WITNESS FOR JUSTICE #1091 Trans Experience Is Sacred and I Know Why the State Is Scared

Tracy Howe

It is law in Texas. Anti-trans violence and oppression is being legislated to even more horrific ends in other states. Children are the targets. The State, our government, is subjugating the children and criminalizing anyone who affirms their humanity, who believes them when they tell us who they are. The new bill up in Idaho seeks to land the parents of trans children in jail. It is horrific. It is evil. We have historic levels of poverty and inequity, crisis in public education across the country, Black Lives are still being destroyed by State Violence, climate change displacing and killing more people by the day, we are at nearly one million COVID-19 deaths in this country—and trans children are what the powerful are afraid of? Making sure trans children don’t play sports is the priority in lawmaking? Denying these children medical care is a governmental priority?

Maybe those so willing to sacrifice planet and people and who so manipulate their constituency that they would diminish their own souls in order to rally violence against children and their families to hold on to power should be afraid of trans children and everyone who affirms them. Trans children, after all, are sacred. The presence of the Living God, who has risen up upon hearing the cries of God’s people and in anger against injustice throughout history, is with these children now. Indeed, it is the Living Spirit of God in and among LGBTQIA2S+ people that helped me restore some of my own humanity that was lost to the machinations of colonial violence and power. Colonization depends on taking the land, and the bodies and the minds, and putting in place stories and systems, hierarchies and power differentials that will uphold the power constructs of the colonizers.

I came to know Jesus at a young age, but it has taken years and daily labor to grow into the living relationship and the demonstration of Christ’s love on earth I am invited into because I have so much internalized it. I have internalized violent systems that do not breathe life into me and that keep me from my most liberated expressions of God’s love, which I am still looking forward to, so that I can walk in the Living Presence of God and share that good living fruit of Gentleness, Kindness, Justice, Joy, Beauty and more, towards myself and others and creation. I have internalized racism, consumer capitalism, heteronormativity, and so many more things, such that for most of my life, I have been trying to fit myself into acceptable roles in society. Even if I found a crack in the colonial mythology and touched some stream of resistance, in the absence of an entirely liberated community, it is very hard to sustain a complete transformation and I, most of us, remain entangled in the machinations of colonial violence even as we work for justice within it.

Maybe this is why being friends with trans people has been so critical and life changing for me. Their bodies and minds, their spirits and lives, they are claiming for their own. Claiming their own humanity makes them vulnerable to colonial violence and at the same time liberates them in a way us cis gender people perhaps will never understand. I know it is Holy, I have no doubt, because God is with them and I see the objective fruits of the Living Spirit of God at work in their lives. And through knowing more LGBTQIA2S+ people, I have understood myself with more depth and compassion. I have realized I am in fact one of them. Now I have a 12-year-old child who does not use the pronouns assigned at birth. I can understand why those in power are afraid of my child. They will likely change the world if given the chance to thrive.

We must all fight and refuse this violence against our siblings and our children. We need more than testimonies from those being impacted and harmed. We need everyone to cry out and call this violence and evil what it is and fight. Everyone’s liberation and wellbeing is at stake.

Rev. Tracy Howe is the Minister for Congregational and Community Engagement for the United Church of Christ.

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