Good evening. I am the Reverend Guy S. Johnson, pastor of the Keysville Grace and the Mount Pleasant United Churches of Christ, both located in Northern Maryland, and while I am grateful to be here, I wish I weren’t. I know that sounds contradictory, but in 2017, I wish I didn’t have to be here to remember our trans brothers and sisters because they are no longer here.
It is 2017, and we are remembering 24 amazing people who, in any other circumstances, would still be with us. Most are victims of homicide. This is unacceptable.
It is unacceptable for several reasons, and for me, the first is because these people – our trans family members – are children of God. Now, as a Christian pastor and faith leader, my first frame of reference is that I use the Torah as a guide, and I honestly believe that we imago dei – the image of God. And I use the book of Genesis to make that claim – Genesis 1:26 -27 says it this way: “Let US man HUMANS in OUR own image.” That tells me that WE are made in THEIR – multiple – images.
And we are. Our trans family members are made in the image of God, and because of that, deserve the rights that all people deserve – the right to life and liberty. Our trans family members deserve all of the rights that we all deserve. Our trans family members deserve the right to live without harassment, without fear, without disruption.
And we have a duty and a responsibility to speak out when we hear of violence. We have a duty and responsibility to make sure all of our family members are safe. We have a duty and responsibility to ensure our family members live.
We have a duty and a responsibility to love God with all of our hearts, and minds, and souls, and to our neighbor as ourselves. That’s what we are to do.
And that might mean we have to contact our officials. Make the call. We might have to contact the press. Make the call. We might have to step in. Make the call.
We must love our neighobors as ourselves, not because we might have a certain faith tradition, but because it is the right thing to do. We must love our GLB, and T family members without reservation or hesitation, because it is the right thing to do.
We must remember our trans family members and love them unconditionally.