On Monday of this week, it came to light that the United States Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to redefine the legal definition of sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,” under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program that receives government assistance. This would remove essential federal recognition and civil rights protections from an estimated 1.4 million Americans who are transgender or gender-nonconforming. This is but the latest assault on the protections and civil rights for those within the transgender community.
In light of this ongoing attempt to erase transgender individuals from our nation’s common life, it is important – now, more than ever – to reaffirm our support for transgender persons. We believe in the inherent dignity of every human being. While we may not have always gotten things right, we are continually striving towards greater justice and inclusivity. In the Episcopal Church and here, in the Diocese of Olympia, we believe that transgender persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church. Across the Episcopal Church, we prohibit discrimination against transgender persons in both hiring decisions and in the ordination process. In fact, it has been my privilege to ordain several transgender clergypersons right here within our diocese.
If you are a transgender individual and feel unseen, unheard, attacked, or pushed aside by the actions our government is taking, I want to let you know that we in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Olympia stand beside you. We see you. We hear you. And we support and celebrate you.