Sunday, November 25, 2012

Transgender Day Of Remembrance



Transgender Day of Remembrance is one of the days I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate that an accident of birth should have meant I live here in Scotland. In a country at peace; in a country where, for all the prejudice and problems, the rights we possess and the laws which protect us against discrimination are amongst the best in the world. And I feel blessed and proud to belong to a church which utterly and joyfully embraces LGBT rights and which commemorates this day both in its main service and also, as yesterday, as part of  its LGBT ministry (http://www.augustine.org.uk/).

And it was no coincidence that last night the church was full.

In so many other places I would have to contend with a church which (blasphemously) uses the bible to justify its prejudice against me; or with a society so steeped in hatred it would self-righteously kill me.

But here, in safety, we can read the names. 

We read the names of the transgendered people whose murders have been recorded around the world. Those of us who have been murdered simply because of our gender.

Names mean so much to us because we chose them. 

Heart-breaking to read out those beautiful names, all of them chosen with hope and pride, and then for hatred and prejudice and cruelty to snuff out their lives.

More poignant still the deaths of those who names go unrecorded:

Name Unknown.

Name Unknown.

Name Unknown.

Their having no name makes their murders seem a much greater crime. And makes it all the more important to record and honour their presence on this earth.

A profoundly gifted singer/songwriter, Simon de Voil (http://www.simondevoil.co.uk/) played a simple elegy as we read out the names. After every two pages, someone lit a candle. 6 candles. Many names.

Afterwards we each lit a candle of our own and shared the communion bread and wine and Simin sang:

“We sow these seeds of love and kindness
 The light to shine in a night of darkness
 Bright stars to help us find our way.”

Over and over again. And bit by bit the altar was covered in light.



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