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Originally published in the Castlegar News on October 16, 2023.

November is a time to remember. 

To remember is to break through our loneliness, because remembrance is a communal act. The act of remembrance reconnects us with our community, a community of the living and of the dead–what Christians describe as the communion of saints. Remembrance brings past to present. Our ancestors, dearly departed, are still a part of our story, and we a part of theirs. 

In a few short days, on November 20th, the Castlegar community will come together in vigil to mark the Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR). This is a day to remember and honour the names, the lives, and the stories of transgender people who have lost their lives over the last year. 

Having written these last words, perhaps I should clarify. It is not that these lives have been somehow misplaced. The lives we honour have been ended by people and systems who have weaponized their discomfort rather than seeking understanding. Even though I wish it weren’t so, the steady rise in anti-trans bigotry and violence across the continent this past year seems to suggest that we are a long way from understanding. 

It’s not lost on me that I write these words as a Christian minister. I write in full knowledge that much violence has been done to our trans siblings in the name of god by people who claim the same faith I do. So what might we do–whether we’re cis or trans–we who seek to love God and our trans neighbours too? To start, we must weep. 

We weep with those who weep. We allow the tears of our trans neighbours to crack our hearts open. We weep at the violence being done. We weep at these lives, beloved of Creator, cut short too soon. We weep at the holes left in our community with each successive death. We weep, and then we confess. 

We confess our own complicity. As individuals and as the church. We confess that we have done and continue to do harm. We confess that we have left undone those things which we ought to have done. We confess that we have done those things which we ought not to have done. We confess, and then we resist. 

We resist by seeking understanding. We resist by opening ourselves to listen and learn from the stories of our trans neighbours and their ancestors, those who have come before. In our churches, we resist the theology that kills–any theology that suggests that God’s trans children are any less beloved because of how they were created.

We resist by believing and proclaiming a love that liberates all people, and by living as though it’s true.