This weekend marks the first ever Transgender Religious Summit. The press release states the following about the event:
Religious communities struggle with full acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, causing discrimination not just in churches, temples, and mosques, but throughout society. Perhaps least understood and accepted among sexual and gender minorities are members of the transgender community. Those who identify as transgender or other non-conforming gender expressions are subject to misunderstanding and rejection by faith communities, and harassment and violence in society as a whole.
The Transgender Religious Summit to be held at Pacific School of Religion (in Berkley, CA) will be the first of its kind: a collaboration between national policy leaders on transgender issues, transgender and transgender supporting religious leaders, and academic experts on LGBT studies and religion. This diverse group of ministers, activists, and scholars will address issues of denominational and public policy, outreach to the transgender community, and transgender leadership, in order to break down the religious barriers to full inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming people in religious communities and the nation as a whole.
The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry are sponsoring the summit.
Justin Tanis is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He’s also the NCTE Program Manager. He had this to say about the summit:
“If there is opposition to transgender-inclusive legislation, it very often comes from a religious perspective. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Many progressive people of faith want to expand transgender rights within our religious traditions and to counter the transphobia in public policy, so this meeting will give us an opportunity to work together on that.”
I’m glad to hear it. Messages that folk like Alan Chambers, Peter LaBarbera, and Mike Ensley have put out about on transgender people need a countering voice; a voice that talks in terms of Christian transpeople, as well as a voice on transpeople of other faiths.