TransLutherans is an affinity group of ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation. The primary goals of TransLutherans are several-fold:
• to lift up and provide support for transgender and gender non-conforming people;
• to call out to the people of God to welcome us as part of God’s sacred creation;
• to educate others about transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues we face;
• to advocate for welcome and full inclusion of transgender and gender nonconforming people in the life of the Church.
TransLutherans supports a network of people who will help to carry out this important work. All transgender and gender non-conforming people and our allies are invited to join this affinity group.
There is strength in numbers as all of us, people of an infinite variety of sexual orientations and gender identities, walk together with one another and with God.
The 2000 assembly of ReconcilingWorks approved a resolution adding transgender inclusion to programming and materials. In July 2002, the assembly added bi and trans to the requirements for qualifying congregational affirmations of welcome for the RIC program. In January 2003, the board convened a task force to consider language, resources, surveys, correspondence and trainings needed to ensure bi and trans inclusion in ReconcilingWorks as well as the RIC program. All congregations previously approved for RIC were asked to update their welcoming statements by explicitly naming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, or by including a more expansive phrase “people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” New RIC applications received after a three-year grace period were required to include the updated language. In 2010, during the final business session of that year’s assembly, delegates approved a resolution to the do the following:
• to increase transgender and bisexual training opportunities for board, staff, and Regional Coordinators,
• to create a national speakers’ bureau qualified to provide education,
• to commit the Legislative Team and trans/bi/queer communities to work together to create resolutions for synod and churchwide assemblies. These resolutions would expand the welcome of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to specifically include trans*, bi and all people affected by binary gender oppression.
The ReconcilingWorks assembly affirmed the formation of the TransLutherans affinity group in 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Several years ago, two related personal experiences deeply affected the course of my advocacy and the carrying out of these sacred tasks through ReconcilingWorks as transgender representative and board member.
Twenty-five years ago, I distanced myself from the Church. My faith life was mired in a valley of despair and was slipping away as my gender identity, first sensed at age three, welled up within me and began to fill my consciousness. I was overwhelmed with fear of losing everything I held dear, including my very life, were I to come out as a trans* person. When I finally did come out to myself, then to my wife and some close friends, a feeling of relief began to creep back into my life, and my faith life was slowly restored. Many months later I sought to reestablish my ELCA church home and arranged a meeting with my pastor.
After reintroducing myself and explaining to them that I was in the midst of my gender transition, I shared how I very much wanted, I needed, to feel welcome once again in my congregation, from which I had distanced myself after many years of faithful service. They looked at me for a few moments with furrowed brow, and finally said, “JamieAnn, I think you might be welcome in one, maybe two churches in town. Certainly the Congregational church would welcome you, and there may be one other.” It was at this moment that I began to understand that people like me might not be considered by some to be children of God and a part of the marvelous Divine creation of humanity. I subsequently sought out a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) congregation in a nearby town and the first worship service I attended as my true self transformed my life. I began a life of advocacy for all LGBTQI people, working at the intersection of oppressions in faith and secular communities.
[Note: Trans* (with the asterisk) is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender-identity and gender-expression spectrum, including gender non-conforming, transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and trans woman.]
Frequently asked questions about transgender and gender non-conforming people. (055)
Expanded version - Frequently asked questions about transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Injustice at Every Turn. A report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
Date: February 03, 2011