensive survey of the trans community ever, and the best place to find statistics related to discrimination and violence against trans people (executive summary is the best place to start).

Trans Voices

Ally Voices

Videos



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