Reader's View: Trans Americans need our support
The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 offers us a time to mourn transgender individuals — in our community and around the world — who lost their lives due to suicide or fatal violence. It's also a chance to raise up the very difficult issues facing trans people in our society.
The day-of-remembrance observance comes at an urgent time for trans Americans. Early in his administration, President Donald Trump tweeted that transgender troops would be banned from serving in the military; the ban is currently on hold while military leaders develop plans to implement it. In 2017, Trump rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Recently, we learned the administration is attempting to strip transgender people of official recognition by creating a definition of gender as only male or female and unchangeable once determined at birth.
Growing up transgender can be difficult. Trans youth experience family rejection, bullying, and harassment and feel unsafe for simply being who they are. Statistics from a 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics reveal alarming levels of attempted suicide among transgender youth. More than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide.
As an open and affirming Christian community of faith, Pilgrim Congregational Church in Duluth welcomes members of the GLBTQ community. We do so because Jesus called on us to embrace all members of our society as brothers and sisters and to see the image of God in each other.
Johnson is council chairwoman and Trowbridge is clerk of Pilgrim Congregational Church of Duluth. They wrote this on behalf of the church.