Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual memorial for those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. According to Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT), 2018 saw a total of 369 reported murders of trans or gender-diverse people in the last year. Seminaries and colleges around the US hold memorial services annually, at which the names of those killed in the last year are read aloud. Other events, celebrating the trans community, are held as well.
Over 28,000 trans and gender non-conforming people were surveyed through the 2015 US Transgender Survey (USTS). USTS discovered a significantly higher incident of discrimination, violence, psychological, and physical distress experienced by transgender and gender non-confirming people than in the general US population. On top of this, transgender people of color experience deeper and broader forms of discrimination than their white counterparts. Of interest to Atla librarians is that 39% of respondents who once were part of a faith community left it due to fear of being rejected because they were transgender and an additional 19% left because they were actually rejected by their faith community.
Congregations, denominations, and individual believers are on a learning curve to understand transgender and gender non-conforming communities. Some denominations, such as the Episcopal Church, officially allow for transgender clergy, while others have no official policy, and others reject the possibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people being clergy.
Many mainline denominations, including the Lutheran (ELCA) and Presbyterian (PCUSA), have public statements of welcome to the trans community and work toward revising forms and practices to be more welcoming of the variety of gender identities that exist within their congregations. Seminaries, colleges, and divinity schools are beginning to see more MDiv and MA candidates who are transgender or non-binary. This may present a challenge to the schools, and librarians are perfectly positioned to assist the community by providing useful web-based resources, and theological and biblical texts that support these new students. Compiled here are some helpful starting points for collection building and personal research.
Learning about Trans and Non-binary identities
Offering a simple, gingerbread-style diagram, as well as articles, activities, and lesson plans, the “Genderbread” Person attempts to break down the pieces of gender into smaller pieces of gender identity, gender expression, anatomical sex, and gender identity. Additionally, the website explains why gender identity and sexuality are distinct concepts.
NCTE advocates for policy change and increased understanding & acceptance of transgender people. Their “About Transgender People” pages offer FAQs, offer ways to support trans people, and go over questions that may be inappropriate to ask someone.
Resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance Programming
Q Spirit promotes LGBTQ spirituality by providing access to LGBTQ history and books. This particular guide provides a core group of art & music that may be useful for a service of remembrance as well as a selection of books on Transgender Christians.
GLAAD, formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, offers a resource kit on Transgender Day of Remembrance that includes background on the event, information on transgender violence in the US and worldwide, how to provide fair, accurate, and inclusive coverage that respects individuals’ identities, and links to relevant organizations & resources.
Media on Transgender Spirituality
Transgender and Christian, YouTube series by Austen Hartke
Author of the book Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians (Westminster John Knox Press, 2018). Hartke offers an extensive series of videos on scripture as well as on spirituality as a transgender Christian.
Beyond a Binary God: A Theology for Trans* Allies, by Tara K. Soughers (Church Publishing, 2018). ISBN: 9780898690057
A Brief Guide to Ministry with LGBTQIA Youth, by Cody J. Sanders (Westminster John Knox, 2017). ISBN: 9780664262501
This Is My Body: Hearing the Theology of Transgender Christians, edited by Christina Beardsley and Michelle O’Brien (Darton, Longman & Todd, 2018). ISBN: 9780232532067
Transfaith: A Transcendent Pastoral Resource, by Chris Dowd, Christina Beardsley, and Justin Tanis (Darton, Longman & Todd, 2018). ISBN: 9780232533118
This article is part of the Atla Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s semi-regular articles designed to provide theological and religious studies librarians with resources and advice for providing equitable access and research to the full spectrum of human diversity.
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