condemned to death

The first station of the cross asks us to reflect on Jesus being condemned to death. I wrote the other day about Jesus being not the judge or jury, but the defendant, and how the religious leaders put the entire thing in motion. You know what religious leaders are putting into motion, right now? The condemning of trans kids to death.

Don’t believe me? Haven’t thought much about it? Start paying attention. Because all those inter-church squabbles over the last few years with “traditionalists” and “conservatives” insisting that they are only following scripture and only working to protect children and only using their ecclesial power to hold people “accountable” has, as it so often does in our near-theocratic country, bled over into legislation.

There are 350 anti-trans bills being considered in 36 states right now. These bills are attempting (and, in many cases, succeeding) at things like banning drag shows when children are present (you probably heard about that one, since the Governor championing it has been in drag, himself), forcing parents to end life-saving medical treatments for their children and attempting to DEFINE what it means to be a man or a woman.

Transgender teens are 8x more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers. Some studies show that 50% – HALF – of trans kids have considered ending their own lives. Receiving gender-affirming care – the medical care that these bills are attempting to block – has been shown to lead to a 60% drop in depression risk and a 73% drop in suicidal thoughts, on average.

Instead of addressing *actual* threats to children like hunger (1 in 8 kids don’t have enough to eat and the federal emergency SNAP supplemental support just ended this week. More kids are hungry today than they were last Sunday.) and gun control (the #1 cause of death for American children, period.), politicians are making a big deal about an imagined threat, fomenting fear and unwarranted disgust, and KILLING some of the most vulnerable among us.

Maybe you don’t want to pay attention to this. Maybe you think casual ignorance is appropriate. It’s the second Sunday in Lent, a season when Christians are invited to reflect on how we might draw nearer to Jesus, y’all, and instead Christians are out here systematically killing vulnerable children by stigmatizing them, ostracizing them, denying them essential medical care, and passing laws that are turning entire families into political refugees seeking safety and asylum far from home. I know some of them.

This post could have just been a single meme:

But here are a couple resources I’ve found helpful, in case you want to stop ignoring the hypocrisy and violence, too:

An interview with Dr. Izzy Lowell, who offers gender-affirming care to trans folks across the US. Her explanation of the details of what’s involved in transitioning, especially with kids, was super helpful in my expanded understanding.

Trans 101: A Brief Guide, from the Brethren Mennonite Council on LGBTQ Interests, for those of you who share my Anabaptist faith tradition:

This beautiful Dunker Punks podcast episode with Jon Bay, who talks about being trans in language that turned my brain upside down (he’s a poet, so, you know, it tracks.)

The readership of this little blog is heavily tilted toward people in the Church of the Brethren and clergy. This movement got its start and is being fueled by Christian nationalism; by Christians. Challenging homophobia and transphobia in your congregation, with your pastor, in the denominational structures, in the minds and hearts of people you study scripture with IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. The tentacles of this violence are far-reaching, and its consequences are deadly. If we’re here, participating in the Christian sector of American life, we have a responsibility to be honest and vocal about how those loud, angry voices insisting on more punishment, more condemnation and more murder are not only wrong but also dangerous. I’ve got one foot out the door, but as long as I’m around, that’s what I’ll be doing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s