J Mase III, a black/trans/queer poet and educator currently based in NYC, wrote an excellent piece for Believe Outloud entitled: Trans Day of Remembrance is Over: Is your church still trans-inclusive? J Mase reveals the many frustrations he has faced in churches seeking to be inclusive. He also provides a list of Do’s and Don’ts for those churches and groups that seek to provide a place where trans and gender non-conforming people genuinely are welcome and included.
Here is one of J Mase’s Don’ts:
Don’t Assume that because your congregation is stellar with LGB issues, that I feel safe as a trans person attending.
Here are two of his Do’s:
Invite trans people to speak from the pulpit and/or take on leadership positions on days when the topic is not trans specific. Instead of waiting until TDOR to talk about including trans people, we could…include trans people.
Examine whether or not the rites of passage ceremonies your congregation participates in are trans inclusive. Consider creating some rites of passage ceremonies that may be trans specific as folks come into their identities. For example, could there be a naming ceremony for folks that want to renew their connection to faith with their chosen name?
Also, check out my interview with J Mase III in which he reflects on race and environmental concerns.