This Sunday, November 20th, is National Transgender Day of Remembrance. In 1999, transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a small vigil in the Castro District in San Francisco to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. Over the years, others have joined in on this day, not with parades but instead in holding candle-light vigils to remember those who have who have lost their lives in acts of anti-Trans violence.
The 2022 Annual Report of the Human Right Campaigns shared last week that at least 32 transgender and nonconforming people have been killed in the United States this year. This statistic is both horrifying and deeply troubling as we continue to live in a time when our trans siblings need not only advocacy but support and places of sanctuary.
Trinity continues to strive to be one of those places and filled with people who understand and embrace the need to be radically welcoming. Too often the church at large has contradicted itself by denying the humanity and dignity of every person. We will not do that here; instead, we will together be a place of welcome and safety and hope for all of our siblings.
Please join me in offering up this beautiful prayer below to put our love and intentions out into the world. Written by Campus Pastor Intern, Jenn Luong, it expresses the beauty of God’s expansive love and our collective desire to live from that place as well.
May you never forget that you are loved,
Prayer by Jenn Luong
Campus Ministry at Augsburg University, Minneapolis
God of all creation,
your wisdom, your love and your mystery are boundless.
You have many names, which are beyond all gender expression.
We give you thanks for the gift of diverse gender identity, expression, and sexuality.
We acknowledge the times we deny that gift by holding too tightly to expectations of conformity and norms.
We have created these divisions and use them against one another.
We know this is not your will or your way.
Help us to act mercifully and show grace to all of your people,
as you have done for us…
We remember those who have lost their lives because they did not conform to the gender roles society expects.
We lament at the continued suffering, oppression, rejection and struggle of our siblings of all gender identities.
Grant them strength, support, and love to accept and be accepted for who they are.
We acknowledge the harm prejudice and ignorance has knowingly and unknowingly caused…
Open hearts and minds to embrace and support one another so that all may let their light shine before others by living out their Truth.
In the name of the One who is beyond all norm, amen.