Me: Is it somebody’s birthday or is somebody having a baby boy?
Guys in Elevator (obviously jubilant): We are having a baby boy. We just found out and people are coming over to our reveal party.
I noticed that only one of the men was carrying balloons. The other one was carrying bottles of champagne.
Me (out loud): Congratulations! I hope you have a perfect baby!
Me (in my head): What if your baby’s not a boy after all? You two are perhaps not what your parents expected but you are so happy. I hope your baby’s happy too. You never know who your child will be.
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance which may or may not show up on your Hallmark calendar. You can read more about it here.
We Christians believe in revelation. And imagine – if we possibly can – what it might feel like to have it revealed to us, either slowly over time or like a jolt on a random Tuesday, that we are not what everyone has assumed we are based on our parts. If you are reading this in a small town where LGBTQ+ people are unknown, please know that our LGBTQ+ siblings are indeed out there. (But maybe not out there.)
For what it’s worth, most of the congregations I visit have trans members or visitors, or there are trans folks in the families of our parishioners. Depending on how safe your family is, you might not even know that a distant cousin or nibling (the children of our siblings) is trans. This is the case in my own family of origin.
Revelation is generally terrifying. Ask John of Patmos. Nobody wants to hear about “the synagogue of Satan.” Nobody wants to see death on a pale horse.
And even if the revelation we receive is dramatically less cataclysmic than the sun becoming as “black as sackcloth of hair” it’s existentially tumultuous when:
- You realize you are not called to be a lawyer after all . . .
- You realize your parents are imperfect human beings . . .
- You realize that you don’t love ___ anymore . . .
- You realize that do not have a Cisgender body.
Gender reveal parties are interesting as long as we – ourselves – realize that God is God and we are not. The God who made eyelids and toes and human skin has also created a diverse array of human beings all created to enjoy and glorify God forever.
Remember that time Peter the apostle was having a revelation about “unclean things” in the book of Acts?
The voice said to him again, a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ Acts 10: 15
There are people some call “unclean” today: undocumented immigrants, the working poor, the homeless, our LGBTQ+ siblings. But the Truth is still true: ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ And yet the bodies of some of God’s precious children are killed for being who they are. The Human Rights Campaign reports that these people were killed in hate crimes in 2018 because they were trans:
- Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42
- Viccky Gutierrez, 33
- Celine Walker, 36
- Tonya Harvey, 35
- Zakaria Fry, 28
- Phylicia Mitchell, 45
- Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28
- Sasha Wall, 29
- Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26
- Nino Fortson, 36
- Gigi Pierce, 28
- Antash’a English, 38
- Diamond Stephens, 39
- Cathalina Christina James, 24
- Keisha Wells, 54
- Sasha Garden, 27
- Vontashia Bell, 18
- Dejanay Stanton, 24
- Shantee Tucker, 30
- Londonn Moore, 20
- Nikki Enriquez, 28
- Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31
- Roxana Hernández (age unknown)
Today is a good day to remember them by name. It’s also a good day to educate ourselves about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people. Maybe it’s makes you uncomfortable. Maybe this is very new and unfamiliar to you.
But there are children of God out there who need and deserve a spiritual community that loves them in the Image of God. Because they were created in the Image of God.
As the body is clothed in cloth
And the muscles in the skin
And the bones in the muscles
And the heart in the chest,
So are we, body and soul,
Clothed in the goodness of God.
Julian of Norwich – source here
Thank you J, A, S, A, S, M, M, T, P, and G. You are blessings in the life of the Church and in my life.