The right of transgender people to work and support their families is under threat this week through the actions of the Trump Administration. Today, President Trump tweeted his intentions to not allow transgender people to serve in the US military, despite Pentagon studies showing little to no impact from the presence of transgender troops. This marks a change from the previous policy and will negatively affect thousands of members of our armed forces. In addition, advocates expect the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to seek this week to obtain a court ruling that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is legal in the United States. This would undermine vital protections for those vulnerable to prejudice.
The Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) and Pacific School of Religion (PSR) denounce these attempts to take rights away from LGBTQ people. Even if these actions are deemed to be legal, we condemn them as immoral. In a democracy, the government’s work should focus on securing and safeguarding rights, not removing them.
We acknowledge that many of these efforts to stigmatize transgender people are supported by a divisive and negative theology that fails to recognize the beauty of human diversity, including the many ways in which gender identity is expressed. At CLGS and PSR, we affirm the sacred worth of transgender and gender-variant people as an integral part of God’s creation. Living with integrity as who you are, as transgender people do, is not an act of sin but one of faithfulness.
We call upon our government and all people of faith to take action to protect every member of our society from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In particular, we urge President Trump to reverse his decision and we petition Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop all efforts to undermine protections for LGBTQ people.
Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis, Managing Director, CLGS
Dr. Bernard Schlager, Executive Director, CLGS