A prayer for the transgender in us all

Today is Transgender Day of Awareness (TDOR), which every November 20 memorializes those killed by hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people. TDOR was founded in 1998 in response to the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender African American woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts on November 28, 1998.

Dear Lord,

As you know, a lot of stuff about being human isn’t easy. Sex is a particularly difficult issue. Everything about sex is so extreme it’s just about all anyone can do not to stay in bed all day crying and/or masturbating. We have our genitals, so packed with nerve endings most of us would hump the wind if no one was looking. We have our sex drive, which to us is like a just-launched spaceship is to the astronauts who are strapped inside the thing shaking, making funny faces, and hoping they don’t die in an explosion. We have our profound desire to love and be loved. We have all the things we’re supposed to do out in the world—real things that we really care about. And it’s all just mashed together into this massive, internal, psycho-physical-sexual matrix that we spend our whole lives negotiating and basically being lost in.

Lord, a great many of us are deeply frightened. We don’t know where we came from; we don’t know where we’re going after we die. We fear our fate. How can we not? We’re exist within a system the rules of which we did not write and the outcome of which we cannot control. How do we not feel like trapped animals?

And so, like trapped animals, we fight. We attack. And a lot of us do so blindly, horribly, against anything and everything. Because none of what we’re fighting is the real thing. Because we can’t get to the real thing, can we, Lord? So we fight what we can get our hands on. In the frenzy of our fear we look around, identify a threat or target, and start in swinging.

And clubbing.

And shooting.

And people die.

Lord, today is the day we’re remembering all transgender people in the world who were killed for no other reason than that they wanted to be themselves. Born with a mismatch between their bodies and their souls, they were brave enough to dedicate themselves to living the way you told us we’re all supposed to live: by being true to their souls, to their hearts, to their best and most authentic selves.

Just like you did, Lord. You lived the way you were born to live. You never backed off your truth. You never let others tell you how to be. You knew who you were. And you continued to live as you were—you continued to be true to your true self—even though doing so brought you unstoppable storms of scorn, vilification, and a death no one deserves.

Be with our transgender brothers and sisters today, Lord. Hold them to you. You, of all people, know how they’ve suffered. And you of all people know why.

And you of course know what so many of us have yet to learn, which is that all you want is for us lost and confused mortals to love each other for no other reason than because you made us, exactly as we are, and exactly as we find one another. Help us to learn this, Lord. Help us to never forget it.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Jill Hileman via Facebook

    Your words are so succinct and your compassion so powerful.

  • Lymis

    Amen, John. Amen.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    Thanks, buddy. Love to you.

  • Alexander Patico

    My dad once lived in Carlsbad. Happy to think of him and think of you and this blog. That’s all for now.

  • http://www.myhusbandbetty.com helen boyd

    This is truly gorgeous – and I’m not the praying type. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.doehr.kim Deborah Doehr Kim via Facebook

    Amen. And thank you for the reminder.

  • Maria

    Amen.

    Thank you, John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robyn.hannah.14 Robyn Hannah via Facebook

    I have copied part of that to use through the week, thank you

  • Carol VanderNat

    Amen and amen…..

  • Hallie Mac via Facebook

    Woooooowwww! So moving!

  • Carmen Allen via Facebook

    ? can’t i share this?

    • Don Rappe

      The little share buttons are hiding under the ad for one of John’s books and above the “additional reading on Christian issues”. Don’t feel bad. My IQ is so high I can’t fully grasp it myself, and it took me about three minutes to locate them. You can always share anything you like by copying and pasting the link from your own address bar!

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Oh, really? Let me go remove the ad thing for my book, and see if that makes the share buttons more visible for you. Let me know if you would. Thanks, Don (and for all you do here).

  • charles

    to quote the great theologian of our time (no offense John) Lady Gaga-

    God doesnt make junk.

    great article!

  • Dave Bowling

    Thank you John! For reminding us of this day and the perspective that seems to make us all go what the heck? I had no idea there was a day devoted to our good friends and their journey/struggle.

    Bless you for bringing it to our attention. You are a one-of-a-kind type person … wish that was not the case and that many others could see life and people the way you do … I have been a little quiet lately while still watching the blog … and am amazed at your attention and interest in the things that brings us to cherish your voice for those who seem to not have one.

    Thank you!

  • Amy Baskin via Facebook

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Thanks you guys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katiebrotten Katie Brotten via Facebook

    Thank you. This was powerful.

  • ~ Sil in Corea

    Bless you, John. We all have “the other” inside. Every man has his “anima” and every woman has her “animus” as the Tao symbol (of humans and all the world) shows us. The circle is composed of 2 ‘tadpoles’ and each has a tiny circle of the other color in its middle.

  • Silvia Wilson via Facebook

    I teared up while reading, and I’m not an emotional person.

  • Martha Jean-Prunier via Facebook

    The mission for all…be who you are = happier you and yes, happier world

  • http://www.facebook.com/gina.cirelli.1 Gina Cirelli via Facebook

    So beautiful, John. Thank you.

  • http://www.transparently.ca Lisa Salazar

    Thank you John for your prayer and for drawing attention to TDOR.

    I Just got home from the event at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. And I am emotionally drained. I did not go there with the intention of saying anything during open mic. But sitting in that room with close to over 100 GLBT people and allies, most of them in their twenties, I could not hold it in. I told them that I was so grateful to see so many young faces because, I pointed out, I grew up in a time when the only information I could find on the subject was from scary psychology books published in the 40′s and 50′s. They described the condition as a serious mental disorder, as sexual perversion and as a moral flaw of character. The treatments prescribed included electric shock therapy and castration. Everything I read in these books and the words they used made me feel horrible, I worried I might be a sick pervert or worse. This fear kept me from telling anyone about my secret struggle for three decades. So to see a room full of persons who today have information—thanks to the internet—and know they are not freaks of nature and that they are not alone, it brought tears to my eyes.

    And now I want to offer this prayer for them:

    Lord, protect their souls and may they discover that you do not judge them—that you love them. Surround them with people who will not take their hope of finding happiness away, but instead affirm and encourage them, especially during those moments they are most vulnerable—when words of judgement and rejection are doing everything possible to snuff them out. Fill them with joy and make their lives and keep them safe from discrimination and violence. Lord, in your name I pray.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Amen to that, friend Lisa. Thank you.

  • Allie

    Thank you. Until someone mentioned it on this blog, I didn’t know there was such a day. I’m glad that you educated me. I don’t know many transgender people, but my husband and I do have a transgender coworker, who has shared that he faces some problems with his parents and their religious beliefs. This kid (I think he’s 20) is just really smart, and creative, and an all-around wonderful person to work with, and it’s just a shame that anyone thinks badly of him. Praying for a day when all people are good to each other.

  • Matt

    Thank you, John. I will remember my siblings in the community today and all throughout this Thanksgiving holiday.

  • John Mason

    Thank you for ALWAYS amazing me John!

  • Dave-n-TN

    Amen.

    Thanks for this reminder once again this year. Happy TDOR to everyone.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X