by Paul L. Grace-Neal
Recently, I have been thinking about Spirituality. As an open Trans Identified Man, I struggle to see where I am in God’s created order. The Bible presents people who are rich and poor, religious and not so religious, tall and short, moral and immoral, tax collectors, fishers, merchants, teachers, priests, and even prostitutes. All these people have stories.
These Biblical characters share stories from shame to salvation, from hurt to healing, and from being lost in life to being found and free. Men, women, and children on their unique journeys seek and mostly find their place in God’s realm. They find relationship and love with God and community.
But where is my Biblical community? Where do I enter into the story of the divine? I imagine that these are the same questions other Trans Identified males and females of all ages struggle with today and this is why some have a difficult time viewing Trans identified individuals as valid.
A few days ago, I attended a Dance Protest by the White House to advocate for the inalienable rights of Trans identified youth. I never thought I would see the day when a simple task of relieving one’s self would cause so much dissidence. Trans suicide and homicide numbers are climbing by the minute. Trans youth either struggle with whether they are a mistake, or second class citizens, or invalid and invaluable to society. How could someone practice so much hatred towards them when they haven’t done anything to harm anyone else?
Now like never before, God’s community, we MUST fight. Leaders of our country are attempting to dismantle every gain that celebrated our uniqueness. No one is immune. The Trans community just wants to live as truthfully as we can. We are not trying to force our Transness on anyone. You can not become Trans by hanging out with Trans individuals. Fear has to cease!
So, where do I and these Trans identified children enter into the Divine’s community? I have come to realize we enter right where we are.
We were created in the Divine’s likeness…We are fearfully and wonderfully created. Jesus died for us too.
Since God is Love, God loves us too.
THE ISSUE IS NOT ABOUT BATHROOMS! The issue is about keep our children safe. It is about offering a safe space for children to learn and grow. “Title IX is a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Title IX is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.” (The Basics of Title IX.)
The issue involving the Gavin Grimm’s of this Nation is about acceptance and equality. The issue is about recognizing that all people are created equal and are entitled to equal rights. We have seen proof that even separate yet equal does not work.
Children should not have to fear being bullied, outed, or beaten up while trying to get a quality education void of such distractions. Children should not have their gender or sexual integrity be compromised for any reason. Children should be free to be affirmed, and guided in positive morality and love. Children should be shaped to understand that they are a viable component of society just as much as everyone else. The youth are not of tomorrow. They are today. Many children and youth advocate for their rights. It is our responsibility to support them.
Since children are not permitted to lead our nation from within the White House, follow their lead wherever they are. Help them discover men and women who display compassion and justice and in their schools and their community. Advocate, Educate, and abdicate intolerance on behalf of Trans identified students. Journey with them from their experiences with the insolence and intolerance of others to inclusion in our Spiritual communities, schools and everywhere else.