Liturgy for Transgender Day of Remembrance – Susan Gilchrist & Corrymeela, Ireland

This liturgy, in a ready-to-print format, with additional resources can be found in full on the UK Transgender Day of Remembrance website.

Call to Worship  [Substitute terms with which you are not comfortable.]

Be with us Lord in all of our journeys

From near and from far and histories unknown

Be with us Lord in strength and in weakness

The lost and forsaken the proud and the strong

Be with us Lord in all of our beings

Where life in our genders can truly belong

Be with us Lord in all of our actions

Fulfilling your [Kin-dom] where all people come

Be with us Lord in all of our wishes

That rest in your love, when all are as one

Opening Reading

Paul Said: ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,nor is there male and female,for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:28)

Collect

God of all creation, whose wisdom and love is boundless.

You have many names and you are beyond all divisions of gender.

We have many names for our sexual and gender identities.

We give you thanks for the diversity of sexuality and gender.

At times we deny that diversity by holding too strongly and tightly to the divisions that we ourselves create.

As we come together to remember those transgender people who have been killed, taken their own lives or been injured, help us to honour their identities, and the identities of all people.

Help us to create a world where everyone can live with authenticity and dignity.

Help us all, who belong to every sexuality and gender, to live our own lives in true fulfilment of our different identities, in fellowship with each other and in the Love of Christ.

Amen.

Readings

Romans 8: 31-39 and/or Matthew 22:30-40

Reflection  (by Susan Gilchrist)

Great harm is done when people use the most insulting sexual slur the can find and then apply it to transgender people. Not only is the insult itself destructive, it is being applied to people who are trying to live lives which are true to who they are….

List of Names

We now remember those transgender people who have been murdered and killed during the previous year because of the hate that has been generated by these misunderstandings and through the prejudice and discrimination that occurs.

Read out the names of those Transgender persons who have lost their lives in the past year.

The full list of names is published at the TDOR website.  Some vigils read the country names and the corresponding number of deaths.

You may wish to include the list of those who have died by suicide; these are not on the TDOR list.

Intercessions

For Loss

Let us pray for all those who have been killed or died because they have not conformed to the gender roles that society expects.

Grant them peace and bring to those they leave behind them your comfort in the knowledge that all people, irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation are enfolded and are precious in the Love of Christ.

God in your wisdom, Hear our Prayer

For Understanding

As we reflect on this list of names and the deaths of so many people, help us Lord to think afresh about what it means to belong to our own gender and to be transgender; for we are all as one in your love.

As far as we are able to, help us to listen, and to learn to understand what it means to be transgender, so that we and all transgender people always, and in harmony, live to the full, the Gospel of Love in our everyday lives.

God in your wisdom, Hear our Prayer

For Self-Acceptance

We acknowledge the harm that our prejudice and ignorance has sometimes unknowingly created. We recognise the feelings of guilt and self-loathing that transgender people themselves feel when they apply these negative messages about transgender people in general to themselves.

It is your love that transcends all genders.

Grant us wisdom care and concern that all of us, whatever our genders and backgrounds are fellow companions on our journeys, and that we are all equally accepted for who we are in the Love of Christ.

God in your wisdom, Hear our Prayer

For the support of other people.

For transgender people the journey across genders crosses many divides.

Help not only transgender people, but their friends, spouses and supporters make that journey together to find a true meeting place beyond these divides.

For transgender people who are rejected by their families or lack social support we ask you to give all people involved, the strength and understanding to overcome these obstacles, and to bring new opportunities for relationships to be restored.

God in your wisdom, Hear our Prayer

For an end to discrimination and abuse

Despite gender equality legislation, discrimination still occurs.

Transsexuals find it difficult to gain employment.

Unemployment rates are high.

The attitudes of others may make it impossible to continue in any employment that is held.

Transsexual people are vulnerable to attacks on their homes and on the streets.

Verbal abuse is common.

Lord, we ask you to grant wisdom, care and compassion to all people who engage in these disruptive activities, so that we may all live together in peace.

God in your wisdom, Hear our Prayer

To work for a more understanding society

Lord, we have all failed in our understanding by embracing the historic presumptions and traditional teaching that transsexuals are following a lifestyle choice in pursuit of sexual rewards; and not of identity instead.

We have failed in the treatment and management methods that have been prescribed because of the medical misdiagnoses that have been made.

We recognise the harm that this has brought. Help all of us God to create a greater understanding in society and to promote a future which is not bound to the attitudes of the past but, one which can move forward to promote the fullness of life in all in the world.

God in your wisdom,  Hear our Prayer

For forgiveness and Love

Loving God, Creator of the Universe, you know are inner hearts.

Too often we have failed to follow your ways.

Forgive us for our past failures.

Grant us fresh hearts and new minds so that we can celebrate the full richness and diversity of human experience in the Love of Christ.

Blessing

May the blessings of God’s Love

And the joy of God’s Peace

Be found in us all

Now and Always

Amen

About the Author:  Susan Gilchrist, now retired, taught in higher education for over 40 years. She has been involved in the work of reconciliation in conflict situations from 1969. A member of the Corrymeela Community, she has been involved in studies and research into the driving forces behind conflict, identity formation and the interactions that are encountered. She has undertaken similar research on gender dysphoria  (tgdr.co.uk/articles)

She has served on Government and NHS Advisory panels and is actively involved in Church of England activities and in ecumenical work. She is a committee member and secretary of the Sibyls, a Christian Spirituality group for transgendered people, their friends, families and supporters. Email  sgen4144@gmail.com

Corrymeela is Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation centre, with over 50 years of witnessing to faith and peace. Since the early 1980s Corrymeela has been a venue for LGBT groups of people who are working for a fairer and more structures of society and faith. Corrymeela runs annual retreats for LGBT affirmative faith leaders, and also provides resources and runs dialogues for those Christians who wish to understand LGBT lives and stories more.