by The Rev. Dr. Caroline J.A. Hall
President of Integrity USA
What a wonderful day. TransEpiscopal fielded a strong team to argue for a resolution which would ban discrimination against transpeople in the ordination process, and a second which would ban discrimination against trans lay people. This was heard in the Ministry committee, whose members listened with attention to the moving and succinct testimony.
Talking of her contribution to the church as an ordained deacon, Rev. Vicki Gray asked the committee to remember that transpeople are flesh and blood, not just an abstract idea. Viv Taylor, our very own videographer (pictured), talked about her experience of returning from Iraq and finding a home in the Episcopal Church only to lose it again when she realized that as a transwoman she would not be considered for ordination in her diocese.
Deacon Carolyn Woodall reminded the committee that transgender people are often the victims of violence and are usually overlooked or excluded but that they are still real people. Several young deputies spoke about their own experience of oppression but their understanding that in comparison with transgender people that they are privileged. Two bishops stepped up to the plate too – our thanks go to Tom Shaw and Chet Talton.
There wasn’t enough time for everyone to speak who wanted to support the resolutions, but there was only one person who spoke in opposition. She said that God doesn’t make mistakes; which suggests that God made a mistake in the birth sex of transgender people which they later had to correct. I think it’s more likely that God intended to make me lesbian with all the difficulties that made for me, and also to make my friends transgender with all the difficulties that creates for them.
Certainly the committee was convinced, and both resolutions were sent on to the House of Bishops. Please join us in praying that the Bishops will accept these two important resolutions which together send the strongest message possible that The Episcopal Church welcomes transgender people.
I thank God for all our transgender sisters and brothers and their witness to God’s incredible love!