FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Drew Konow, firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-222-0055
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter “that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” Trump also called transgender service members a “distraction” and their medical care a “burden.”
As an organization that represents thousands of people of faith, the Religious Institute affirms in the strongest possible terms that transgender people are a blessing to their friends and families, their partners and spouses, and their workplaces and faith communities. As the Rev. Emily C. Heath countered on Twitter, transgender people are a blessing, not a burden.
We know that gender is a complex and sacred gift, and that the breathtaking diversity of Creation is to be honored, not questioned or denied. We know that gender diversity has played a role in myriad faith traditions and religious texts dating back centuries. Transgender people serve as faith leaders in many traditions and bring forward powerful spiritual gifts.
While it does not appear that there will be immediate policy changes related to the President’s statement, this does not lessen the impact of his words on transgender people. Transgender people, especially those who identify as femmes, women, women of color, and non-binary people, face staggering rates of violence and discrimination in this country.
And yet, in the face of such challenges, thousands of transgender people choose to serve their country in the military. Transgender people are fierce, resilient, and vibrant. It is the responsibility of non-trans people to remove obstacles so that trans people may survive and thrive. As people of faith, we must strive towards a more just society—one that allows transgender people to live and flourish.
Take action for transgender justice.
- Educate yourself and your faith community.
- Work for transgender justice within and beyond your faith community.
- Reach out to transgender friends.
- Speak out on social media with the hashtag #blessingnotburden.
The Religious Institute (www.religiousinstitute.org) is a nonprofit, multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. More than 8,500 clergy, seminary presidents and deans, religious scholars and other religious leaders representing more than 50 faith traditions are part of the Religious Institute’s national religious leaders network.