December 15, 2008

"Gender Identity and our Faith Communities"

The HRC caught a lot of grief for supporting the exclusion of transgender people from the ENDA legislation in Congress, but they do appear to be making a effort to rectify that and make the T in GLBT not merely an afterthought.

One step they have taken is preparing this excellent resource, "Gender Identity and our Faith Communities: A Congregational Guide for Transgender Advocacy."

Here is part of the description from the HRC website:

Because of the commitment to justice and the tenets of loving hospitality at the core of our faith traditions, we know that faith communities are the ideal site for empowering new allies and advocates for transgender rights. Sadly, though, we also know that some of the harshest discrimination against transgender people has come from people of faith cloaking prejudice in religious discourse. By exploring a wide range of religious experiences and offering thoughtful biblical analysis and commentary, our hope is that this curriculum will embolden participants to see in their faith a plea for understanding and a revitalized call for equality.

The guide is divided into three parts:

"The Stories" explores the varied experiences of transgender people, probes the complexity of gender identity, and helps participants develop a vocabulary around transgender concepts;

"Gender Identity and Faith" gives participants a choice of three different exercises that will encourage them to have deeper conversation about religion and transgender people; and

"A Call for Justice" provides a step-by-step training to move people of faith from acceptance to public advocacy.

In addition to the curriculum, we have included a series of dramatic readings, a participant’s handbook, and twelve outstanding essays from our contributors. Audio files are available for each dramatic reading and for the exercises titled "the Gifts of Transgender People." An explanation of how best to use these files is provided in the curriculum.

I have skimmed this guide and believe I will find it to be a valuable resource in understanding how to encourage others of faith to be open and accepting to transgender people. I encourage you to review it yourself and leave a comment here with your feedback.

HRC guide "Gender Identity and our Faith Communities."

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