• Reverend CP

I AM: Affirming the Rights of our Trans Friends

Giving someone the space to affirm their own identity is powerful and life-giving; to declare who you are is an act of courage.


“I AM...”


Those two small words are the most powerful in the English language.


The Hebrew Scriptures record that when Moses pressed his God for its name, so that he could relate it to the unruly mob he was attempting to lead, God replied, “I am who I am.” (Exodus 3:14)  


Giving someone the space to affirm their own identity is powerful and life-giving; to declare who you are is an act of courage.


Today, for approximately 1.4 million Americans, the United States government is attempting to replace “I am” with “YOU ARE”.


A recently leaked memo reveals that it is the goal of some members of the federal government to effectively regulate the transgender community out of existence.  According to the New York Times, “The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.... Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.”  This directly opposes the medical community’s view that the original, biological sex of an individual and their gender identity are two separate things.


No Human Being is Illegal

"Make America Great Again" is nothing more than a code phrase which actually means, "Put the straight, white, 'Christian' men in charge again, and put everyone else back in their place."

By attempting to redefine sex and gender through policy, members of the current administration would be denying all sorts of simple, civil rights and protections to all of our transgender citizens through effects on programs in the Department of Education, Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, among others.  It would affect everything from health coverage under the ACA to which bathroom or locker room a transgender child could use at school. If implemented, it would devastate the everyday lives of every transgender person in America.


Nazi concentration camp survivor Elie Weisel wrote, “No human being is illegal.”  Yet the Trump administration is seeking to render millions of our friends, our brothers, sisters, children, parents, illegal.


So, in order for the administration of an allegedly free and democratic country to attempt to do that, there must be some sort of deeper reason.  Is it simply fear: transphobia? Is it pre-midterm electioneering - a posturing to attempt to turn out the conservative vote? Is it a control freak’s desire to sort everyone into neat, inexpensive boxes?  


Perhaps it is a bit of all of those things, but I believe there is something deeper and more profound at work here.


America has long been ruled by a privileged patriarchy.  The Constitution was designed for it (women had no right to even vote; blacks were allowed to be held as slaves and only counted as 3/5th of a person for Census purposes); laws, regulations, and customs have for years enforced it.  Even today, the power of the patriarchy of privilege has seen a self-admitted sexual abuser put in the White House, a credibly accused rapist on the Supreme Court, and dozens of legislators who have paid to settle sexually based lawsuits remain in the halls of Congress.


This current administration has made a visible and obvious effort to undo every advancement in the rights of women and minorities made by the first African-American President of the United States - in effect, attempting to make it as if his presidency had never been.  It is fighting to roll back freedoms and protections for women and minorities of all types: racial, cultural, sexual, and religious. “Make America Great Again” is nothing more than a code phrase which actually means, “Put the straight, white, ‘Christian’ men in charge again, and put everyone else back in their place.”  It means, “Make misogyny, racism, classism, homophobia, and religious discrimination okay again.” It means, “We want our privilege, and we don’t care who we have to hurt to keep it.”


Today, they are going after the personhood of 1.4 million Americans.  They are attempting to define for them WHO THEY ARE, at the deepest and most personal of levels.  I could ask the question, “Who’s next?”, in an effort to give rise to your own self-preservatory fear.  But today, I will let Elie Weisel appeal to your conscience. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.”


Today, friends, it is time to take sides for our transgender friends, for our nation, and for our consciences.



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