Welcome: Welcome to this online service.
Prelude: “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga
Chalice Lighting: Adapted from the Passover Haggadah
May the light we now kindle
Inspire us to use our powers
To heal, and not to harm
To help, and not to hinder
To bless, and not to curse
To serve, learn, and grow.
Introduction to Thought:
This month we are discussing deep listening. It is important to listen to the stories of those who are different than us, stories that challenge us to see the world in new ways. Listening to the stories of others honors them and validates them. The 3rd principle calls us to accept one another as we keep learning together. We can do this by listening to others and learning from their experiences. Last Sunday was National Coming Out Day, a day to celebrate and empower LGBTQ+ people to share their stories and live authentically and openly in a society still mired in confusion, fear, and hatred. It also provides an opportunity to spread awareness and education. Today we will be practicing our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd principles by celebrating and learning about transgender individuals, a marginalized group in the LGBTQ+ community.
Message For All Ages: “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel
Privilege Visibility Activity:
Transgender people come from all walks of life. We are parents, siblings, and children. You work with us, live next to us, learn with us, worship with us. We come in every race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign states “the word “transgender” – or trans – is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to us at birth. Although the word “transgender” and our modern definition of it only came into use in the late 20th century, people who would fit under this definition have existed in every culture throughout recorded history.”
Right now we are going to do an activity to illustrate the types of discrimination trans people have to deal with every day. We are going to read off ten statements and ask you to raise your hand if the statement applies to you. Some statements might be of a sensitive nature and you do not have to respond to any statement that is uncomfortable.
1. If you have never felt fear of verbal abuse, physical intimidation, or arrest by using public restrooms, raise your hand.
2. If you have the ability to walk through the world and generally blend-in, not being constantly stared or gawked at, whispered about, pointed at, or laughed at because of your gender expression, raise your hand.
3. If you have never had strangers ask what your “real name” [birth name] is and then assume that they have a right to call you by that name, raise your hand.
4. If you can easily find role models and mentors to emulate who share your identity, raise your hand.
5. If you never have to deal with old photographs that did not reflect who you truly are, raise your hand.
6. If you can reasonably assume that your ability to acquire a job, rent an apartment, or secure a loan will not be denied on the basis of your gender identity/expression, raise your hand.
7. If you have never had strangers assume they can ask you what your genitals look like and how you have sex, raise your hand.
8. If you are able to purchase clothes that match your gender identity without being refused service/mocked by staff or questioned on your genitals, raise your hand.
9. If you never fear interactions with police officers due to your gender identity, raise your hand.
10. If when filling out a form your gender is always listed as an option, raise your hand.
What did you think of the exercise? How did it make you feel? We will discuss this a little bit during coffee hour.
Now that we have learned about some of the struggles in the transgender community, let us help our church community and the community beyond by giving financial support as we listen to the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus perform “How Could Anyone” by Libby Roderick.
Message: How to be a better ally
Our faith calls us to be an ally to others. But what does that mean? Being an ally is more than marching with signs or waving flags. It is more than claiming to have friends from marginalized groups. Being an ally means to first change your own harmful behavior and ideas. This is the hard work we need to do to honor our first 4 principles. Here are 8 ways we battery allies for the transgender people in our communities.
Accept that people have the right to define who they are, regardless of assigned sex or your perception of their physical appearance.
· Ask for and use an individual’s correct name and pronouns. If you make a mistake, just apologize sincerely and move on. Making a big deal out of it will only cause more discomfort.
· Set a tone for inclusivity by introducing yourself with your pronouns when meeting someone for the first time. Add your pronouns to your e-mail signature and social media profiles.
· Realize that though transition can mean different things for different people and there is no right or wrong way to do it, transition is personal. Don’t ask people if they plan to have surgery or if they still have certain body parts. Don’t ask people what their “real name” is.
· Be mindful of terms and phrases that reinforce gender and the gender binary. (For example: ladies and gentlemen, you guys)
· Challenge anti-transgender remarks or jokes in public spaces, even inclusive ones.
· Listen to and respect transgender narrative. Let transgender people speak for themselves. Talk to trans people in the community. Check out books, films, YouTube channels, and trans blogs to learn more about trans people and the challenges they face.
· Be open to learning new things and be honest when you don’t know something. It is always better to ask than to say something hurtful or rude.
Poem: “Class is in Session” by Alex Reilly
I would now like to read a poem I wrote about my experience of being transgender.
(Poem is omitted for copyright reasons)
Closing Words: by Scott Tayler
As we leave this space,
May the bonds we feel remain.
May the words of this day
continue to guide and steady us
as we make our way.
May the silence we held for each other
keep us tethered
to that place of calm
to that opening in our hearts
that allows the grace of the world
to continually flow in
Peace and unrest.