What does God say about transgender people?

I was recently invited to speak at a local city council meeting for a proclamation in favor of Transgender Day of Visibility. This was the second time this proclamation has been presented to the mayor of this city, who has the sole power to grant or deny such proclamations. 

I was told before the meeting that the mayor comes from a conservative Christian point of view, which has led him to deny the proclamation. Because of this, I wanted to describe why the Christian faith has led me to affirm my transgender siblings. I also wanted to describe why the Constitution of the United States leads me to affirm them, too. After reading my remarks, I would love to know what you think! Please feel free to comment at the Raven Foundation Facebook page. If you would like more on this topic, check out One Question with Pastor Adam: What Does God Say about Transgender People below!

Esteemed mayor and esteemed council members, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this proclamation.

I come to you as a pastor, a leader in the Christian church. And I come to you as a citizen of the United States.

In my capacity as a pastor and as a citizen, I stand with my transgender siblings in requesting that you adopt this resolution.

Some Christians refer to the creation story in Genesis to say that God created male and female and thus God does not create transgender people.

In that story we are told that God separated the light from dark and the land from the sea. But we know that’s not the whole story. Even though God separated the light from the dark, we know that the dusk and dawn exist. And even though God separated the land from the sea, we know that the marsh exists. And even though God created male and female, we know that our transgender siblings do exist.

Thank God for the beauty in creation of light and dark, of dusk and dawn. Thank God for the beauty of land and sea and of the marsh. And thank God for the beauty of male and female and of our transgender siblings.

In fact, the Bible, in the original languages, never uses the term “transgender.” And Jesus never spoke about the topic. But Jesus did say that the most important command in all of scripture is to love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That means all of our neighbors, including our transgender neighbors. In loving our transgender neighbors, in acknowledging their presence with us in this proclamation, we fulfill the commandment Jesus gave us.

Which leads me to why I am here as a citizen of the United States. Our constitution begins with the most important words written in any secular document, “We the people.” It is impossible to overstate the significance of those words.

When those words were written in the 18th century, the term “We the people” meant people like me. White, land-owning males. But over time, the term became more inclusive. “We the people” began to include black men and women. And one of the things I love about being part of “We the people” is that we do seek to form a more perfect union where “We the people” literally means all of the people.

And thank God for the beauty of male and female and of our transgender siblings.

We haven’t always gotten it right, but we work to make it better. This resolution is a way to make it better for our transgender siblings. As a white, heterosexual, cisgender male, I have always been told that I am a valuable member of our society. But our transgender siblings haven’t been told that. In fact, they’ve often been told the opposite. Many have experienced the trauma of exclusion from their families and their churches. And in 26 states, there are no laws protecting our transgender siblings from discrimination or from being fired.

But you can make a difference. With this proclamation, you can say that in this city, we affirm that God loves all of Gods’ children, including God’s transgender children. With this proclamation, you can say that in this city, we affirm that “We the people” means all the people, including our transgender siblings because here in this city we do not believe in discrimination.

Finally, statistics show that if one adult acknowledges and affirms a transgender child that their risk of self-harm, including suicide, drops dramatically. You have the opportunity tonight to save lives by proclaiming that this city acknowledges and affirms our transgender siblings. As a Christian and as a US citizen, I urge you to pass this proclamation.

Thank you for your time. May God bless you and your work.

The Olive

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That’s what I said at the city council. Here are the takeaways:

  • The creation story in Genesis is often used to claim that God doesn’t make transgender people, that God only makes male and female. But that story also says God separated the night from the day. But we know that dusk and dawn exist. The story also says that God separated land from sea. But we know that the marsh exists. In the same way, the creation story says God created male and female, but we also know that God created our transgender siblings.
  • Jesus calls us to love all of our neighbors. He makes no distinctions. We are to love our transgender neighbors.
  • The United States’ Constitution begins with “We the people…” In the beginning of our nation’s history, that phrase including only white, land-owning men. Over time, it included more people. And today it needs to include our transgender siblings. But in 26 states throughout our nation, our transgender siblings can be legally discriminated against. It is time that “We the people…” became even more inclusive to include our transgender siblings.