Want to Support Queer and Trans People? Fix Your Churches.

Protecting our rights and dignity at a more fundamental level than “getting out the vote”

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Members of the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations of the Bay Area attend the 2011 San Francisco Pride Parade. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen.

For World Mental Health Day on October 10, I decided to stop reading any story that had the name of our 45th president in the headline. My outrage at the amount of violence and injustice in the world had reached a level where hearing any more news about the latest hate spewed by the current presidential administration would only cause me unnecessary grief. Reading liberals repeatedly urging people to vote for Democrats as a response —with the inevitable associated shaming of progressive third-party voters and abstainers — did not help either.

I just needed a break from the onslaught, and short of avoiding news coverage and social media altogether, this was my chosen method of self-care. I knew I couldn’t avoid reading about current events for long, though. My self-imposed news break ended when the New York Times reported this week that the current administration was planning to legally deny the existence of sex and gender variance. Members of the trans, non-binary, and intersex communities and our allies immediately condemned this latest attack on our rights and dignity.

At first I refused to read the news report, and just suggested that friends and allies share stories written by and about trans folks. I offered my own profile from the New York Times “Transgender Today” column (published in 2015), posting on Facebook that my story might be of historical interest if I got hauled off to a concentration camp (which I don’t see as a far-fetched scenario, sadly). But later I did read the NYT story about the trans-antagonistic memo, as well as various reactions to it (particularly those written by trans people), as I felt it was important to be informed about exactly what was being proposed.

Here’s the thing: I respect other trans, non-binary, and intersex people reacting to this aggravating and genuinely frightening news in whatever way feels appropriate to them. But I am not going to respond by urging people to get out the vote (though I certainly don’t oppose voting, and will be voting next month as I have in virtually every election since I first became eligible in 1988). Instead, I am going to focus on…

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch