DignityUSA, the leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) Catholics, is calling upon people of all faiths to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) by standing in solidarity with transgender people.
TDoR, which takes place annually on Nov. 20, honors transgender individuals around the world who were murdered in hate crimes. As of Nov. 17, 2016, 26 transgender people in the U.S. have been killed in hate crimes this year, as reported by The Advocate, an LGBTQI publication. Nearly all the victims were black and other people of color. This marks 2016 as having the highest number of reported transgender murders in the U.S. Furthermore, this number is likely a low estimate that does not include unreported murders, or murders that were incorrectly reported using the wrong gender of the victims.
"These murders are heartbreaking and unacceptable." said Lauren Carpenter, a member of DignityUSA's board of directors. "They are a call to action, a call to stand in solidarity with our transgender siblings and speak out against ignorance and hatred whenever we hear it, especially when we hear it in our own Catholic communities."
This past August, Pope Francis inaccurately described school curricula around the world as teaching students "that everyone can choose their gender," and said such developments are part of "the epoch of sin against God the Creator."
DignityUSA rejects such mischaracterization. Not only is it emotionally hurtful toward transgender people, it may also spur verbal harassment and physical violence toward transgender individuals at the hands of bigots emboldened by the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy’s attitudes.
"Remember that comprehension is not a requirement for compassion," said Emmanuel Romero, a member of DignityUSA's Trans Support Caucus. "You don't have to understand what it means to be transgender, but if you want to follow the teachings of Jesus, you must understand that transgender people do not deserve to be treated with such negativity and hatred. You must take a stand against any and all violence."
DignityUSA calls on leaders of all faiths across the U.S. to take the following actions:
We call upon the Higher Power of our own understanding:
Give us the courage to walk with and embrace our transgender neighbors,
To love and accept without judgment,
To have compassion without limits,
To defend without fear,
And to appreciate the beauty, diversity and value of human life without discrimination.